While you could dive into the world of paper crafting with a pair of scissors, some construction paper and a bottle of white school glue, a few basic paper crafting tools can really take your craft to the next level. By investing in a few beginner card making supplies, you’ll be creating projects with professional results and a lot less frustration!
Here, I’ll walk you through the basic tools every beginner needs, plus my recommendations for the best brands.
A paper trimmer is a must for card making and scrapbooking. It keeps your edges straight and square, and makes cutting so much faster. You can find some pretty inexpensive (but perfectly effective) ones at craft stores. Your paper trimmer should have a trimming tool (for cutting paper) and a scoring tool (for creasing paper).
I recommend using a paper trimmer like the Trim and Score from We R Memory Keepers. First off, I have to say that every tool We R makes is really great quality. I haven’t tried a tool of theirs yet that I wouldn’t recommend.
Why this particular trimmer? It’s one part paper trimmer, one part scoring board. I love the ability to cut and score all with one tool. The bone folder stores right in the board, so you’ll never lose it. It also has a blade guard, so you won’t accidentally cut your paper while scoring it. Plus, it has paper trimmer must-haves, like a ruler along the top.
The size of this trimmer is nice, too: It folds in half for easy storage and can expand to a larger work surface when you want to cut or score a full 12″ x 12″ piece of paper.
I have a small collection of circle punches that I use often. Two of my punches were labeled with the size, which I liked so much that I ended up measuring the size of my other punches and writing the dimensions on the bottom with a permanent marker.
I would recommend getting a variety of sizes of circle punches. They’re great for layering papers for tags and other embellishments on cards. Circle punches come in a wide range of sizes — I have a teeny tiny hole punch that I love, too. You can see it below on the left, compared to a standard size hole punch on the right. Cute, right?
Tip: Flip the punch upside down so you can see the area you are punching out. This will help you get more out of page and punch your circles more accurately.
You can also buy punches for other shapes, but you’ll find circles to be very versatile, and you’ll love how crisp and perfect the results are.
Every paper crafter needs a stapler, and I love this little stapler by American Crafts. I usually use it to attach small tags or other ephemera to gifts bags and cards. The size adds a special touch to every project. The thin design helps you to get into tight place, that would be hard to reach with a regular stapler.
When attaching photos and paper to cards, scrapbook pages and gift bags, you can’t just use school glue or tape. What you want is something lightweight but strong enough to hold paper together. An adhesive runner, like American Craft’s This to That, does the trick. This adhesive runner has a solid glue pattern, though the brand also makes a similar tool with a dotted glue pattern, which I think works great.
Before trying this tool, know that it’s not strong enough to hold everything. I don’t use it for gluing on thick embellishments like chipboard or holding together any 3-D projects like boxes.
For 3-D projects like gift boxes or thicker card embellishments, you’ll need a strong liquid glue. I discovered the Multi Mono Liquid Glue by Tombow about two years ago and love it! Once this glue dries (and it dries quickly — only a minute or two to set), it holds everything perfectly in place. None of my boxes or other 3-D projects fall apart when glued with this adhesive.
This particular bottle has two dispensing ends, which makes it a versatile choice for whatever project you’re working on. I always use the thin pen tip because I am usually gluing small areas. It also has a broad tip, similar to the size of a glue stick, for larger projects.
Foam adhesive dots
Foam adhesive dots are great for emphasizing embellishments. Because of the foam, they elevate elements off the page, really making them pop. Put them behind a sentiment, flower or another embellishment on a card to really bring it to life. They are a great alternative to a hot glue gun with some materials.
To craft with paper, you definitely need, well, paper! I like to keep a supply of 8.5″ x 11″ smooth, white cardstock on hand for making cards. Cutting one of these pages in half and folding it makes the perfect sized card. Hint: You can also buy pre-cut and pre-folded cards to save yourself a step.
I prefer smooth cardstock for the base of my cards because you can easily write your sentiment on the inside. However, textured cardstock is great for decorating and embellishing.
For beginners, I recommend buying paper that comes in a paper collection. This way, all the colors and patterns will coordinate — the collection’s pieces are meant to work together. As you become more comfortable mixing patterns and colors, it’s fun to branch out and mix collections.
There are thousands of beautiful paper collections available, and most come with more than just paper, too: The collections often include coordinating embellishments, stickers and more. It makes creating a cohesive card or project so easy. I love the collection from Heidi Swapp called Wanderlust, which is picture above It comes with paper, washi tape, chipboard embellishments and more that all work well together. Plus, it’s really pretty!
With these supplies, you’ll have enough to get started. Once you’re comfortable using these, you might even graduate to more advanced supplies like digital die cutters or embossing powers.