You know how it started, right? The publisher of Scrapbook & Cards Today said I could work with product from our awesome advertisers, so I picked Stampin’ Up, and they sent me a Big Shot. And then I started to play. And then I started watching YouTube videos (Hello
Yoda Jennifer McGuire Ink!) And then I fell unconditionally and irrevocably in love with card making. (Yes, that is my inner Bella Swan talking.)
And then I started shopping.
The upside for me is that my business is scrapbooking and now includes cardmaking, so these purchases are direct tax deductions. That’s how it goes. There ain’t nothin’ sketchy there at all for the IRS. It’s pretty clear.
The downside is, it still costs money. And because I tend to go all in on stuff, that means many shopping carts have been filled and purchased from Simon Says Stamp. In fact, it was all that shopping that let me to contact Simon and ask, “Would you want to work with me on stamps?” But make no mistake, I’m still filling up carts and shopping.
It got me thinking about what do I really need as a new cardmaker. Now need is a bit misleading. I need food, water and sleep. I technically don’t need anything else, but there are things that make this process easier (and a lot of fun). Here are some things that have helped this new card maker jump in with both feet.
Manual Die Cut Machine—This is the main tool for using metal craft dies and metal craft dies will make you lose your mind with glee once you start figuring out how they work. For me, it started out so simply! Just a few shape dies and I was hooked! I have a Big Shot and I think it’s a miraculous thing.
Shape Dies—A set of rectangle shape dies would be a fantastic first purchase for anyone looking to get into card making. I have three rectangle sets, all from Lawn Fawn (and a fourth one is going into my cart asap!) I have the Stitched Rectangle sets (the large set and the small set), and the Large Dotted Rectangles Set (planning to buy the Small Dotted set.) Why this type of die? Because you can build your card on panels before mounting your work onto a finished card base. If I had to choose either the large or small size of these sets, I’d go with the large. I use the second to largest size (3.25 x 4.25) for nearly all of my cards.
Inks—Well, of course you’ll need some inks, and this one is a bit tricky for me to make a recommendation. I will say this: get a great black ink, such as Memento black (this ink works great with Copic markers, if you plan to go that route some day). Right now, I’m sticking with dye inks. Here are a few options to consider.
- Get some cube sets: Hero Arts makes awesome mini cubes of colors that already work together. You could pick a favorite and just have one set to play with. The Hero Cubes are designed to work with layering stamps (another whole area of stamping that is magical and addicting), but I’ll get to that a bit later. Lawn Fawn also makes cubes. And of course, the one and only Tim Holtz has all of his distress inks in cubes, too! And if you really love one of the pads, you can upgrade later to a full size pad. You don’t need it all at once, so this is a good place to start.
- Look at collections of inks: you can purchase entire collections of ink. I feel like this approach, while it may seem a bit extravagant, once you get ’em, you have ’em. But I would say only do that if you think you’re really going to go all in. Lawn Fawn has their entire collection here, and I’m not gonna lie… it’s tempting.
- Versamark Ink—You probably already have this, but if you plan to do any heat embossing, you’ll need it handy.
Embossing stuff—You’ll need the basics. In addition to some Versamark ink, you’ll need a heat tool and some basic embossing powder. (Just start with white if you’re new to this stuff, because it’s completely magic how it shows up on dark surfaces, or vellum!) Honestly, having the basics will come in so handy. I literally just got my hands on a new Wagner Heat Embossing Tool. If it’s good enough for Jennifer McGuire, it’s good enough for me!
Stamps and dies—Last but not least, you’ll want a stamp set you love and a matching die set. For me, this has been magical. That you can stamp something and then cut it out perfectly and then DO stuff with it? GET OUT! And yes, I am starting to amass sets. So far, I have loved playing with: Simon Says Stamp Roses For You (stamps and dies), and Mama Elephant Party Animals (stamps and dies). Really, though, this is up to you. For example, I mentioned layering stamps earlier, and those can be really fun to play with as well. I just got the Beautiful Day set from Altenew and feel like it’s going to be really fun to play with.
OH! And one more thing: if you buy metal dies, you’ll need to buy some snips to cut them apart. And possibly some BandAids.
Get a Frickin’ MISTI! I added this to the list after this post went live, and I cannot BELIEVE I forgot it, because I kid you not: THIS tool? This is what is making stamping a successful thing for me to do. I have both the mini you see above, and the full sized MISTI. I feel like this is such a worthwhile investment. Truly! If I could have only one? Get the full size. I just didn’t know how much I would LOVE this tool so I went with the less expensive mini. Now I have both because the people at My Sweet Petunia are awesome!
Coloring Tools—This one, I’m going to leave wide open. You can color stamped images with colored pencils, Tombow Markers, Copic Markers—whatever you feel like trying, it’s up to you. I will tell you this: Copics are the shit. It is my goal in crafty life to acquire as many as possible. They may be more addictive than nicotine. I speak from experience.
Scoring Tool—This is something I literally JUST got, a tool to score cards and WHAT a difference it makes. I am using the Simply Scored tool from Stampin’ Up and it’s working like a charm! It’s definitely a bit on the large side, and I know a lot of card makers use this one by Martha Stewart.
And last but not least: white cardstock! Before a few weeks ago, I had never used Neenah Solar White Smooth cardstock. I feel as though I am a woman discovering paper for the first time. It is smooth and it has a really high whiteness factor. It’s perfect for stamping and coloring and for using as card panels and card bases. Cannot recommend this enough. I have a full ream sitting on my desk. Good, good stuff!
Now I realize this is a lot to take in. I do. And you most certainly do NOT need All The Things off the bat. But this might be helpful if you’re looking to take the plunge. I will continue sharing my discoveries and experiences in this new card making world. I haven’t had this much fun making shit in a really long time.
While I have done a ridiculous amount of shopping in the past month, I will also tell you that after I jumped in with both feet, many wonderful companies have shared products with me, and I would like to thank them right now!
The warm welcome from the card making community has been literally a soul injection. I mean, I knew scrapbookers were good people. Turns out, so are the card makers.
To read more about this card making foray, click here for all my card posts thus far.
If you’d like to see how I learned to make the card above, watch this terrific video from Laura Bassen, my newest card making crush!
Thank You Card Supplies: