I have been stamping for more than 15 years and while I have seen techniques and trends come and go, there are a few basic tools that every stamper needs to have. I’ll start the list with six “must haves” and work down to the “nice-to-have” tools.
It’s difficult to be a crafter ready to craft, if you don’t have the right tools. I’ve made a list of 16 essential tools every crafter must have.
1. Detail Scissors
You need these for detail work- cutting out small items. They’re also great for ribbon with an adhesive back; because of the Teflon blades, the adhesive won’t stick.
I like a couple brands, but I really like the EK Success Honey Bee Non-Stick Craft Scissors. They have Teflon blades and a sheath cover, so they are perfect for sticking in an apron pocket or taking to a crop. [Read more...]
Mepxy markers are manufactured by a family owned business in Seoul, Korea and are now being sold in the United States. These alcohol ink markers give Anime artists, calligraphy artists, and crafters more choices in alcohol ink markers with their growing product line. They even have blog dedicated to artists with a fun gallery and ideas for using the markers. I first learned about these from watching one of Linda Peterson’s ”YouTube” video on how to transfer images onto plastic. She is a well known multi media artist who makes some really fun “how to” videos that you can learn various techniques from.
Reported by Cassandra Darwin
I love pens. Always have. Probably always will. And after buying hundreds of different kinds I know that some are (much) better than others. Here is a quick comparison of just a few that I happened to have handy – I tried to narrow the selection down to dark colors with pigment ink. First I’ll do a quick review of each pen, then describe a water test I conducted, and finish with summary of all the important facts.
Starting from the top of the picture:
- Acid-free and archival pigment ink
- Available in 10 colors
- 0.5 mm fine tip for writing and drawing
- Easy to hold, smooth writing, and color coded on both ends of the pen. Have not had any problems with bleeding on different paper media.
- Pigment ink that is waterproof and compatible with Copic markers
- 4 nib sizes for colors and 7 nib sizes plus two brush sizes in black (0.05 black was tested)
- Available in 6 colors
- This is like the Rolls Royce of pigment pens. Compatible with every medium, writes smoothly and easily. I plan to get more sizes and may look into buying the more expensive refillable version.
- Pigment ink is acid free, archival, waterproof, and fade proof
- 6 nib sizes (black 0.45 and 0.5 mm sizes were tested - although my chart below has the wrong sizes listed)
- 15 colors available
- This has been go-to pen for a long time. I have even been using some of the same pens intermittently for 10+ years without any sign of drying out. My biggest complaint is that the nib sizing numbers don’t correspond with the nib size – size 08 is actually a 0.5 mm nib.
- Archival ink that is waterproof and fade resistant (not pigment ink)
- The Classic Gelly Roll (solid cap) comes in two nib sizes and 11 colors
- The five other varieties of Gelly Roll (clear and glitter caps) are avilable in 40+ colors with a variety of metallic and pearl finishes
- $1.39 – $1.69
- These are certainly the most affordable option in my comparison, and maybe even the easiest to find in stores. But the roller ball gel ink does require steady pressure to get an even writing line. And the Metallic Gelly Roll did not survive my water brush test (below).
Pigment Pro from American Crafts
- Acid-free archival pigment ink
- This pen has been discontinued, but I wanted to include it because this was my first time using it. I’m not sure if it had been sitting at the store for too long, or what the story was. But I pulled it out to use it for the first time and it was all dried up!
Click the image below to enlarge see writing examples for each of the pens.
I figured it would be a good idea to test with a wet paintbrush to see which pens can be used with watercolors and markers. Below is a writing sample for each pen on watercolor paper.
Then I used the water pen to get each line of writing thoroughly wet. All of the pigment pens passed with flying colors. But of the Gelly Roll pens, only the Classic version resisted the water – the other metallic varieties had a little to a lot of smearing from the paintbrush.
Spellbinders Presto Machine Box Contents
Spellbinder Presto Punch Battery Case
Presto Punch Power Adapter
Holiday Punch & Embossing Stencil Templates
The Presto Punch templates can be used to punch, emboss, and stencil. They vary in size and are thinner than chipboard which means they do not take up a lot of space to store, unlike traditional punches. The Presto Punch templates take less space than a credit card to store (once out of their retail packaging). So if you are challenged for storage space the Presto Punch may offer you a solution with their vast line of templates.
To cut press down button on the left.
If you look closely, you can see how well the machine embosses these little templates.
Then if you want to stencil, just leave the die cut piece in the template and paint.
I used a marker but you can use ink pads, chalks, etc. I like that these templates are multi-functional.
Parchment Paper Die Cut Sample
Recycled Aluminum Can Die Cut Sample
Spellbinders Presto Punch Heart Template Card
Spellbinders Presto Punch Heart Template Card Inside View
Recycled Aluminum Can Earrings
Presto Punch Template Cutting folder does get funky looking.
Second, I want to take a moment to address the sound that the machine makes during use. Some folks may find it a little annoying. Since I have a hand injury at the moment, I think the ease of use (just a press of a button) more than makes up for the sound that the Presto Punch makes when cutting and embossing. I was still able to craft even though my hand movements are pretty limited (which why the jewelry designs are simple so my daughter could help me by working the jewelry making tools). I also found that I could use my other Spellbinders die templates as long as they fit inside the folders. Overall, I think this is a pretty cool machine and look forward to making more fun things with the punched out pieces.
- Offers the crafter portability by using either batteries or a power adapter (sold separately).
- The templates are multi functional. They cut, embosses and can be used as stencils.
- The Presto Punch and the Presto Punch templates are easy to use and store.
- Works on batteries which can lead to waste. Consider using rechargeable batteries or purchase the adapter (sold separately).
- Only comes with one set of folders which will get trashed with consistent use. However, they do sell replacements on their site for $5.99 for three (which isn’t a bad price).
- Sorry, it was hard to come up with any when I am having so much fun with the machine.