Here is a list of supplies that I love to use - the supplies that I use all the time. I hope that it helps you to see everything in one place.
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Cricut Automatic Cutting Machines - the Cricut Explore Air and the Cricut Maker
For a long time, I cut out all my paper crafts by hand. And I still do that at times, but mostly I use my Cricut Maker. It works beautifully on the cardboard that I use to make most of my projects (and it is sitting on my desk right next to my computer). I still have my Cricut Explore Air 2 and it works beautifully. The Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Explore Air 3 are less expensive. Sometimes you can find great deals on them.
Unless you make lots of projects with many different materials, I don't think you need to spend more for the Cricut Maker 3.
Cricut Cutting Mats
I use a Strong Grip Mat for the cardboard, but I still reinforce it around the edge with painter's tape so the cardboard won't move. For cardstock I use a Standard Grip mat. For felt I use the Fabric mat.
Miscellaneous Cutting Machines
In the past I used my Sizzix Big Shot, then I used the Sizzix Vagabond 2 (electric die cutting machine), and Sizzix dies for accessories to my projects. Most of the dies I use are from Tim Holtz because I just LOVE his designs. But the Vagabond has been retired, so this is the machine to buy - the Sizzix Big Shot Switch.
And I still use my Arbor Press for some occasional things that won't go through the Cricut or my Sizzix machines. If you are going to make a lot of little houses by hand and want some help with cutting out windows and doors this is the way to go. These are the dies I use for windows and doors. You can read about it in this post on how to cut out windows and doors on little houses.
My favorite mat for regular crafting - painting and gluing - is the Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat. I like it because it is glass and easy to clean.
But when you are cutting lots of things with a cutting knife, a Fiskars Self-Healing Cutting mat is very helpful. I don't paint on my self-healing cutting mats because it stains them.
I love this ergonomic craft knife.
You need a metal ruler with a cork back for trimming pieces of paper or cardboard. It also helps with scoring. Oh, and you can measure with it as well.
There are a number of glues that work very well for my paper crafts. The most common glue for paper crafts is PVA (polyvinyl acetate) glue - that's the regular white glue that you used in grade school. But there are specialized formulations to consider.
- I've changed my opinion over time about types of glue.
- Initially, I used Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue for gluing the little houses together because the glue is so thick and adheres quickly. Because it is so thick, you have to store it upside down. The problem with this glue is that it is so thick, it is actually hard to get it out of the bottle. So that's why I've changed my preference to Quick Dry Tacky Glue.
- When I need a glue that is not as thick, I use Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue. It is much easier to squeeze out of the bottle. Still, I store it upside down, too.
- To glue lightweight objects together, I like Bearly Art Glue, but most white glues work. The advantage is that Bearly Art Glue dries very fast and doesn't wrinkle paper as much as a wetter glue does. You can only order it online.
- Matte Mod Podge is a great glue for applying glitter or paper to a surface. But you can also dilute regular white PVA glue for the same purpose.
- If you are gluing a nonabsorbent material (like a metal token) to your paper crafts, E6000 is a great glue to use.
- I use hot glue rarely, but this is a good glue gun. I like cordless glue guns.
Oh, I love cardboard. It is my favorite paper-based product. Most of the cardboard I get is recycled from work. It's slightly thicker than poster board - about the thickness of cardboard behind a legal pad. If you use a very thick cardboard like chipboard it is harder to cut by hand and takes multiple passes if you use a machine like the Cricut.
If you would like to see a short video I made on types of cardboard and paper, just watch.
Here are some options for purchasing cardboard:
- 22 point cardboard is fairly thin and flexible - good for pieces that have more detail cut out
- 30 point cardboard is a good thickness for little houses - my absolute favorite cardboard for houses!
- 50 point cardboard is the thickness of a penny and good for roofs, but a little harder to cut
I love card stock for paper projects. Recollection 65 lb. card stock comes as a variety pack with lots of colors. And then when I make prototypes for my little houses I use this 110 lb. card stock. You can even use it for the houses as well though they won't be as sturdy. For lots of Halloween projects, I use this heavy duty 110 lb. black card stock.
Paints that I love
And for most projects I use Tim Holtz Distress paints. They are rather pricey, but I love the watercolor effects and all the different shades. These colors work especially well with Halloween projects.
If you want a wider range of colors including more pastels and thicker paint, the Apple Barrel brand of paints makes a nice set that is relatively inexpensive.
I do have a favorite brand of glitter. It's Ranger's Tim Holtz Distress Stickles Dry Glitter Clear Rock Candy Glitter. What is so nice about this glitter? Well, first it is a mineral-based glitter, not a plastic glitter. Most glitters are tiny ground up pieces of plastic that stick to everything and spread everywhere. This glitter does not. It's also more subtle.
What would little houses be without landscaping?
My favorite trees are natural bottlebrush trees that I can paint or stain in any color I like. But they can be hard to find some times of the year. Here is a set of green trees in various sizes that is relatively inexpensive. But year-round Factory Direct Crafts is one of the best places to find bottlebrush trees.
Sometimes you can find bottlebrush trees from Tim Holtz Idea-ology on Amazon. I love these trees. I've found them to be a higher quality tree.
When I make piñata-type gift boxes, I cover them with crepe paper because it's such a great texture. You can always use tissue paper or crepe paper streamers, but thicker crepe paper really makes them more special. This is the crepe paper brand I like online. It's much easier to buy good quality crepe paper online.
I'll add more supplies as I think of them. But these recommendations should get you started on your way to making great paper crafts.