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Ever wonder about the essential tools for DIY crafters? Almost 9 years ago when planning the biggest party of my life (my wedding), I wish someone had handed me a cheat sheet with the right tools for my various projects! I can’t tell you how much time I wasted trying to perfect my designs only to realise I didn’t have the right tools! You know how frustrating that must have been so don’t let it happen to you…read on.
The difference between professionals and amateurs is technique and tools. Ever witness your stylist create magic on your head, only to go home, try to recreate and fail miserably? Why is that?
For starters they’ve learned the techniques as part of their training. But they’re also using the proper tools. Your stylist isn’t using a low quality blow dryer from the dollar store. That is not to say the right tool is the most expensive one, but you absolutely need the right tools for the job at hand. Yes, you might get the job done with a different tool, but without the right tool you waste time and money in the long run.
Top 10 Essential Tools for DIY Crafters
In no particular order here are my top 10 essential tools for DIY crafters.
1. Cricut Die Cutting Machine
Cricut has been a game changer when it comes to die cutting. If you can dream it, you can cut it! I got my first Cricut in time to plan my wedding and let me tell you, I got every penny’s worth! It got used for making programs, seating charts, butterflies, favour tags, church decor and the list goes on. I recently upgraded to the Cricut Maker which promises even more versatility than the Explorer.
One word of caution – there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are truly endless.
2. Balloon Pump
It never dawned on me to buy a balloon pump until my son’s last birthday. We were throwing him a Lion King themed party and I wanted an animal balloon arch.
As great of an idea it was at the time, I had zero desire to wind my lungs blowing up all those balloons. After a bit of research I settled on an affordable balloon pump from Amazon with two nozzles. What would have taken hours, took a fraction of the time. Anything that cuts my prep time is a winner in my book.
3. Foam Brushes
Foam brushes are great for projects that need you to spread a liquid such as glue or paint across a surface. I made some magnet Save The Dates recently and these foam brushes saved the day. They allowed me to spread the glue evenly to all the edges without over saturating my cardstock. They are very affordable, come in various sizes and you can even buy them in bulk at your local hardware store.
4. Dahle D550 Professional Trimmer
This sturdy, German crafted bad boy is a rotary, self-sharpening trimmer. This means each time you cut, the blades get sharpened. Sharp blades mean sharp cuts. Self-sharpening means sharp blades without the added cost of replacement blades. Win win situation.
The Dahle D550 won’t cut the thickest wad of paper (max 20 sheets printer paper), but it is capable of trimming the tiniest sliver from your project. This trimmer has served me so well pre and post wedding, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve had it for almost 10 years now and I’m yet to replace the blade.
5. Glue Dots
These little Glue Dots are more effective than they appear. They come in removable and permanent strengths and the permanent is indeed PER-MA-NENT! I recently used these to affix magnet save the dates to cardstock and they worked brilliantly. You can get them in different sizes, formats and strengths. Glue Dots are also available in a dispenser format to simplify application. A very handy tool to have in your arsenal.
Adhesives are a necessity but there’s no one adhesive that will work for every project. Your adhesive needs to complement your project. Use the wrong adhesive and you’ll realize very quickly how much of a disaster it could turn into. For paper and cardstock projects, I’ve had great success with the Glue Glider Pro and most recently the Scotch CAT 085 Advanced Tape Glider.
Both the Glue Glider Pro and Scotch ATG are adhesive applicators. They have interchangeable cartridges that come in various strengths to meet your project needs. By moving the applicators forward and backwards you dispense the adhesive onto your project exactly where you need it. I find these so easy to work with and far superior to liquid glue.
The printer you need will depend on what you’re printing. If you’re printing photos nothing beats an Epson Photo Printer. For other printing, I recommend a laser printer if you can afford one – the upfront cost is higher but works out cheaper in the long run. Xerox is known for quality laser printers, but other comparable brands like Brother, HP and Canon exists.
Inkjets are affordable and have improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years but my personal preference is still a laser printer unless printing photos.
8. We R Memory Keepers 3-Way Corner Rounder
I love this little gadget! Nothing gives your project that polished, professional look faster than a corner rounder. I use them alot! They come in different sizes, so choose one that works for your project. I recently came across this 3-in-1 corner rounder that in my craft brain is nothing short of genius. It combines a 4 mm, 7 mm and 10 mm rounder into a single punch. How is that for multipurpose?
9. Non-Slip Metal Ruler
Rulers are mandatory! I use them more than you would think. Whether it is to get the exact measurements of my envelopes or help me locate the center point on a project. I recommend a non-slip ruler. They’re few things more frustrating than lining up your ruler, then have it slip as you draw the line or worse start to cut. It really doesn’t matter which brand you go with but an 18″ non-slip metal ruler should work for most projects.
10. Self Healing Cutting Mat
Get a decent sized one! A cutting mat protects your work surface and its self-healing nature makes little scratches and slices disappear. They’re also invaluable in helping to line up cuts and scores. Just get one! Trust me! Cutting mats can be found at your local craft store or online at Amazon or Cricut.
So there you have it, my top 10 essential tools for DIY crafters. No need to go out and purchase each of them if you don’t need them but at least you can be assured that these are tried and tested recommendations that I have personally used with a lot of success.
Now you have the right tools, I hope we continue to inspire your beautiful one craft at a time. Please be sure to check out my other projects .