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Friday, 30 December 2011
My Basic Tools
The first thing to get a mention is the cutting mat- you will see it below pretty much everything, mine is A2 size, and (like a lot of stuff) came from The Works- I bought it around this time of year, in their sale, and I think it cost about a fiver.
My cutting go-to is a scalpel & blades- bought from Scalpels & Blades.co.uk. The replacement blades are very reasonable, and you can buy in a multitude of pack sizes, and blade types. The first I bought from them was a pack that came with a handle and a range of different blades, so I could find what I preferred to work with. You can find that HERE. You can also buy a special little gadget that removes, stores and replaces the blades, if you are worried about the sharpness of them.I just use a small pair of pliers and caution, lol. If you look at my scalpels, I use No. 11 blades (the pointed one) and No. 6, (the rounded one). I find they cover pretty much everything.
While we are on cutting, I have a small range of scissors, clockwise, they are:
A general purpose pair,with soft handles. A non-stick pair by X-cut, which are fine-pointed, a small pointed pair for fine work (somewhere I have a pair of the tweezer type too). Another non-stick pair, with a wider tip, and my Fiskars shear-type scissors. They have quite a fine point, and are brilliant if you have a lot of cutting out to do, as you don't end up with cramped fingers.
Actually, that reminds me of my favourite niggle: Why do the finger holes in scissors get smaller with the size of the scissors? My fingers don't get smaller just because I'm cutting out something fiddley!
X-cut guillotine,which will take up to 12" paper, and Rotatrim Rotary cutter. The rotary cutter has 10 blades & a scoring blade (that I have never actually used), which store underneath in a container. I used to have a lot of fancy edged scissors, but the rotary cutter replaced them all. The X-cut is great if you need to cut a lot of card/paper to a certain size.
Not only for measuring, these clear rulers with a metal edge strip are what I use with my scalpels, for general cutting, layering,getting matts even-pretty much everything. Why do I have 4- well they were all bought at different times. The first I got was the short one, a quilters ruler, and it has a space between the bottom marked line on it, and the metal edge, that gives me a nice sized border on most projects.That and the one on its right are both made by Impex, and I got this one when I needed one longer than 6". The Tim one I bought because it has a lot more divisions on its grid, so I get more choice for layers, also it has a row of holes along the top for pricking/positioning etc. It also has a set of markings from the centre out, as well as from end to end.Finally I got the X-cut one recently as its nice & wide, has measurements on its width, as well as length, and it also has a middle position marking system.
Next, a pair of pointed tweezers- the first aid sort. I do have some of the reverse grip ones, but I suppose I have been using normal tweezers for so long, I always do it wrong with them.
Those little clamps from Poundland - great for holding stuff together while they set, and some small electrical pliers- long-nosed ones, a normal pair and a pair of wire cutters. Electrical ones are quite small,the same size as jewellery ones- bought from Poundland/ general ironmongers.
Scoreboard, though the Hougie may be putting this one out to pasture, an embossing stylus, which I have always used in preference to the bone folder idea, and the chunk of plastic I use to flatten my folds- this came from a Clay Tool set that came from The Works again. Brilliant thing- big enough to hold easily, and broad enough to give a good crisp fold. Underneath is an A3 plain pad- the sort you can buy for the kids to draw in. I use it when I'm stamping to roll off the brayer onto, stamp off, etc.
Odds & ends now: The pokey tool came from the same clay kit as the folder, a small paintbrush for removing specks, a teaspoon for glitter/embossing powder sprinkling, and the spoon from an ice cream tub for the same thing.Post-it notes, and nail files for smoothing & distressing.
A wooden chopping board- protects my mat when heat embossing/ironing fusible fibres( probably the only thing I DO iron these days, lol) and my Heat-It heat tool. I love this one, its so quiet. Also a Non-stick baking sheet, Poundland again, for inking etc.
Next pic is my Speedball brayer. This is definitely the one you want for brayering backgrounds - NOT the hard version.
General odds & ends now-Kitchen roll & disposable gloves. I don't mind getting inky fingers, but I always manage to put a mark somewhere I didn't want it! And you get some strange looks in Tescos when you pay for your shopping when your hands are rainbow/muddy coloured,lol.Cotton wool balls & latex sponges(good old Poundland) for inking.Cotton wool buds & cocktail sticks, same place. Buds are useful for removing ink around the edge of a stamp, also moistened, great for picking up acrylic gems! Cocktail sticks for adding tiny spots of silicone glue to stick said acrylic gems down with.Baby wipes for cleaning anything & everything, Staz-on cleaner for their ink, Cheap toothbrushes for cleaning stamps/flicking paint, and an old towel for drying stamps and getting into all the nooks & crannies. Something else I use for cleaning stamps is a paint pad- you can guess where I bought it!
The one stamping tool I could not be without- my Stamp Positioner.