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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tools of the (Crafting) Trade

Years of unending desperate anticipation have led to this moment as I now embrace my new title: homeowner. Was it the excitement of a mortgage? Was I waiting with bated breath to mow my lawn and shovel my drive? Was the thought of painting every surface of my house a different color getting me giddy? OK, maybe a bit, but the truly exciting part of the moving process has been the acquisition of my very own ... craft room (did I just hear you squeal?). And now that I have it, I'm at a complete loss.

Craft rooms take years to perfect. They are based upon delicate organizational systems that teeter on the brink of brilliance and insanity. At any moment a drawer full of fabric might be pulled one inch too far, causing a mountainous paper avalanche and a Rube Goldberg-esque unforeseen chain of reactions. It may take me 30 years to create that delicate balance, but thankfully I have spent the last 30 years gathering all the crafting fodder to fill the room for when the day finally came. Consolidating the craft stashes from all over my apartment into one craft Mecca has helped me refine my tools of trade into a top ten list to share with you, in case you'd like to get to crafting in your own room in, say, less than 30 years.

My top ten tools (in no particular order) to craft with are as follows: 

3M Super 77 adhesive spray: This heavy-duty adhesive spray has the perfect level of tack for paper, cardboard, and even metal. Be forewarned that it stinks and sticks to everything (meaning I only spray outside), but when you want a clean, flat bond it's the best.
 X-Acto knife with #11 blades: For perfect cuts of paper, illustration board, foamcore and more, I use my X2000 with padded handle every time. To store discarded blades, keep an old coffee can handy by slitting a hole in the lid and popping them in (and away from kiddos).

 Stainless steel cork-backed ruler: The cork backing on this ruler keeps the ruler in place while you run a pencil or knife down the side. The steel keeps a straight edge (where plastic will get nicks over time).

Scissors: Scissors of any kind are passions of mine, but I always keep this mantra in mind: match the scissors to the job. So fabric scissors do not cut paper, and vice-versa. I even have a pair of gold-handled glories that I use for very special cuts.

Olfa rotary cutter: The one instance where scissors can be beat is when you're cutting a clean, straight line of fabric (like a quilter might, or for curtains). Just run this puppy along your ruler and get the cut of your dreams.

Self-healing cutting mat: Handy for cutting paper or fabric with your Xacto or Olfa, the cuts will fade away leaving a flat surface for the next flurry. Marked measuring lines are also useful for any kind of project with specific dimensions.

Mirado Black Warrior pencils: These cedar #2 HB pencils have the perfect drawing weight for everyday use, come in sleek black and have an awesome name.

Chisel-tip 1-inch Purdy paintbrush: Comes in handy for lots of projects and with it's own handy storage case for long-lasting protection.

Straight pins: From sewing projects, to pinning paper or corkboard these little stickers are a must-have. Store them on a magnet or use them for an excuse to make a funky pincushion.

Sobo fabric and craft glue: This white glue tops them all by quickly tacking papers and fabric together in seconds ,while drying clear and flexible and permanent after hours.

With these ten tools I'll be able to cut apart and glue back together just about any craft project that enters my craft room, and for now, that's all I could ask for.

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