Find the perfect craft supply gifts for a budding Card Maker
I know we’ve all had that experience when a loved one takes on a new hobby and you want to support them with a gift – whether that’s for a holiday, a birthday, or just because! (Ok, I would seriously love ANY friend who sent me art supplies, “just because”!!)
The problem is, they are the one into the hobby – not you! The world of card making is pretty vast – how are you supposed to know which black ink your Card Maker needs? Oh, wait, you didn’t even know they need a black ink pad?
Welp, there you go! Off to the Internet to search out “best craft supply gifts”. Ummmm…. Let me tell you, there is a lot (yah, a LOT) of bad advice out there.
I’m so glad you’re here. Now, you can stop your search and get some real advice from a real, professional artist. With almost TWO decades of experience creating beautiful handmade greeting cards and other arts, and teaching others to do the same, I hope to help guide you in selecting just what your new Card Maker needs in their card making tool kit to get started successfully!
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Let’s pick out some supplies that your Card Maker will use…. and appreciate!
All the supplies I share in all of my Gift Guides are supplies that I personally use or have thoroughly tested (in the instance of more “beginner” materials). For this guide especially, I’ve selected products that are quality, but economical.
When getting started with card making, it can be difficult to know where to start and the $$ can rack up quickly. It’s easy to spend waaaayyyy too much when you don’t know what you actually need. It can spiral out of control fast – leaving a pile of supplies that get neglected because they were the wrong thing at the wrong time.
In reality, it doesn’t take much to start making great cards! I’m going to share with you the core items your Card Maker needs in their stash to be successful: Stamps, Paper, Ink, and Adhesives. However, that’s not to say that they need these exact things. If you know your budding crafter has favorite colors, or has a certain style, then you’ll want to do some research on products that will appeal to their tastes.
Of course, there’s always the Gift Card option so they can pick out just what they need. In that case, I have a simple checklist that you can download and give with your gift to help make some good beginner choices!
Gift Ideas for New Card Makers
Well…. duh! A Card Maker will never say “no!” to more stamps!
Here’s the thing…. as a beginner, there are a ridiculous amount of choices. Well, there’s always a ridiculous amount of choices with the number of different stamp companies out there. It really doesn’t get any easier until you decide on a style and have a really good sense of what you like and what you don’t.
But, as a beginner, this is what you need.
1 – a good sentiment set
This can be a set with all sorts of single-line sentiments (we call them sentiment strips) that can be easily cut apart with scissors or a paper trimmer. Or, you can get a set with some big, chunky sentiments, or a mix of both. Most of all, a set that has sentiments for lots of different occasions will really serve you well. All of your favorite craft brands will have a plethora of sentiment sets. To make it easy, start with Scrapbook.com – with a great selection and fantastic prices!
2 – some nice imagery
Geometrics, florals, critters, realistic, cartoony, filled in, outlines, vintage, modern….. you can find anything in a stamp. A good bet is to pick a set that can be stamped, stamped & colored, and stamped & cut out. Since we’re talking beginners here, we’re talking about fussy cutting (though I imagine a die cutting machine won’t be too far away…) so the outlines should be somewhat easy to cut. There are hundreds of stamp companies – but some of my favorites are Scrapbook.com, Altenew, Concord & 9th and Picket Fence.
3 – acrylic blocks
Long gone are the days of stamps mounted on wood blocks. Yes, you can still find some, but they are few and far between. Most stamp sets are photopolymer (clear) or red rubber without a block. Stamps are attached to acrylic blocks only while you’re using them. Then, the stamps and blocks are cleaned and put away. This saves a ton of space for storage. I recommend a set of acrylic blocks in varying sizes to accomodate different size stamps. They will last forever, so it’s a worthwhile investment! I have this bundle from Scrapbook.com and they’ll last a lifetime!
Inks are another thing a crafter will never say “no” to! It is easy to start thinking that you need ALL the colors to create something great. BUT YOU DON’T! A core set of colors and a great black ink is enough to get you started.
1 – black hybrid ink
There are sooooo many black inks out there. How many does a crafter need? IMHO, at least 3 – but that’s a convo for another day. For a beginner crafter, we need just one. A really good hybrid black ink. This means the ink will be good for stamping images no matter what you will do with them – color with watercolors, water or alcohol-based markers, or even doing layering stamping over top. OR, if you just need to stamp a sentiment – this is the ink that will get you started on your way without having to think about it being the “right” black for the job. It’s what I like to call a utility player. Quite a few companies make hybrid inks. I recommend and use Scrapbook.com, Pinkfresh, and Hero Arts.
2 – ink cube set
Any new crafter will want to add colored inks into their kit. But, like anything in this industry, it can be overwhelming because so many companies have their own custom inks. Firstly, I recommend getting an ink cube set. These are smaller inks, so you get more for the money, and they’re also easier to store! As a bonus, some stamping inks are more versatile and can be used for more than stamping. They can also be used for watercolor and other techniques because the ink doesn’t “shatter” when mixed with water. That means that the color will always stay the way it was meant to and not break out into it’s consituent dyes (like when black sometimes shatters into greens, purples or browns). Because of that, I recommend Tim Holtz/Ranger Distress Ink Mini Cubes.
3 – ink blending tool
This is a bonus tool that will add some more technique options to a beginner’s toolbox. Sponge blending foams are inexpensive, and can open many doors to new looks. Paired with a good ink cube set, you can start adding blended backgrounds to projects, or even think about stencils sooner rather than later. Both the Ranger and the Scrapbook.com ones are great. The refill foams are interchangeable too!
PAPER & PAPER TOOLS
I hate to be obvious, but you just can’t do paper crafts without… paper! Again, for someone just getting started with card making, there are a few essentials that make life easier – especially if they’re already properly sized and you don’t have to do a lot of cutting. Starting simple is key, so each of these items take out a lot of the guesswork, which leaves the crafter with more free brain cells for creativity!
1 – card bases & envelopes
If you’re going to make a card, you need a base to put it on! Cardmakers typically use white, kraft or cream colored card bases so it’s easier to write on the inside. It’s also more cost effective than using colored paper as those three neutral colors usually cost at least 1/2 the price per sheet than colored paper! Getting premade bases & envelopes mean you don’t need to have a paper cutter, and generally just takes less time to get to the finished product! Both Scrapbook.com and Spellbinders have great assortments of card bases & envelopes to choose from!
2 – colored paper pads
An easy way to add interest to a card is to add a layer of colored or patterned paper. It’s easy to go overboard here. With that in mind, I suggest that you go for a few essential variety packs that are already cut to size so you can pick a piece you like and go from there. Often, the papers are double sided, so you have extra patterns, or a solid on one side. Sometimes they’re just solid packs, and sometimes, even specialty – like glitter or holographic.
The Scrapbook.com brand is very economical and there is a nice variety of patterns, solids and specialty. I like that they come in 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ (traditional card-sized), and also 6″ x 8″ for something a little more versatile. Both store better than traditional 12″ x 12″ – which was geared more towards scrapbooking. Of course, there are tons of brands to explore, like Altenew, Paper Rose, Honey Bee, and many others. Like stamps, over time, a crafter will find what they like most!
3 – paper snips
Paper Snips are a kind of small-ish scissors that are designed for paper crafting work. They are SHARP!! And, if you ONLY use them to cut paper, they will stay sharp for a LONG time! I still have the same pair of snips from 2004. I have never sharpened them, but I take good care of them. Even though mine have black handles, these here, are the ones I have! You can get them at Scrapbook.com, and many other online retailers!
4 – paper trimmer
If you go for pre-cut and scored card bases, and papers, you may not need a paper trimmer right away. But, you will want one sooner than later. The one and only thing a good trimmer needs to do is CUT STRAIGHT WITHOUT SNAGGING THE PAPER! This trimmer by Tonic Studios was my go-to for YEARS until I upgraded to a more expensive, professional rotary trimmer. In general, you can only cut one, maybe two pieces of paper at a time. But, if you’re focusing on creating a quality card, you should be taking your time anyway.
I like this Tonic Studios guillotine cutter because it is self-sharpening, and it has a hand guard that you press down on to keep the paper in place as you cut. I also like that the handle extends out, instead of being on the side. I think that helps give a more even, controlled cut. Of course, it meets my basic requirement of cutting straight, too!
Adhesive might be a sticker topic than you would think! Unfortunately, good ‘ol Elmer’s glue is often the wrong adhesive for card making! It will cause paper to curl and crinkle. The adhesives I recommend are long-time staples in my space – even today!
1 – tape runner
Tape runners are quick and simple, and they adhere fairly well. Most beginner card makers will start with a tape runner, and then might expand to liquid glue if they find that they need more sticking power. There are plenty of good brands out there, so I always look for the most economical that still provides the best results possible. Scrapbook.com recently came out with their own line, which is pretty good. But, I’ve always been a Tombow type. I think their adhesives are the best! Both brands come with refills too.
2 – foam adhesive squares
Foam adhesive squares will take a project from basic to advanced, as these are used to add space between layers and elements, and therefore, extra dimension to a project. Some brands get cutesy with circles, or hexagons, but I prefer the plain ‘ol square ones, because you end up using every bit of the package. That makes an individual square cost just pennies – or less! Again, there are many brands out there, but for economy, and quality, I use the Scrapbook.com ones – (as well as their foam tape products) because they stick soooo well, and they are a nice weight of foam that resists squishing.
3 – liquid adhesive
Like I mentioned earlier, I am a Tombow type! I have been using the Tombow Mono Liquid Adhesive for well over 15 years, and I can’t get enough of it! I even use the bottle leftovers to make temporary spray adhesive. I love the Mono style because it gives just enough time to be able to move things around if necessary before sticking permanently. It does have a “removable” feature, but I really only use that when creating my spray adhesive mixture. It doesn’t dry hard, which, I think helps to give papers and layers just enough flex that they don’t fall apart over time.
Oh, and a little goes a LONG way. Most beginners shy away because they just don’t know how to get a thin line of this stuff – but practice will make you a believer!
4 – adhesive eraser
This little gem should be in everyone’s art space! I usually cut mine into quarters so I get more mileage out of a single eraser. The premise is that you can use it to erase up any stray adhesive. If it’s a tape runner, you can use this right away. If it’s Tombow Multi, or another flexible liquid glue, you wait for it to dry, then use the eraser to gently remove any stray glue.
So, it doesn’t erase mistakes, but instead, removes stray adhesive so you don’t have any sticky spots on your projects! The lifted adhesive will stick to the eraser, so gently pull off the “boogers” and discard – your adhesive eraser will last for a long time! I’m pretty sure these brands are all identical tools, so pick one and be on your way!
I made this guide as easy as possible because ALL of these items are available at Scrapbook.com. I really advocate for this business because they really do carry a wonderful assortment of quality brands at great prices, and are committed to bringing their own quality house-brand to the market that can help a crafter save! They have frequent sales (be sure to check the Crafty Sales Page), and I find their shipping to be super fast!
1 – gift cards
So, if you just don’t’ know where to start with the gift buying, or you have a pretty picky person on your hands, the best thing to do is get that gift card and let them know that you know they love this stuff, but that you also want them to pick out things that will work for them!
2 – gift guide checklist
Of course, I don’t want to leave you totally high and dry with just a gift card, so here’s that PDF Checklist I promised. Just click on the picture and it will download automatically. Don’t forget to include it in the gift to your favorite card maker! If you ARE a card maker, send it over to someone who might be in need of a great gift idea for you!