Cool Tools

I think most crafters would probably agree that there are some tools you just can't live without. 

These are the go-to utensils that you return to, time and time again to help complete those projects, gifts, scrapbook pages and much more.

Blog cool tools supplies2


Very often, the type of tool used can make all the difference in how well or efficiently a project turns out.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of my favorite tools and why they are the must-have items in my personal tool box.

Blog cool tools 4

While a complete list of useful tools is far too long to compile in a single blog post, I did narrow my favorites down to my top 20 reliable items. 

Take a look at the numbered tools in the photo above and you'll find a corresponding description of each one throughout this post.

(1)Exacto knives.  These small blades come in various sizes to fit just about any papercrafting project when a pair of scissors just won't do the trick. 

Exacto knives are perfect for trimming paper and carving photos that have those difficult-to-get-to corners and angles.

 

Blog cool tools exacto

(2) Glitter spoon.  For projects that require glitter, it's good to be able to control how much is used.  Glitter spoons have small scoops on each end so you can grab little glitter as you need and sprinkle it exactly where you want to without going glitter-overboard.

By the way, I'll show you how to make the beautiful, glitter-fly in the photo below coming up later in an upcoming post.

Blog cool tools spoon2

(3) Staple gun.  This is another one of those versatile tools that every crafter should have in their stash. 

It's handy for various school projects as well as for those wayward staples that sometimes dislodge from a favorite piece of furniture. 

Blog cool tools staple gun

(4) Bone burnisher.  A burnisher is a rubbing tool.  I don't know if this flat utensil is actually made of bone, but it is certainly bone-colored.  Use it to apply rub-ons or when creasing cardstock instead of using your fingers which can sometimes leave behind natural-oil smudges on the paper.

 

I make recital programs several times a year for Cameron and Jordy's music classes and the burnisher gives my heavy cardstock a clean, perfectly crisp fold every time.

 

Blog cool tools burnisher2

(5) Quickutz sticky stick.  If you use die-cuts, you know sometimes the smaller images and letters can often be to difficult to handle with fingertips. 

This pencil-size, plastic tool has a gum-like, sticky end so that even the smallest letters are easy to pick up and position exactly where you want them on your scrapbook page or project.

Blog cool tools stick

(6) Color wheel.  If you need to compare and contrast colors in the same family, this is a good tool to have. 

It's great for coordinating scrapbooking paper colors as well as fabric combinations for quilting projects.

Blog cool tools wheel 
 

7) Foam brushes.  These inexpensive brushes are wonderfully versatile and cheap enough to toss if you don't feel like cleaning them.  Use a foam brush paint just about any project that pops up.

I used a foam brush to pain the leaves for my Fall napkin project but you can also use these handy brushes to apply just about any solution including stains, varnishes and decoupage glue. 

 

Blog leaves paint

(8) Detail scissors. Sometimes a regular size pair of scissors is just too large and cumbersome.  When you have a need for pinpoint cutting accuracy, turn to special detail craft scissors that allow you to get  into extremely tight cutting corners. 

In addition to detail-craft scissors, I also keep a variety of manicure scissors on hand for super intricate paper cutwork.

Blog cool tools scissors

(9) Glue eraser.  If you ever need to remove errant adhesive or glue, try this handy tool. 

This palm-size, pale turquoise-colored eraser also works well to remove unwanted rubons on scrapbook pages and projects.

Blog cool tools eraser

(10) Corner rounder.  This easy-to-use tool does exactly what the name suggests.  It rounds the corners of paper.  Rounded corners tend to add a softer edge to papercraft projects as well as scrapbook photos.

Remember these banana bread recipe cards I made a while back?  The rounded corners were a nice finishing touch.

Blog monkey bread cards2

(11) Stippling brushes.  These specialty brushes are an ideal way to add a paint-effect to scrapbook pages or cardmaking projects. 

Apply a small amount of paint to the bottom, crew cut-like bristles and then dab across the project or paper to create tiny, textured-looking dots.

 Blog cools tools brushes

(12) Distressing files.  These have the same texture and effect as an emery board only these come in various sizes with comfort handle.  The files can also be used to add that vintage, well-worn look to paper projects.

I used a distressing file to sand down the narrow, heart-shaped openings in this decorative desk decor project

Blog cool tools files

(13) Brayer.  If you need to roll a large amount of paint or ink over an area, then a brayer is the tool to use.  This is a hand-inking tool has several uses. 

A brayer can be used by applying ink or paint directly onto the rubber roller, or it can be used to apply pressure to the back of projects that have already been inked or painted to help transfer pigment from one object to another.

Blog cool tools brayer 
(14) Glue gun.  My gosh, what can't you do with a hot glue gun?  When you have one, you'll find a million ways to use it. 

The wax tubes fit down inside the gun shaft and when heated, dispenses hot glue that will adhere just about anything you can think of. 

Various attachment heads allow you to determine the size of the glue stream that is delivered to your project. 

Blog cool tools glue gun2 
 

(15) Hammer.  I've only used this hammer a few times to bang small picture hooks and for some metal eyelet work.  I decided to include it my list of favs because I just love the pretty pink, decorative floral hammerhead. 

Honestly, could you resist adding this hammer to your tool stash?

Blog cool tool hammer2

(16) Crop-a-dile.  This is another versatile tool that allows you to punch a hole through almost anything like butter.  It cuts through leather, thick cardboard and metal with almost no effort at all.

I used the Crop-a-dile to easily cut small holes through the metal bucket in the photo below.  I'll share more of this pretty, beaded bucket project later in an upcoming post.

Blog cool tools cropdile

(17) Powder pouch.  Before using that rubber stamp on your next cardmaking project, try tapping the contents of this little pouch over the cardstock before stamping. 

The light powder deposit easily brushes away and will help ensure a clean, crisp image application.  These powder pouches can be found where rubber stamps and ink are sold.

I used this pretty rubber stamp for my scented sachet project a while back and I still get inquiries about where to buy the stamp.  You can find this "Little Precious" stamp here

Blog cool tools powder pouch

(18) Paper trimmer.  If you need to trim a small amount of paper or cardstock in a hurry, this is the tool for you. 

While this small trimmers are ideal for holiday wrapping paper, it can also be just as useful at that next scrapbooking crop.  

Blog cool tools trimmer2 
(19) Circle/Oval cutters.  I love using circles and ovals in my scrapbook pages.  Cut solid ovals and circles or hollow shapes using these fun plastic guides. 

I used the oval cutter to create thin, lavender shapes to wrap around the hoola-hoop photos at the bottom of the scrapbook page in the photo below.

This scrapbook layout appeared in the Aug/Sept. 2008 issue of Scrapbook, Etc. magazine published by Better Homes and Gardens.

Blog cool tools ovals

(20) Heat gun.  If you fancy heat embossed projects, this is the required tool for the technique.  A heat gun blows out extremely hot air and is used to melt embossing powders to achieve the raised, textured images from rubber stamps.

My holiday poinsettia card is an example of a project which used heat embossing.

Blog poinsettias gun

So that's a look at a few of my favorite, frequently used tools, some of which you may already have in your stash and some of which you may want to try for the first time.

You can never have too many tools, right?

Blog cool tools swivel3

I invite you to share your favorite cool tools so we can all add them to our ever-growing list of must-have supplies.

I think I'm going to need a bigger tool box.ā™„

 

 

  • [email protected]

    Great blog. I found you by searching images for the glue eraser. Do you happen to have the brand and/or where I can buy another one? I have completely worn out the one I have but love it so much – but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Please help, if you can. Thanks.

  • Cheri

    Thanks for listing your favorite tools! It’s always informative to know what an artists favorite tools are, and how they use them. I just wish my local crafts store carried all those goodies!

  • gena

    Gorgeous project! I don’t know if I’m up to this challenge. My head’s stuck in a pile of fabric and film.

  • QueenPam

    I saw one or two of your tools that I didn’t have! Glue eraser, I need that and the small paper trimmer. I love my ATG gun for applying double sided adhesive! And micro brushes for very small jobs.

  • Julie Size

    Cool indeed! I wish scrap booking was popular when my girls were young. You have so many neat things to choose from. I used to use graphics from greeting cards.
    I started a new blog where stories will be published about the farm and the animals if you enjoy reading!
    http://www.equusgirl.blogspot.com
    Julie

  • Dena Berg (Sugar Shop)

    Ooh I love when you do these kinds of posts, I always learn about something new!

  • theartistshouse

    I love your blog. What a great post. I must say that I’m a little envious of some of those tools. Soon I might have as many tools as my husband, then I’ll need to get a tool belt, lol. Thanks for sharing.

  • Karen E. Marston

    I love your blog and that would be the hammer of my dreams! I am recuperating from surgery and have had the best time visiting with you today. My I am very new to blogging (about a week and a half) and have learned a lot! Your blog was quite the find!!!!

  • Writerleeanne.wordpress.com

    Oooh, I love that exacto-knife set! I’ll be looking for that soon. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

  • katherinemarie

    WOW! That is one GLORIOUS tool collection!!!! Can I come play?

  • Debra

    I love that Exacto knives set – I may have to look for those. One of my favorite tools is my Mrs. Grossman’s tweezers. They are great for picking up small bits & pieces, removing stickers from a sticker sheet & to hold paper when embossing.
    As Always, your presentation is fabulous.
    Hugs,
    Debra

  • Judith Norman

    I want that hammer. Exacto knives intimidate me. I love the tool carousel. I remember the banana bread post (loved it). But, enough about me. When are you going to post that beaded bucket project?

  • Adrienne

    Ahhhhh you have some cool stuff!

  • Amanda

    Great and informative post Lisa, thanks for sharing your cool tools!

  • Jacqueline M. Schimmel

    Awesome! Thank goodness I have most of these. lol But, the powder pouch? Never heard of it. You just learn something new every day. šŸ˜€ And you gotta just love the pink hammer! šŸ˜‰ Have a great day Lisa!

  • Berta

    I have a similar tool for everyone of the tools you have šŸ™‚ I am a tool junkie! Another handy tool is an electric drill, I have my very own. And an electric staple gun is great too, if you have a big project. Easier on the hands. A girl just can’t too many tools. Thanks for sharing!

  • Nicole

    Is tool envy a thing, because I think I have it. Oooh! You have great stuff and I want it all! My roommate and I have a deal that only allows me a small closet for craft storage but I think I love my big, old school paper cutter best.

  • frenchgardenhouse

    Perfect! I love your hammer.:) I have almost all those tools, except the glue eraser, so I’m off to find one. Thanks. ps. LOVED your heart shaped post, what a lot of information in there. yummy, too. xo Lidy

  • Nelly aka Bella Nella

    What a really terrific and thorough post. Well, the “You can’t have too many…” is true again for me after reading your post. Now, I’m going to have to get that powder pouch. Never knew about that.

  • SuzK

    Thanks for this. I don’t do much work with paper, but there were some things here that were good to know about. I had never heard of the glitter spoons and I do like to glitter, so I’ll be searching for one of those! I also liked that sticky stick – I could see that being handy when I’m embellishing things! And I love your hammer. I have a plain hammer, but it’s lightweight and works perfectly for my sewing room needs – I think it’s time to dress it up!

  • Melanie

    Thanks for the list of tools. I am in need of some of yours:)
    I don’t know how you do all you do. You are a super woman.

  • Sarah Sarniak

    What a great collection of tools! I love how you stored them as well. I saw that lazy susan thing at Micheal’s one day and was like “ooOo” but it was like $40 bucks so I passed.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Shirley

    I have one of those hammers and it has a hole punch and setter and an embossing tool in the handle!

  • Allie

    Out of all of them, I think I need that hammer the most – Lisa, you have such fabulous style, even in your tools!

  • Michaele Sommerville

    I LOVE that you included a brayer- though I use mine to make sure adhesive is evenly distributed between layers of paper that I’m gluing together for my banners! šŸ™‚
    And I agree: a notepad and pencil are absolute essentials for scribbling down inspirations and ideas when one is away from his or her crafty spot!
    Michaele

  • Vicki

    I think you could make a small fortune if you mass produce your lil’ pink hammer! I checked out your Chicago Stampland – thank you again for sharing again and again…

  • Thimbleanna

    Oooooh, thanks for all the cool info Lisa. 2, 5, and 9 are new to me, and I’ve always wondered exactly what a crop-a-dile would do for me that some of my other tools wouldn’t do. Punching through a tin can is one of them, so I might be seeing that in my near future. I can’t wait to see your beaded can project!

  • Elena

    I have never been enamored with a hammer until now. It’s so cute!

  • Sheri D. Maple

    You are right that one can never have too many cool tools. My cool tools are drawing pencils and a sketch pad to put down my ideas so that I will not forget them.