DIY Tools to Live By: Best Crafting Basics

DIY Tools to Live By: Best Crafting Basics

Claire Bock
Feb 12, 2014
(Image credit: Shannon Corbeil)

Valentine's Day is around the corner and crafting a gift is a very personal way to show someone you care. When you have the right tools on hand, you can whip something up last-minute for any occasion with little cost and maximum creativity.

(Image credit: as linked above)


1. Pinking Shears from IKEA, $7.99

2. Basic Scissors are a must, and come in a wide price range. This pair is from Staples for $7.99.

3. X-acto knife #2 from Dick Blick, $4.31

4. Paper Trimmers are available in either a rotary or guillotine style. I prefer the rotary style, like this 18" Carl model from Staples for $198.99. There is a wide price range on paper trimmers, but I have found that the super cheap trimmers don't last as long or always get the job done.

5. Rounded corner punch from Paper Source, $12.95

6. A good ruler will last decades and should have a non-slip surface on the bottom in addition to a finger guard, like this Alumicutter from Dick Blick. $10.29 for an 18" model.

7. A reversible self-healing cutting mat will save your dining table and counter tops from ruin. Dick Blick, $12.99 for an 8" x 12" mat.

8. A single hole punch from Martha Stewart at Paper Source, $18.99

9. A circle trimmer creates perfect circles, an impossible free-hand task, in a cinch. Fiskars from Paper Source, $24.95

10. A heart punch is a good basic shape to keep on hand. From Dick Blick, $12.70.

(Image credit: as linked above)


1. Washi tape has created a whole new product for crafters to collect. 5 rolls for $16.95 from Paper Source

2. A grade school favorite that carries into adulthood. Glue Sticks from Dick Blick, from 90ยข

3. A dual temperature glue gun like this Stanley model from Home Depot is nice when you don't want to burn your fingers. $12.97

4. Gift wrap tape by Scotch 3M from Target, $2.64

5. Double Sided tape by Scotch 3M from Target, $2.99

6. The 1960's decoupage phenomenon Mod Podge from Dick Blick, $2.99 for 4 oz.

7. Aleen's tacky glue is the adult version of Elmer's, with just a bit more stickiness to it. Dick Blick, $2.98 for 8 oz

8. Sponge brushes from your local hardware shop are essential for many of these adhesives and work for many painting projects too. Paper Source, set of 4 for $1.50

(Image credit: as linked above)


1. Jute twine has a timeless quality and is a great neutral for any color. Paper Source, $4.95

2. A roll of baker's twine will last forever, and always comes in handy for last minute packaging. With an array of colors at such a cheap price, you never feel like you are wasting any of it. $7.99 for 500 yards from Paper Source

3. Cavallini makes some great stamp sets with a basic black ink pad, including this alphabet set from Paper Source, $27.95

4. Manila shipping tags from Avery, $61.97 for 1000 (smaller quantities are available at your local office supply).

5. A sewing machine might seem like an odd choice, but it can create unique textures and stitch up bunting and garland in a snap. Joann Craft Store, $69.99

6. Primary color ink pad set from Yellow Owl Workshop, $10

7. If you are looking to take your stamping further, an heat embossing tool is crucial. Paper Source, $23.95

8. A roll of kraft paper works as gift wrap for any occasion, or even a last minute table runner. Target, $4.99 per roll

What tools would you add to this kit?

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