I am so excited to present a Paper 101 Series where I’ll be guiding you through useful information and some fun-to-make tutorials - I am sure you’re going to fall in love with this ancient and very versatile material that you can easily find almost anywhere in the world!
A Little Bit Of My Love Story With Paper
It’s impossible to say exactly when I fell in love with making things with paper, but I remember having something to do with the beautiful handmade cards my grandmother used to receive every year from a friend. The first I can remember was from the Christmas Holidays, I especially got very thrilled with the glitter carefully poured on the beautiful smooth vellum paper. I liked it so much that grandma gave it to me (I still have it!) and, at some point, I decided to make cards myself for every occasion I could find!
From there I discovered that paper can be the main source for a fancy project for sure, but the most amazing thing is that with a few right tools for the job you can make the most simple, beautiful and interesting projects!
There are a few important tools that make paper craft a snap, which are intended to make the process easier, but still keeping the personalized handmade signature you want as an artist. With these basic tools, you’ll see endless possibilities for things to make, and in my next posts you will learn a little more about materials (paper works great as a mixed medium!), how do I plan for my projects and last, but not least, we’ll have a tour of my studio, and you can see how I organize all my tools, materials and stuff.
So let’s talk about tools first!
One of the characteristics I value the most in a ruler when designing my projects or cutting paper is a non-slip backing. Also, I love that you can see through the OLFA Frosted Acrylic rulers, as I’m always able to visualize the entire project when using the ruler because of their clear properties. And with the printed grid, the accuracy and precision are perfect. Another tool I use frequently is my metal ruler with a cork backing, specially when I’m using my snap-off craft/utility knives.
Some of the rulers I use:
- OLFA QR-1x12 1" X 12" Frosted Acrylic Ruler
- OLFA QR-6x12 6" X 12" Frosted Acrylic Ruler
- OLFA QR-6x24 6" X 24" Frosted Acrylic Ruler
It’d be ideal to keep at least two different sizes at hand: a 5 or 7-inch blade to cut longer lengths, and another one with a smaller precision blade, to be used for any detailed cutting tasks. OLFA offers you the two most important kinds of scissors you’ll need.
I’ve had several scissors in my life, but what impresses me the most about the OLFA ones, apart of their excellent quality, is that all of them are exceptionally sturdy, and they are meant for use on almost any type of material, from lightweight to heavy-duty, or even cutting multiple layers at once.
- OLFA 7-Inch SCS-2 Serrated-Edge Stainless Steel Scissors
- OLFA 5-Inch SCS-4 Precision Appliqué Scissors
Also, it’s a plus to have some fringe/decorative scissors too, as you can find plenty of ways to decorate your projects.
Rotary Cutters / Art & Utility Knives
There are plenty of different cutting tools for arts & crafts, and the type you are going to use depends on the material and thickness of the paper, as well on the detail and accuracy you plan on having for your project.
My favorite ones for cutting straight longer lengths are the rotary cutters, as you will just have to easily slide it through the paper (and, depending on the material and blade size, cutting multiple layers at once!), having a pristine cut. These are some of my faves:
- OLFA 45mm RTY-2/C Quick-Change Rotary Cutter, Aqua
- OLFA 45mm RTY-2/DX Ergonomic Rotary Cutter
- OLFA 28mm RTY-1/C Quick-Change Rotary Cutter
- OLFA 18mm RTY-4 Quick-Change Rotary Cutter
- Use OLFA Circle Cutter to easily make circles;
- To give some pizzazz to your design, try these decorative blades as well, they are so fun and the cutting finish is impressive:
- OLFA PIB45-1 Stainless Steel Pinking Blade, 1pk
- OLFA SCB45-1 Stainless Steel Scallop Blade, 1pk
- OLFA WAB45-1 Stainless Steel Wave Blade, 1pk
- OLFA CMP-3 Rotary Circle Cutter
For precision works I prefer to use these graphic & art knives:
- OLFA 9mm XA-1 Fiberglass Precision Knife
- OLFA 9mm SAC-1 Stainless-Steel Graphics Knife With 30-Degree Precision Blade
- OLFA TS-1 Top Sheet Cutter
- OLFA AK-4 Cushion Grip Art Knife
- OLFA ESK-1 Beginner Craft Knife With Stand
Another essential - and wise - tool to protect your work area and to increase the durability of your blades. For my projects I use two types: the self-healing ones intended to be used with rotary cutters and the translucent or folding mat to be used with my art & utility knives.
- OLFA FCM-12x17 12" X 17" Folding Cutting Mat
- OLFA RM-CG 12" X 18" Green Double-Sided, Self-Healing Rotary Mat
- OLFA RM-12S 12" Rotating, Self-Healing Cutting Mat
- OLFA RM-6x8 6" X 8" Green Double-Sided, Self-Healing Rotary Mat
- OLFA TCM-L 24" X 36" 3mm Translucent Double-Sided, Self-Healing Cutting Mat
These is the main set, but here’s a list of other useful tools to be used with paper crafts:
- Decorative (basic shapes like circles, hearts, etc) and hole punches
- Bone Folder: by scoring the paper you will have the perfect line for making folds and creases
- Scoring Board, will help you to have crisp and clean fold
- Basic Sewing Kit, and wire cutters/pliers
- Paint Brushes
- Drawing tools (pencil, erasers, etc)
- Clamps for securing items together
- Sewing Machine ( I do LOVE to sew on paper!)
- Glue Gun and/or adhesive tapes
- Measuring Tape
Thank you and see you on my next post for the Paper 101 Series!