These are THE top 5 craft supplies I can’t live without, my absolute faves, the craft supplies I would take to a desert island!
Ok, so today we’re talking about THE top 5 craft supplies that I can’t live without. These are the ones I reach for most often. The ones I would take to a desert island (it would be super handy to be a crafty person if you were stranded on a desert island!). The craft supplies and tools that I pack last and in a special box when we’re moving so I can get to them easily.
It was kind of hard to choose but also not that hard, because I just had to look around my desk to see which things I keep within arm’s reach. But at the same time, it was a little bit like if someone asked me to choose which child is my favorite…I love them all! And anyway, the stress of this is completely self-imposed since I’m the one asking myself this question.
Before we get started, I’d love to hear in the comments which craft supplies or tools would make your top 5? Do you agree with mine? Or would you choose something totally different?
So here we go in no particular order:
- Craft knife.
I use my craft knife ALL the time. I keep it on a shelf above my desk with a big box of replacement blades next to it. You might think scissors cut just fine but let me tell you, when you start cutting precise things with a craft knife you will realize how much better it can be! You can even cut vinyl crafts by hand with a craft knife, or things like this great word wall art! You don’t NEED an expensive cutting machine.
My number one piece of advice when it comes to craft knives, is to change your blade frequently. Before I went to architecture school, I did not know that was a thing you needed to do. That one blade seemed sharp enough to me, right? Friends, you should be changing to a new blade AT LEAST with every new project. Maybe more frequently if you use it a lot or are cutting something like foamboard that will dull it.
Did I just blow your mind? Try it, you will be shocked at the difference a new blade will make. And hey, a sharp blade is also a LOT safer!
- Metal ruler.
You might think your kids’ plastic ruler is fine, but if you’re regularly using a craft knife, you can nick the edge or even shave off little slivers of a plastic ruler over time and your straight edge will no longer be straight. An 18″ metal ruler with a cork back to keep from slipping will last FOREVER.
- Cutting mat.
I use my self-healing cutting mat for almost every craft project I make. Obviously it’s convenient for cutting on top of with a craft knife. I also use it for sewing, if I need to use a rotary cutter. It makes a great surface for weeding vinyl because the vinyl won’t stick too much. I used the gridded side for cutting and vinyl projects or anything that needs to be lined up and then I flip it over to the back side for paint projects, to use it to protect my tabletop. It’s also fantastic to use the back side for gluing on as well. Again, it protects my table and you can peel most hot glue off afterwards. Get the biggest one you can fit in your house!
- Good acrylic craft paint.
Good acrylic craft paint should be multi-surface and both thick and smooth. Smooth to not show too many brushstrokes, and thick so that you don’t need more than 2-3 coats for complete coverage.
Good acrylic craft paint will stick to almost any surface from plastic to metal, to wood and not peel. And if you can, always sand any surface before you paint.
I think the best way to test a craft paint brand’s coverage is to try and paint something red. This is usually the color that requires the most coats of paint for full coverage and you will definitely see a difference between a good brand and a brand with thinner paint (I’m looking at you Apple Barrel & CraftSmart). My first love has always been Delta Ceramcoat, but I fell equally in love with Martha Steward multi-surface acrylic craft paint when that came out. Honorable mention to DecoArt & FolkArt!
- Paint pens
Paint pens are a totally underrated craft supply. Friends, paint pens are SO much easier to use for details than regular paint and a tiny paintbrush. I love this brand the most. But I also recently found this brand which is fantastic to use on fabric! I always have white, black and metallic paint pens on my shelf. Just keep in mind that paint pens are super stinky, so open a window.
The other thing to keep in mind about paint pens is that you should have realistic expectations for them. You know that viral craft where someone paints on a mug with a paint pen and then claims it’s permanent and dishwasher safe? Nope, that’s not really going to work. Paint pens are no more permanent than other paint treatments. You shouldn’t expect them to survive a dishwasher or lots of water exposure any more than you would any other paint finish. If you accept that, they’re the best!
- Aleene’s original tacky glue with BOTTOM cap: I literally fix everything with this glue, everything from crafts, to broken toys to things around the house and the bottom cap is a total game changer. I will never buy the regular shaped bottle ever again. No more dried out stuck glue tips. I love this glue because it’s pretty thick and sticky so unlike school glue, you don’t have to hold things in place very long for them to stick.
- Hot glue gun: I have a love-hate relationship with my hot glue gun. On the one hand, it’s so ridiculously handy. Hot glue sticks pretty much anything together, you can’t beat that. On the other hand, it’s messy, the glue is thick and not flexible, and hot glued seams usually don’t look very neat. And the STRINGS. No one likes the strings. Hot glue also doesn’t hold up really well over long periods of time. So I try to be intentional with when (short-term projects) and where (hidden areas) I use hot glue.
- Fabric scissors: I loved to craft as a kid but we only had regular household scissors. I didn’t know fabric-only scissors were a thing until I grew up. Now my family knows the punishment will be harsh if they use my fabric scissors to cut anything BUT fabric. (Note: fabric scissors aren’t that mechanically any different from any other all-purpose scissors, the difference is that you personally ONLY use them on fabric so they stay super sharp)
- Permanent double stick tape: I love to use double stick tape for paper or cardboard craft because it’s not wet so it won’t cause wrinkles like glues. It’s not the cheapest craft supply but it’s super handy.
- Toothpicks: I use toothpicks for crafting a lot. They’re good for applying small dots of glue or paint or for wedding or placing vinyl.
- My 16″ US 7 (4.5 mm) bamboo circular knitting needles: Ok, this one is particular to ME because I knit a zillion hats. I literally use these needles Every. Day. So of course, if I was on a desert island, I would bring them with me.
I’d love to know what your top 5 craft supplies/tools are, share them with me!
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