Crafting is becoming something of a popular hobby these days. Many people are turning their back on rank consumerism and enjoying the fruits of their own labor, and instead of splashing out huge amounts of money on new furniture, ornaments, and artwork, they are doing it all themselves. And why not? Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love a good craft project – there is nothing in the world more satisfying than creating something beautiful yourself.
You can even start making some money from crafting, too, if you put your mind to it. But make no mistake, if you do want to start selling your work on places like Etsy, you will need to make sure that your eye for quality and demand for perfection both go up a notch or two. And you might find that customers are a lot harder to please than your Aunt Mo.
There’s a good reason why – and it’s all down to the tools you use. Simply put, if you want to start being more creative and make your products stand out, you’ll need to focus on a few different things. You need to start aiming for a perfect finish, every time. You’ll have to explore more interesting techniques and patterns, too. And ultimately, you will need to work faster, more accurately, and make it worth your while.
With this in mind, here are a few tools that can help you make the transition from amateur crafter to something a lot more professional. You probably already have a few essential tools for your crafting hobby, but the following ideas are more like weapons – they can make that much difference to the quality of your work. Yes, there will be a time commitment and learning process involved before you can use them correctly. But master these tools, and you never know where i might take you. Let’s take a closer look.
First thing’s first, why not save your table and worktops by investing in a proper cutting board or mat? There are plenty of options out there that can self-heal – they will seal up after you have accidentally cut through them – and a good one can last a lifetime. My advice would be to get a large size – as big as possible, in fact. It will save you a lot of time and frustrations if you have enough space to do all your cutting, whether it’s paper, wood or fabric.
Once you start doing really intricate work, it can be tough to see what you are doing – and it’s at this point when many newbie crafters start making mistakes. There is a solution – a simple lap tray. With one of these on hand – look for one with a built in light and a magnifier if you want to go really professional – you will be able to see a lot better in any given scenario. And when it comes to making those fine cuts or attempting a complicated and tiny stitching task, a lap tray will be your best friend.
Craft knives, blades, and scalpel
Scissors are great for cutting through lots of paper. But once you get to the finer details it’s important to have something a lot more accurate than a standard pair of scissors, because they just don’t give you the best possible finish. Invest in a good range of craft knives and scalpels, and you will be set for life. Keep them nice and sharp, and your finishes will improve dramatically. Your work will be sharper, more accurate, and productive than ever before, whether you are working with soft woods, plastics or paper.
There is an astonishing array of different paper types out there, and if you want to become a better crafter, you will need to investigate all of them. Rough paper – even the recycled stuff you can buy these days – is essential for the design stage, and it’s dirt cheap. Tracing paper is handy throughout this early stage, too, but by the time you get to creating something unique and sellable, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Watercolour paper is great for adding three dimensions to your pieces, while rice paper is fantastic for applying a rough finish to any work. There are plenty of blog posts and detailed descriptions on the various types of paper you can buy, so take a look and start stocking up.
Forget about your Pritt Stick and PVA glue – it just won’t cut it if you want to start making a name for yourself a serious crafter. Instead, you should be looking at a glue gun. A good glue gun can help you stick almost anything together, and it is a much quicker, tidier option than the painstaking and messy finishes you get from normal sticks and tubes. Don’t rush into this, however. As Glue Guns Direct point out, these can be dangerous instruments in inexperienced hands. And the last thing you need is a trip to the hospital with burns – so make sure that you have some practice before using a gun on your next project. My top tip? Get some finger protectors to use whenever you are using any kind of heated adhesive. These simple finger coverers will help you stay safe and avoid any nasty mistakes.
Rulers & Trimmers
Straight lines are essential for a lot of craft projects. But if you are using a cheap, plastic ruler, you just won’t get the cut that you are looking for – it’s that simple. When you slice a sharp scalpel or craft knife against plastic, there is only going to be one winner. And your ruler will end up having tiny chunks taken out of it, no matter how careful you are with your cuts. Metal rulers are straight – and stay straight. Buy one, and your finishes will be sharper than ever. Also, consider investing in a good paper trimmer. It will save you an astonishing amount of time when it comes to working on your projects.
With a little practice, all these tools can help take your crafting hobby to the next level. Let everyone know your thoughts in the comments section below!