Tips, necessities, other stuff

Probably most of you aren't new to crafting & all the various medias, tools, supplies, etc. But maybe there's one person out there in Blogland, within the sound of my typing, that's just delving in & would appreciate some help. And somehow you landed here. For most of you, there's nothing new under the sun - been, there, done that. This probably isn't for you. And you probably have some to add. LET ME KNOW AND I'LL PUBLISH THEM! Please note: links provided go to A Cherry On Top - I'm not paid by them. Although I should be with the amount of money I spend there every month 😜. It's just to provide visuals - you can find these items multiple places.

1. Baby wipes, baby wipes, baby wipes - these are an indispensable necessity! Helps clean up your work area, hands, stamps, stencils - most anything. And speaking of stencils...

2. If you're like me, you're no Martha Stewart when it comes to cleaning off a stencil right after using it. When I'm in the throes of creating, I don't stop to tidy up. And then pastes, paints, and other gunk builds up. And the baby wipe won't work. Here's what you do: fill a pan or container with warm, sudsy water using regular old dish soap and let them soak. After a couple hours, take a sponge to get your gunk off. I just did a batch of well-loved stencils and got them 98% clean doing this. You wouldn't believe what the water looked like 😝. And be gentle with intricate stencils so you don't rip them!

3. Get yourself a good craft mat. Makes clean up a breeze. If you'd rather not splurge on that, go to the party section of the Dollar Store and buy a plastic table cloth.

4.  For me, must-have adhesives are E6000, matte Mod Podge, & matte gel.

5.  Another nice adhesive is a tape runner. Whether you get a big gun or the little handy size - get some!

6.  A heat tool is another of those things that took me forever to get - I was scared of them. And I wasted alot of time waiting for stuff to dry. They're a must have for me now - and I can emboss, too!

7.  If you emboss, use a pair of tweezers, chop sticks, a vice - you know, something else besides your fingers so you don't get 3rd degree burns.

8.  Glue guns - I have a small one that I actually won like a year ago. And it just sat there because I was scared of it. Then I tried it - and it saved alot of time with some things. Other things, like my domino picture books - not so much. The dominos wouldn't stay together. But it was great for my chenille bump pipe cleaner ornaments. A word of caution:  put something underneath the tip to catch drips. DON'T TOUCH THE TIP WHEN IT'S ON - my index fingers could tell you stories! AND ALWAYS UNPLUG IT!

9.  Save those scraps - paper, cardboard, ribbon/trims, hole punch debris, fabric, junk mail, mismatched game pieces, Happy Meal toys, corks - you name it.  It can all be used on something later. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten up in the morning and hubby has left some unwanted contraption or bits & pieces from something he was fiddling with on the counter with a note: 'I know you can use this somehow'. That just warms my heart....

10.  A paper towel roll is essential. You can roll it over your wet spots to pick up extra ink. The same with baby wipes. AND - *added bonus* - you can dry them out and incorporate them into something else. I've found the most interesting stuff in my trash can after spritzing & spraying & dripping - it's unexpected art. And speaking of spritzing & spraying & dripping....

11.  Cover any areas you don't want spritzed & sprayed & dripped on. Treat your work area like a surgical room - you don't want contamination. I have many bottles & jars & even parts of my arm & exposed leg that can attest to how large the spray zone can get 😃.

12.  If you're embossing or using glitter - and your work space happens to be under the A/C vent - plan accordingly. I've found glitter & embossing powder in my hair for days.

13.  Hit those thrift stores, garage sales, dollar stores, your mom's basement. You can find some really great stuff for all kinds of crafting for real cheap.

14.  Cardboard boxes of varying sizes make great shadow boxes & bases for home decor.

15.  Save your empty plastic containers, like for butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc. They make great containers for small items. Pringle cans can store pipe cleaners, skinny paint brushes, glue gun sticks, etc.

16.  Paint brushes - I am the worst as far as knowledge goes. I use sponge brushes. But I have a variety of different regular brushes for stuff like applying mica powder or getting into cramped areas when painting. I'm not an artist so I don't know the ends and outs of the different sizes & what they're used for - Bob Ross I am not. But maybe someone in Blogland can leave me a comment with more details & I'll publish it!

17.  You can use makeup sponges to dab paint through stencils. Just don't mix them up in your makeup bag 😄. Although, maybe for April Fool's Day...

18.  Organization & storage - Ahahaha....that's a good one.

I know there's a lot more I've forgotten or I'll think of something at 3am and make myself a note to update this post. And remember - if you have some info you'd like to share on this post, drop me a comment. Funny anecdotes that go along with it are always welcomed 👌.

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