I use different materials in my DIY projects and art creations. Sometimes what I use is a matter of what's on hand, but when I have a choice, there are go-brands and products I love most. Here's the list.
Favorite Craft and Art Materials:
- Black ink drawing pens – Microns all the way! I've tried a dozen different black ink pens, but Microns, size .03, are my #1 choice for sure. This variety pack will give you a great selection of pens to try to see which size you prefer.
- Watercolor pencils – I love the Crayola Water Color Pencils and Faber-Castell (these pencils have a great grip texture on them)
- Blending markers – Tombow – The Bright Tombow marker set is my favorite. The Tombow 96 color pen set is dreamy!
- Gel pens – Sakura – there are so many different sets, it's hard to choose just one. Gelly Rolls are the best and come in a variety of colors and types (glitter, vs standard vs opaque, etc.)
- Rainbow gel pens – The Write Dudes
- Craft Glue – Aleene's Tacky Glue – I love all of the Aleene's glues
- Fabric Glue
- Paper – Neenah – the Sundance line (linen, felt and smooth) – This is specifically for white paper that I print on. The felt text and cardstock weight papers are fantastic, print well and can endure a lot of art making. Plus I love the texture of the felt.
- Craft Paint – I work with both DecoArt and Plaid products. They each have great lines of craft paint in a variety of formulas and colors. Plaid seems to have more home decorate focused paint options while DecoArt offers a great selection of artist quality paints. Each company has lines of Chalk paint as well as multi-surface paint. DecoArt also have a great line of metallics, fabric and patio paints.
- Fabric Paint – I LOVE Tulip fabric paints and fabric pens. The fabric pens are my favorite! Tulip also has a great selection of tie dye kits that are easy to use bold colors.
- Cricut Explore and Cricut Air – along with all the Cricut products, especially the Cricut pens!
- Crop-a-dile – this is an amazing tool for punching holes in a variety of materials… not just paper. It also sets eyelets (great for pretty paper projects!). There are two sizes, the standard Crop-a-dile and the Big Bite Crop-a-dile. I use the larger one the most.
- Scissors – My goto scissors are the 8″ Amplify Fiskars Mixed media shears and Tonic Studios Tim Holtz scissors… they cut through aluminum cans so easily! I use both of these scissors regularly. The Fiskars are a great general purpose scissor while the Tonics are perfect for hard to reach cuts.
- Hot Glue gun – Adtech or Surebond – These glue guns are the easiest to use.
Hardware and Equipment
Much of my work is created directly on the computer. I start the process right on screen. Here are the tools I use for that process…
- My computer – MacBook Pro – I've been using a Mac for work since the beginning of my business creation. I've been using an Apple computer since tape drives were the storage device of choice. Update! I just updated my computer and am now using an iMac (aways an Apple girl). This is the first time in over 10 years I've used a desktop vs a laptop. I'm still adjusting.. I can't just pick up my work and sit out on the deck.. but I am loving this computer!
- UPDATE: I used a Macbook pro for years but recently upgraded my setup. Now I have an 21.5″ iMac for my office and a 11″ Macbook air for travel (it fits perfectly on an airplane seat-back tray!). I love them both. Sometimes, I work from the couch or the deck instead of the desk and the laptop makes it easy to move around the house for different projects while the iMac offers a much larger screen for more detailed work.
- Wacom Bamboo Touch tablet – I've tried variations of tablets, this is by far my favorite for the ease of use and the cost. When I travel I used a Wacom small tablet. It fits right on top of my laptop keyboard.
- Logitech wireless mouse – don't bother working if there are wires all over the place. With the tablet, I don't need a fancy optical mouse.
- Adobe CS6 – Illustrator and Photoshop – I use both software packages daily. I do most of my line work in Illustrator and much of the coloring in Photoshop. I like the combination of the styles and techniques. I haven't yet tried the new Adobe monthly option, it does sound like a great choice vs the giant software purchases I've made in the past.
Note: I have not yet upgraded to the Adobe subscription service. I'll let you know when I move to the new platform. for now, this set up works great for me and it's been paid in full for years. If I didn't have the software yet, I'd absolutely go with the subscription because Adobe products are AMAZING!
- HP Photosmart 5520 – great color printer all-in-one. I bought this printer while at a conference instead of paying for color copies on the road. It's done a great job for me and I love that it includes a wireless network connection option.
- UPDATE: I still have the PhotoSmart. But I now also have an all in one HP Envy 5660 and an HP Laser Jet 1109w. I like to print stuff.
As I think of other things or find new favorites, I'll update my list!