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Essential Equipment Shopping List

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Only a few basic items of equipment are required to undertake a wide variety of rubber stamping projects. This is a list of some of the most useful items for a novice stamper's work box, with suggestions for alternatives given where appropriate. These supplies can be purchased from your local craft store or bought online (Compare Prices.

1. Scissors

A good pair of all purpose of scissors will be extremely useful to a rubber stamper. Keep scissors used for cutting paper and cardstock separate from other scissors. Using scissors for household tasks might result in nicking the blades which will result in an uneven cut.

A couple of pairs of different sized scissors will be useful. A large pair of scissors will make cutting large pieces of paper a breeze, while small pointed scissors are ideal for fine work.

Alternatives: There are alternatives to scissors, but a good pair of scissors should be regarded as a priority. A carefully torn edge can add interest to a project, whereas a craft knife can be used to cut out intricate shapes.

2. Craft Knife

A craft knife is a versatile tool. This is a small knife with an extremely sharp changeable blade. The blades need to be regularly changed as blunt blades will start to drag at the paper rather than give a smooth cut.

A craft knife needs careful handling and should be stored away from the reach of children and pets.

Alternatives: A small pair of sharp scissors.

3. Cutting or Self Healing Mat

A cutting or self healing mat provides a durable non-slip surface for repetitive cutting without mess or harm to the knife edge while protecting the work surface from damage. 'Self healing' means that the surface offers a perfect cutting environment every time without the danger of a knife blade becoming diverted on an old cut. This is useful a useful partner to a craft knife.

Alternatives: A piece of thick card on top of a pile of old newspapers will make an adequate base to work on. However after prolonged use you may find that your blade 'tram lines' in old cuts.

4. Ruler

A ruler is extremely useful for measuring and placing stamps. There are two broad types of ruler that are best for rubber stamping projects. A transparent ruler is ideal for placing over designs, clearly allowing the paper underneath to be seen. A metal ruler is useful both to measure and also as a straight edge for cutting.

Alternatives: Metal tins or plates might make a useful edge for cutting different shapes, although care should be taken.

5. Folding Bone

A folding bone is useful for making cards and other projects where a lot of folding is required. It can be used to both score and fold card. Different sized folding bones are available and, while they are sometimes sold in a pack, a single medium sized folding bone will meet most needs.

Alternatives: A metal ruler or an old butter knife.

6. Heat Gun

A heat gun or a heat source is necessary for embossing and for setting some stamping inks.

Alternatives: While it is possible to use other heat sources, it is worth investing in a proper heat tool if many embossing projects are planned.

7. Other Items

There are numerous other items that are useful to have. These aren't essential, however these are the types of items that might be found around the house and are worth keeping to one side.

Paintbrushes, small containers (for storing embossing powders, embellishments and general odds and ends), sponges, cotton wool or cotton buds, soft cloths.

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