Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Scrapbooking Top 10

I was talking with a friend recently who mentioned that she really wants to start scrapbooking, but feels overwhelmed with all of the products on the market. With this in mind, I put together a list of my top 10 favorite tools and supplies!

1. Camera

It all starts with a photograph! I have a Nikon D90 digital SLR. I love it, and I don't mind that it's kinda big and bulky. It takes amazing pictures, and it goes everywhere with me. SLRs aren't for everyone, though. Many people prefer the portability of digital point and shoot cameras. You can get beautiful pictures these little guys, or even with your cell phone!

2. Computer

Where else are you going to store all those beautiful photographs?! I made the switch from pc to Mac several years ago, but either can handle the task of photo organization, editing and storage.

3. Printer

I guess that you could get by without a printer - there are many online photo labs that allow you to upload your digital images for printing, but I like to print my own photos at home. The Epson Stylus Photo R1900 is my printer of choice! It's a large format printer made especially for printing photographs. It produces prints with amazing color and clarity, and I use mine daily.

4. Paper Trimmer

Every scrapbooker needs a paper trimmer to accurately cut photos and card stock. For years I used an inexpensive, readily available portable paper trimmer manufactured by Fiskars. This trimmer, and others like it, can be purchased at Walmart, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, etc. I wasn't always happy with the cuts that this trimmer produced - I often got uneven, imprecise lines. A few years ago, I upgraded to what I consider the ultimate in paper trimmers - the Genesis! It even has an optional side light that illuminates the cutting edge so that you can see exactly where your cut is going to be. It is fabulous!

5. Cardstock

I never create a layout without it! My favorite manufacturer is American Crafts. Their high-quality, textured card stock is available in single sheets, or in bulk, in black, white, and just about every color you might imagine. I can't get enough of it!

6. Scissors

You really should have a pair of sharp, short-bladed scissors for making tiny, intricate cuts. Micro-tip Fiskars are my favorite, and have been since I started scrapbooking in 1999. I use mine so frequently that I dull the blades and have to purchase a new pair every few months.

7. Adhesives

Preferences in adhesives vary widely amongst scrapbookers and paper artists. I've tried a variety over the years - from glue sticks and pens back when the industry was new, to glue dots and liquid adhesives today. I keep several bottles of mono multi and dispensers of mini glue dots on my desk top at all times!

8. Cricut Expression 2

The Cricut Expression 2 is one of several models of electronic, personal die cutting machines manufactured by Provo Craft. Cricut die cutters do not require a computer, which makes them portable for on the go scrappers, but do require cartridges, which range in price from $20 to $60. The cartridges have themed shapes (Christmas, birthday, baby, etc.) that, when plugged into the Cricut, can be sized up to 12"x24", and electronically cut. The Cricut line of die cutting machines has been around for over five years now, and has made a huge impact on the scrapbooking world. The art of scrapbooking has risen to new levels since the introduction of the Cricut machines. Paper is not the only thing that can be cut with a Cricut. Adhesive vinyl used in home decor projects is very popular, and is offered in many colors. Cricut machines can cut fabric, magnet material and thin chipboard. I've used my Cricut to make birthday cake toppers, stars for the walls of my boys' bedroom, banners for church, school projects . . . the list goes on and on!

9. Silhouette Cameo

If you love the Cricut, you will love the Silhouette Cameo! Unlike the Cricut, the Cameo does not require cartridges. It connects to the computer via USB cable (it cannot be used separate from the computer like the Cricut). Silhouette hosts an online store with thousands of images that can be purchased individually. Instead of buying a cartridge that perhaps has only a few shapes of interest to you, you can pick and choose the images you want. Most are $.99 each, but some are as low as $.50, and there is a free shape available for download every week. Also, monthly subscriptions are offered at big savings. For example, I chose the $20/month, one year subscription. Each month, I can download 100 images of my choice for $20. Can't beat that deal! The Cameo is capable of making very clean, precise, intricate cuts. Silhouette makes heat transfer material, which can be used to cut out images that can then be ironed onto fabric. Imagine custom t-shirts for your little ones, ball caps, tote bags, aprons, baby bibs, onuses, throw pillows, pillow cases . . . it's all so good!

10. Craft Desk

I've been scrapbooking for over 13 years now, and it's only in the last several years that I've had a dedicated space in which to work. Before I got my desk, I made do with the dining room table, the kitchen counter, the floor, my bed - practically any horizontal surface I could find! If you have room for a desk, this one from Target is great! There is a very similar desk offered by Pottery Barn, but the one on Target's website is half the price.

The art of scrapbooking is highly personal. My absolute favorite "celebrity" scrapbooker (why yes, that would be the one and only Cathy Zielske) doesn't own a Cricut or a Cameo. She is a photo/adhesive/cardstock kinda gal, and her work is brilliant. What works for one might not necessarily work for another. Have fun finding what works for you!

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