Friday, January 28, 2011


Welcome to the wonderful addicting world of scrapbooking!

If you want to share the joys that you have discovered in this new passion, to learn more about this craft, to get inspired and to be hooked more, you've come to the right place. ;o)

How I wish someone told me before that I shouldn't have bought everything beautiful I saw online or at the bookstore (one must not hoard!!!!). I wish someone just flatly told me which things I should have bought and which are just "good to have but can be skipped".

I don't claim to be an authority but should a newbie ask me this question: Which tools should I really buy as a newbie scrapbooker? These are my answers:

1) Scissors. Really, you can scrap with the regular ones. Should you want to invest and buy a special pair, I swear by my Fiskars microtip scissors. I couldn't, wouldn't scrap without this. ;o)

2) Adhesives. If we're not gonna tackle the issue of being acid-free, as long as the adhesive can make your photo and embellishments stick to your paper, then you can use it... but we're documenting our legacies here, and we would want them to last a very loooooong time, I say invest and buy the acid-free kind. I have 4 types of adhesives: wet glue (I'll distinguish between glue for paper and for embellishments), dry or the double-sided tape (for paper and ribbons), and foam dots.

Wet glue. I have both Helmar and Tombow acid-free glues, they both do a good job making your paper stick. For adhering embellishments (especially the bulky ones!), I only use UHU glue, period.
I have heard that other scrappers use glue gun in adhering their embellishments, maybe you can use that too. I have a glue gun, yes, but I'm too lazy to plug and too scared to get burned (as I'm too clumsy most of the times), so I don't take them out too often. I guess you can skip the glue gun for the time being, but that's just me. ;o)

Dry adhesive or the double-sided tape. Again, both Helmar and Tombow have these very handy tape runners that come with refills. However, these brands are hard to find locally - - so the Polar Bear brand (available in bookstores, hardwares, department stores) is a good alternative. I haven't checked though if it is indeed acid-free (someone told me it is).

Last year, I gave in and invested on a Scotch ATG gun. I forgot how much I bought it (I think closed my eyes and just clicked "BUY ONLINE"!!!! LOL!!!!) - - let's just say that this baby ain't cheap. It's good to have, but I feel you can go with the handy tape runners that also do the job. This post is dedicated to newbies anyway, right? LOL!!!

Foam dots. Gotta have these babies for dimension on your pages!!!!! Helmar has foam dots of varying "heights", but since this brand is not readily available locally, again, Polar Bear is a good alternative.

Aside from my Helmar Zapdots, I also have my stash of clear dots (for adhering those thin/small cut-outs, so they won't be too obvious) and of 3M foam "Squeezes flat and springs right back!" foam squares (dimension without the bulk, baby!!!!). As this post is for the newbie, I say these two you can skip.... for the time being. ;o)

One can argue and say that the list should end here for newbie scrappers - - but I'm gonna go on, just because I feel strongly for these tools.

3) Paper trimmer. You should have this (even though you can line and cut with scissors) - - promise, it does make scrapbooking easier!!! I have the purple and orange one by Fiskars, it is cheap, handy, portable, easy to use. Does it cut accurately? Errrrr, I don't think there is a trimmer that does exact and precision cutting (or is there?). I have heard that Making Memories' Folding Paper Trimmer is good (comes with self-sharpening blade!!!) but is quite costly. I'm not sure if it does exact, precision cutting (for those of you who have this, what do you think?). Truth is, I initially wanted this for its self-sharpening blade, but I have my Fiskars since 2008 (I think I got it April or May), and I have changed it's blade only thrice (yeah, I think so!) since then. Cost-wise, I'd go with my Fiskars hands down!!!!

4) Craft Mat. I have this one from Fiskars too. Cheap. Simple. Clear. Period. Last year, my brother gifted me with a pink one from EK Success, I haven't used it (as I want to open it when I already have my new scrap room!!!). I guess I was just after the girly color when I requested him to buy it for me. LOL!!!!
5) Tool Kit. I have this from Making Memories - - the paper piercer and the craft knife are my most used tools here but the kit also has eyelet/hole setter, craft hammer, needles, ruler and tweezers. I want my tools "coordinated" so I invested in this one. I say I made a good beautiful (professional-looking) investment. ;o)

6) Paper Distresser. For a "no fuss" distressed look. I have distressers from both Making Memories and Tim Holtz. Both are okay, as to which I feel more strongly about, I guess I'm gonna go with Tim Holtz for ease of handling and for the 7 blade edges.

7) Ink pad. I started with these two sets from Clearsnap (Colorbox) - - the bright and earthy sets. I thought these sets already have the basic shades so I went for them. No regrets there as I wanted to cover the "basics".

How about those from Ranger? The distress ink pads? I loooooovvveeeee those!!!!!!!!! I'm hoarding them (I think I already have more than 20 shades and am bent on getting more!!!!). I highly recommend them - - to "advanced" newbies (I think the "distressed" style of scrapbooking is not a newbie style - - kinda more advanced, don't you think?). Of course, should you want these babies, you have to invest on the blending craft mat, blending tools, and foam pads too. So yeah, I think you must buy these ink pads if you want to go up the next level. ;o)

8) Journaling pen. I am partial to handwriting rather than to typed or printed from the computer. I feel that the page becomes more personalized when you leave your own print or signature on it. Hence, the terms permanent, fade-resistant, blot-resistant and waterproof come to mind. I have a lot of journaling pens - - American Craft, Uniball, Zig - - I say, they are all good so just take your pick.

9) 12" Steel Ruler. When I don't feel like using my paper trimmer, I use my craft knife with the steel ruler to get that straight cut (especially when I use journaling strips on my pages!).

10) Page protectors. Yup, I chose this over the album. I'd panic if I run out of these (I think I'm gonna panic soon!!!) - - I haven't bought a lot of albums yet (as I plan to buy them when I have my scrap room already). Gotta protect your layouts from dust and little kiddie hands. Just consider the size of your layouts (12x12 or 8.5x11 or A4 size) when you invest on these.

So there. I think I covered the "basics". I say I don't consider myself an authority, this is just me and my experience. I just wish I have read something like this when I started. LOL!!!!

Should you have any questions, comments, do let me know. ;o) Did I miss anything else? Did I cover the basics? What do you think? ;o)

Again, welcome newbie!!! Consider me your big sister and friend. I hope we'll get to know more of each other as we share more of our discoveries in scrapbooking!!!

Have fun creating!!!


P.S. This post was fun. I made a new label "Dear Newbie Scrapper" for my blog posts as I hope to do more of this in the future. ;o)

P.S.2. I dedicate this post to Kathleen, Kline and Lei. I am sooo happy to have gained new friends like you because of this passion!!!!


jacque4u2c said...

This is such a great post! So very helpful too! Even for us old timers! ;o)

TeenaBugg38 said...

Great list! The only thing we are in disagreement about is nthe paper distresser.....I use an emery board...yup, the kind that you use for your nails! And Tombow glue totally rocks!!! I can't find Helmar in my area (can you believe it???) Pop dots are also a must but in a pinch you cna use a little clue and some of the foam thickers letters you have left that you can't get rid of...PERFECT for that :) I also save ALL of my packaging....sounds stupid, but ya know what? Makes for a perfect (and free) little mini book!!!

chenguna said...

I think you did a great job. Newbies out there hope you enoyed the read.

Kath Hernandez said...

Thanks so much, Janis! Your post answered a lot of my queries and i need not wonder why my photos doesn't stay glued down long when i use the available acid-free glue at our local bookstore. . . . and other stuff. ;o)

clei said...

JANIS!..thank you thank you for the post!

ur such an angel!

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