I have compiled a list of what I consider craft essentials for any craft cupboard, or a craft room if you are lucky enough to have one.
After experiencing lockdown last year when we couldn’t go out to the craft shops, I was very grateful for the crafting supplies I had in my cupboard. I still managed to make many cool adult crafts whilst stuck at home.
With the right crafting tools and a few essential materials, there are so many wonderful things you can make by repurposing and upcycling the stuff around you. Like these cardboard Christmas craft ideas.
To help keep down costs and save on waste, my friends and I often pool and share our more expensive crafting tools. Such as electric staple guns and sanders, which are handy crafting tools, but are used infrequently. It makes more sense to share them.
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1. Craft Essentials – Adhesives
Most of my crafts involve adhesive of some kind, from glues to tape. To stick materials such as paper, fabric, ceramics and wood. These are the ones I would recommend in any craft cupboard.
- A hot glue gun – Being a professional crafter the one I personally use is a cordless Ryobi glue gun. However, cheaper corded glue guns work just as well.
- Mod Podge – I buy large tubs as I use this with so many crafts from decoupage, to paper mache. Mod Podge can also be bought in so many different formulas from Matte to gloss, dishwasher proof to outdoor.
- Superglue – This is great for when a stronger adhesive is needed such as when fixing ceramics together, like with these tile planters. I personally like the Gorilla brush & nozzle super glue as it is very easy to apply.
- Double sided sticky tape and tabs, this is particular useful with paper crafts and for mounting objects.
- Masking tape – not only as an adhesive tape but also to be used to protect areas when painting.
2. Cutting Tools
As well as sticking things together with crafting you also often need to cut things apart.
- Scisssors – You can never have too many pairs of scissors, I have paper cutting scissors, fabric scissors and strong scissors that can cut through plastic bottles and tin cans. Don’t let anyone use your fabric scissors for cuting anything other than material, especially paper as they blunt them.
- Paper cutting knife and mat.
- Box cutter knife
- Rotary cutter – great for cutting fabric and paper quickly.
3. Basic Sewing Essentials
A sewing machine is a wonderful craft tool to have but can be an expensive outlay for something that you may not use that often. If you think you will only need a sewing machine infrequently, then I recommend borrowing one from family or friends.
Also, you can often pick up decent second-hand sewing machines from garage sales and thrift shops. My own sewing machine was passed to me by my mother and is Bernina Record 730. It is over 50 years old, weighs a ton but handles heavy fabrics like denim really well. You can still buy these brilliant Berninas second hand on eBay.
I don’t just use a sewing machine for stitching fabric but I also use it for sewing on paper.
Hand sewing Essentials
- Selection of needles in various sizes
- Cotton threads
- Embroidery threads
- Seam ripper and unpicker – this is an essential for both machine and hand stitched crafts. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made a stitching mistake and have had to unpick everything. Seam rippers are essential for denim upcyclers, they are great for removing the waistbands and seams of old jeans for crafting with.
4. Craft Cupborad Essentials – Pens, Paint & brushes
There are so many paints to choose from when crafting. As well as my usual supply of acrylic art paints, I use leftover household paints for crafting. I particularly like to use test pots from the DIY/home stores, these often work out cheaper than expensive branded craft paints.
- Selection of brushes for applying paint, glue and varnishes. Foam brushes are particularly good for decoupage.
- Sharpie pens – I use these with so many crafts from drawing out templates to colouring in shrinky dinks.
- Acylic paint pens – Good for writting on fabrics like denim or hard surfaces, such as rocks and ceramics.
4. Varnishes and finishes
Finished craft projects can be protected with various varnishes and finishes. With some projects, such as paper mache a final coat of Mod Podge would provide enough protection. Other times, such as when making DIY tile coasters, a more waterproof varnish is needed.
5. Other Tools
Other essential crafting tools that are in my craft cupboard:
- Rulers / tape measure
- Rotary tool – I love the Ryobi rotary crafting tool this is such a verstile tool that can be used to cut, sand, buff, drill and engrave with the right attachement. It can even be used to drill holes into glass and cut China plates with the right attachement.
6. Craft Essentials – Materials
Most of the paper and cardboard I use for my crafts is repurposed.
- Newspapers – for paper mache
- Old road maps – very affordable and fun paper to craft with. Many old maps are printed on linen paper which makes it very sturdy and robust.
- Paper napkins – printed napkins are great for decoupage. You can even print your own paper napkins at home.
- Cardboard – When possible I repurpose cardboard packaging from ceral boxes to Amazon packaging, such as with this gingerbread house garland.
My favourite fabrics to use are upcycled fabrics.
- Denim – I keep my old jeans for crafting there are so many things you can make from just one pair of jeans.
- Old wool sweaters – these can be shrunk in the washing machine to make felt for crafting with.
- Tin cans, plastic bottles and tubs – these can be crafted into anything from desk caddies to funky planters.
- Twine – I especially love the Nutscene coloured twines.
There are many more things in my craft cupboard beside the essentials. It’s so easy to get carried away when buying crafting supplies and end up with too much stuff.
Much of the storage solutions I use to organise my crafting essentials have been craft projects and upcycles in themselves.
Once you have your craft cupboard stocked with essentials then you might want to check out these craft round-ups for inspiration.