24 February 2010

Helpful Tools

Here is a whole range of tools and accessories I've collected over the years when doing all my DIY projects.

Hope it helps.

But don't go out and buy everything at once. Each time I post a Project, I will try to make sure all the tools you need for the job are listed under a photograph before we move into the instructions.

I have some POWER tools - love POWER tools! Sometimes I think I can be a bit of a boy.

Anyway, shown here is a Hot Glue Gun (middle)- about $16 from Bunnings, has a stand and you can use it either plugged in or not - very handy, and if it breaks, reasonably cheap to replace.

Next is a Staple Gun (back). This one was a Christmas present would you believe! Ask and ye shall receive. It's a good one, has a separate rechargeable battery and several pressure settings for the staple impact.

Lastly, a handy little rechargeable Cordless Screwdriver (front) with many attachments. Fits in the palm of your hand. Pretty good for most things. Doesn't really like putting IKEA flatpacks together though, not enough POWER!

Adhesives - so many on the market. Here is just a few I had handy to take a photo of. Notice the Hot Glue gun making another appearance.

Spray Glue - 3M Multipurpose (back) is the best on the market, in my opinion. The Bostik one pictured was an emergency purchase and is OK for paper and lighter things, but I use the 3M for Wallpaper Art and heavier materials. You have to be extremely careful with this glue! Once it sticks, IT STICKS!! You can end up with a tragedy and have to start all over again.

Tapes - Double sided tapes (front right) are great and come in different widths and there is a new 'heavy duty' one. There are masking tapes and other types of tapes at places like Bunnings, but for artwork/craftwork I prefer to buy from a specialist store like

Packing tape, clear (front left) or brown is good to seal off Screens when screenprinting. Clear is better I find. If you use the brown shiny packing tape, and leave it on too long, the adhesive will stay.

Magic Tape is a removable tape, great for setting out pieces for collages before you glue them down, or anything else you need to put in place before it's afixed. Eventhough it's magic tape, still be careful when removing it, and if you leave it for too long, it will leave a sticky residue on some surfaces.

Glues (middle) - Aquadhere (timber), Tacky Glue (craft), Stick Glue (papers) - best to read what they are good for when purchasing to see if you can use them for a few different projects. Some of them aren't cheap.

I've added
Decoupage Finish (middle) as it is also a type of glue - glues and seals cutouts on to objects. I have an old foot last I am going to cover with some decorative paper using this. Hope to feature it in a while as a little project.

One other GREAT product is JAC Paper which I didn't have available to put in the picture, sorry. You can get it in large pieces and small, I usually buy the A3 size. Again I go to Eckersleys to get this.

It's double sided PAPER and you use it like double sided tape, but you can do big areas. Be careful with it though when you are using it, as it can get stuck fast and you have to start again, a bit like Spray Glue. I've recently had what we'll call 'an incident' with both of these. Not funny!!

JAC paper is costly when you have to replace it AND what you were sticking.

JAC paper ranges in price depending on what size you buy. Eckersleys sells it in A4, A3 and A1 (I think). Also try not to fold it, keep it flat or rolled (for the larger pieces) when storing it.

Cutting Tools - I always live by the rule that you should have good cutting tools. Actually REALLY GOOD cutting tools. They are the one thing that can make or break your project from the start.

Pictured are a few types of cutting blades. I use Celco, you can get them from any Art/Craft store. I've recently found some Stanley versions that look really robust. They are next on my Christmas wish list!!

Stanley Knives are great to have in your kit. Remember with all of these types of cutting implements, you MUST keep a sharp blade in them. The Celco ones snap off using the tool attached to the end. Stanley knives have double ended replaceable blades. If the blade isn't cutting smoothly or it takes a couple of times to cut through - change your blade.

Scissors - having a sewing background, I have always had a solid and sharp pair of scissors. Klasse is the brand of the silver dressmaking scissors pictured. I have shears and pinking shears in this brand also - you know, pinking shears are the ones that give you the zig-zag edge!

The last 3 items are FISKARS - a small pair of pointy nosed scissors (left), a small pair of embroidery scissors and a shape cutter.

Rulers - metal rulers are a must also. They give a sharp straight edge and your sharp cutting blades won't cut into the edge like they will with a plastic ruler. Plastic rulers are good for pencils and pens etc, but if you are cutting a straight edge, use a metal one.

Pictured are 15 cm, 30 cm and 1 mtr rulers.

There is a metal square rule and a smaller version with a moveable attachment, this is from a COMBINATION SET. Tradies have these! Told you I was a bit of a boy!

Sewing Basics - Lots of things to keep in a sewing kit, but as a start:

Zippers, Glass headed pins (these are easy to put in and take out, especially if you are a sewing 'apprentice'), Tailors Chalk (in pencils) - great for marking on fabric, Needles (different sizes for different requirements), Tape Measure, Tracing Carbon (waxy type of carbon that will wash out easily) and an Unpicker.

You could go as far to include:

Elastic, Threads (you'll end up with heaps anyway), Tracing Wheel, Rotary Cutter, Cutting Board (large cardboard cutting base, marked with rulers/measurements, folds away). I could go on and on. If you go to the quilting area at a Spotlight Store, you could go crazy.

Miscellaneous - Here's some extras you might consider.

A definite, you have to have a good range of pencils and pens. HB, 2B, Artline pens (have different width tips), Staedtler plastic rubber, a good sharpener - preferably the one for 2 sizes of pencils.

Shape cutters/templates, the orange one is a FISKARS product, the blue one is from a newsagent. A single whole punch is good when you need to make tiny dots for card making for example.

The last 3 things in this photo are a Matt Cutter (photo board/matt), Spray Clear Varnish and stackable/sealable clear plastic containers. You can find these containers in all the craft stores. Handy to store small things, including pins and needles.

Paintbrushes - try to gather a good range of brushes. It'll take a while, and if you buy the Taklon fibre brushes, they last. Some of them aren't cheap though.

A set of Chinese Paint brushes with a guide to using them, techniques and pictures to paint with step by step instructions.

Gesso brushes, these are great for painting background colours on canvas and applying Gesso - Gesso is a canvas primer but you can use it to build structure on a canvas and then paint.

Foam brushes, Sample Pot brushes (pack of 2 for about $5 from Bristol Paint stores, Bunnings and probably just about anywhere), and Stenciling Brushes.

Painting Accessories and Paints - Mixing Palettes, Gesso, Additives (pictured Flow Medium and Structure Gel from the
Winsor & Newton 'Galeria' range), Plastics scrapers, Paint Palette knives (plastic - not pictured), Canson card (to test mixed colours).

Acrylic Paints, Water colours, even Dulux Colour Sample Pots. Some brands I use, Matisse Acrylic - 'Structure' and 'Flow' formulas, Reeves Acrylic and Water Colour - you can find these anywhere, Jo Sonja's Acrylic, Mont Marte - Acrylic and Water Colour, Winsor & Newton - Gouache, and Designer's Gouache. Gouache is a type of Water Colour, designers in a lot of industries use this paint for rendered drawings - Fashion Designers, Architects, etc etc.

Handy other things to have in your kit.

Going back to the cutting utensils, a good cutting board is also a must. This one is A3. I have a couple of others, 2 x A4 and one that is about A3 long but only about 20 cm wide.

Old glass jars or empty vitamin containers to wash your brushes.

Bit of a hint, don't leave your brushes to soak overnight, some types of bristles and handles don't like it.

I've had the paint coating on the handles come off because the water has soaked into the wood under the coating. I learnt that one the hard way and haven't done it again. Try to clean them thoroughly as soon as you have finished, they'll last longer.

I've got a box of those disposable gloves in my kit. They usually get a workout when I'm screenprinting. Not a necessity, in fact I don't use them that much. Depends on how much of a neat freak you are!

Screenprinting - You can buy screenprinting sets from good art stores.

One of the art supplies I frequent is 'Art on King' in Newtown. Small and cluttered but they have most things you need and they know what they are talking about. In Brisbane, I go to
Art Shed in West End.

Papers - Canson Papers and Cards, Tracing Papers (quickest, cheapest and easiest - Baking Paper!!), Graph Paper, Scrapbooking Papers, Photocopying Paper (cheap way to make screenprinting templates). Visual Diary for ideas, drawings and magazine cuttings.

A great way to make carbon/tracing paper - cut a length of Baking Paper and colour one side using a Graphite Pencil. It needs to be a Graphite Pencil as this will give the 'Carbon' effect and isn't as messy as using a standard Art Pencil like a 4B.

Graphite Pencils can be purchased at specialty Art Stores - I use a 'Progresso' brand.

Magazines - A girl has to dream! Here are only a few. I cut them up and add pictures to A4 visual diaries. These are my 'Inspirations' books!

Books - Another form of Inspiration.

From my collection - Vintage T-Shirts, Kevin McLeod's Colour Now, Amy Butler's Midwest Modern, the Golden Age of Couture, Ikebana.

Some others are Designer's Guild, a couple of Fashion Design Illustration guides, Drawing and Rendering books, Pattern/Design books - one I bought in Japan in 2008. On my wishlist, V & A Pattern - a set of 4 books with CD's of fabric patterns from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

That should do for now, don't you think ???

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