Thursday, May 1, 2008

My favourite tools

I've been wanting to do this for a long time, after first seeing a favourite tools post on Cicada Daydream's blog. So here it is - finally! I spend a lot of time in my workspace and it is thanks to these tools that make my work a little easier, that I can be really productive.

Jewellery making:
Awhile back I wrote about my new Lindstrom pliers that I use when making jewellery. Still loving them, although my favourites are now the fine tipped round-nose and the OHM bent-nose pliers. The grip on these is great.

My indispensable tools when working with paper are definitely my Dahle rotary paper cutter, Olfa craft knife and my trusty bone folder.

1- This rotary cutter is one of the best investments I've made - this isn't the exact model I have but it makes life so much easier when you have large sheets of paper to cut, and large amounts of it! I've been using it steadily for almost three years now and the original blade is still going strong.
2- The little Olfa craft knife is great for cutting smaller pieces and for cutting out shapes from larger pieces of paper; I use these in my craft classes so I've got lots of them!
3- Oh how I love my bone folder! Great for folding cardstock (although I tell craft class students to use the underside of a spoon, or a butter knife handle), but I use it constantly for burnishing paper that is being glued to cards, or applied to clay for pendants (gets any air bubbles out). Also wonderful for making crisp origami folds.

Polymer clay:
My gotta-haves for polymer clay are definitely my pasta roller and an assortment of tools for handling small pieces of clay.

1- My Marcato pasta roller never makes noodles. It's permanently clamped to the edge of my clay work table and conditions all my clay, and rolls it into even sheets for pendants and sushi platters. Although the motorized ones are more pricey, a good quality manual one is around $35 to $50 (my husband says the cranking of the roller sounds like a medieval torture device); if you work with polymer clay on a regular basis, this is your wisest investment.
2- I've got a bunch of small detail tools that I like to use, some from the dollar store like this needle poker thingy, that's great for poking holes or making little indentations in uncured clay.

If you thought the other two tools look remarkably like dental hygienist's tools, it's because they are! And yes, they are sterlized! They're great for placing and positioning tiny pieces of clay, and for scraping off imperfections from cured clay; these tools' edges have blades that clean tartar off your teeth, and since the hygienists change them the minute the blades are less than perfect, they end up sending tons of these tools back for recycling. So I'm sure most dentists will just give them to you for free. I've got a whole set of them - love them!

Not pictured are my assorment of surgical blades for cutting into clay, which I use all the time. I try to mark the top, unsharp side of the blade to avoid cuts, although I forget sometimes!

There you have it - my most indispensable tools of the trade(s)...


High Desert Diva said...

I saw a paper cutter similar to that at Goodwill a couple years ago and am still kicking myself for not getting it!

The pasta!

Anonymous said...

So much fun! You and I have many of the same tools... My bent nose and needle nose pliers are my absolute favorite, and I also have a pasta machine for poly-clay as well as a paper cutter... heheee.

*sigh* Isn't crafting fun?!


Anonymous said...

It took me a while to get my Lindstrom pliers, just kept putting off the investment. I can't imagine living without them now! So comfortable! So much better for chainmaille. Hooray happy pliers!

picciolo said...

what in interesting insight into how you work, I love your use of the pasta machine!
: )

Sarah McBride said...

YES YES YES! Pasta Roller and Paper cutter ARE the best things in life arent they?
i cant imagine life without either of those!