I often get asked what my favourite supplies and products are so here is the master list of what I use when crafting. This will be a long post with a lot of links to my preferred suppliers, with affiliate links used when possible at no cost to you!
If you have any questions, or even most welcome suggestions, please do get in touch!
Stamps and Dies
I have too many favourite companies to list here, but my favourite suppliers are listed below. If the company is based in the UK I will generally try to order direct from them, else I will order direct from Seven Hills Crafts. I’ve not had a problem with SHC ever – Tara and Rick are always efficient and friendly and will tell you if they expect a problem with delivery. If the brand is something SHC don’t carry, I will use other UK based companies.
I’m also on the Design Team for Heffy Doodle Stamps, a relatively recent UK-based company, who have some amazingly cute designs!
- Seven Hills Crafts
- Craft Stash
- Dies to Die For
- Bumbleberry Crafts (my go-to for Honeybee Stamps and GinaK in the UK!)
- Amazon (for all the other crafting tools and bits!)
Paper and Cardstock
I use a standard A6 (4.1 x 5.8 inches) card base, either top-folding (portrait) or side-folding (horizontal) for the majority of my cards.
Copic/Alcohol Marker Friendly Cardstock
Alcohol markers need a special kind of paper and ink, otherwise the marker ink will bleed across your images. I’ve tried many different types of paper and I think we all have to experiment in order to find the paper we love the most! Here are a few of the papers I like:
- Make it Colour Cardstock. This one is great for when you have a lot of ink layering. Elaine (@MarkerGeek) sells it from the UK.
- ClaireFontaine DCP Paper. I like this in the 210gsm weight, though it tends to leave some mottling marks if you layer on the ink too much. It also disintegrates if you splash any moisture on the surface, so be careful not to ruin your cards!
- Neenah Classic Crest Solar White. This is popular in the US, though in the UK we can only get it in small and expensive packs. Bumbleberry’s have recently started selling this in bulk. There is also a Desert Storm kraft cardstock version of this super smooth paper.
- PaperMillDirect Super Smooth White Card. This is a recent find and I’m still trying it out. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I use Winsor and Newton Cotman water colour paper for the majority of my water colouring as it is cheap and readily available in UK high street shops like The Works or the Range for a decent price. I generally use the cold pressed paper as it has a finer grain (less surface texture) and I have it in a range of paper weights. It isn’t true white and looks creamy when paired with the Neenah cardstock if left uncoloured, but I find it can cope with lots of water layers. Distress Inks also blend well on this paper. I haven’t yet managed to get a piece of this paper through my printer, no matter the paper weight, but I haven’t given up hope!
I do occasionally bring out the Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Cardstock for some select project.
Other Speciality Papers
Since the Zig Clean Colour Real Brush Markers (and the other subsequent brands) were released, everyone has been raving about the Strathmore Bristol Smooth Board. The Zigs blend really smoothly on this paper – I think it is coated, causing the ink to pool on the surface and giving you extra time to blend. I’ve experimented with water colours and Distress Inks on this paper and as long as you are careful with how much water you put down, you get good results. This one is a little harder to source in the UK but there are a few sellers on Amazon that supply it.
I use Copic Markers to colour the majority of my stamped images. I did start off with Spectrum Noir markers, though I quickly found the colour options and the nibs limited in what I wanted to do with them. I have a mixture of Copic Ciao and Copic Sketch markers – these are essentially the same marker, though the Sketch holds more ink and has the name engraved on the lid. Although you can get the big packs on Amazon, I usually order my markers individually in blending groups from Cult Pens.
Here are a number of handy links related to Copic markers:
- Sandy Allnock’s Hex Chart. I find the standard colour charts really hard to use, so Sandy re-arranged them by colour hue instead of name. I use this on a daily basis to help me select markers. It also allows you to see at a glance which colours you have and don’t have!
- Kit and Clowder Colour Charts. Alyce has created a good selection of colour charts and comparisons amongst the various brands of markers.
- Sandy Allnock’s Favourite Blending Groups. This is a very good place to start if you’re looking for a new colour combination.
When at home, I store my markers in a DIY marker cubby in my Ikea Kallax unit made with some foam board and a glue gun. It’s not perfect but it does the job! I keep my hex chart down the side. When I’m on the move or at a craft show, I have some carry cases that fit perfectly. I have two of them – one that holds 122 pens and one that holds 80 pens – in a really pretty teal!
Copics are refillable and you can change the nibs when they get worn out – Sandy Allnock has some great tips on Copic marker maintenance. I usually save mine up and clean the lids and refill every other month or so. It’s a mucky job!
Alcohol Marker Classes
- Kit and Clowder Colouring Classes. Most of what I initially learned with Copic markers was learnt from Alyce’s classes. She is a really good teacher and has a few basic fundamental classes (Skin & Hair, Animals, Clothing) and also has a monthly class. If you do sign up, let her know that I referred you!
- Art-Classes.com. This is a recent sign up for me but Sandy has some fantastic courses that really explain how to use (and abuse!) your Copics.
I’ve recently changed my watercolour palette after purchasing Sandy Allnock’s Watercolour Jumpstart class. I used to use my Kuretaki Gansai Tambi 36 set but now I use tubes and make up my own palette. I use the Meeden 48 half pan palette with my paint tube collection I’ve managed to accumulate over the years.
If they’re a little old or dry, I just add some glycerine to the pan and mix in before it dries. This avoids the cracking in the pans, though some of my tubes were low quality so I can’t avoid it completely.
I created a swatch card on some watercolour paper (though there is one row backwards that I haven’t yet sorted!) and laminated it. When my palette gets low, I just refill the pans and leave to dry for a couple of days.
For those times when I don’t want to get my watercolour paints out and I need something quicker than my Copics, I use my Kuretake Clean Color Real Brush Watercolour Brush Pens. I have the 60 pack and I purchased a few singles. The colours shown on the bottom of the pens are not really representative, so I swatched my own, hole punched them and stuck them to the lids.
I use both the original Distress Inks and the Distress Oxide Inks in my projects. I have most of the original Distress Inks in the mini cubes, which I keep in the tins organised by colour family. The mini blending foams fit nicely on the bottom of the cubes.
The mini cubes haven’t yet been realised for the Distress Oxides so I have the bigger pads stored in my ink unit for my Ikea Kallax. Laser Smith UK makes some really good units!
I have the Lawn Fawn mini dye ink cubes. They come in a number of sets and I store them in the same storage tins I store my Distress Ink cubes.