It always starts with something small. You get a glue gun here, you buy some glitter there, an “ooh that would make a wonderful addition to my center piece” statement or a “I wonder how I can use that” question and now, you have encroached a space in your home in which no one can lay claim to. You have created a monstrousity of a haven in which you never venture out of except when finding more supplies to fill up the smallest space you find. Welcome to your studio or in this case, mine.
As I have taken over my dinner table, I have been able to streamline most of my activities into these main categories:
- DIY and Craft
- Look at me. I am an Artist.
One of my hobbies is to surf through the internet (let’s be honest here, Pinterest) looking for inspiration, which is why I am surrounded by many supplies. Because of how available paper is to me, I quickly learned how to recycle paper and use it in most of my projects, products and art. But I don’t use it alone.
So, here is my top ten list of must have tools in my work space.
1. Glue: Elmer’s glue is a constant in my studio. I do make my own papermache paste when tackling bigger works but even then, I still add some white glue into the mix to give me what I need.
2. Wire: This is what I use to build armatures for my figurines. There are different strengths and thickness to wires. If you would like have an armature that doesn’t bend over easily, It is best to look for the lesser gauge numbers. For example, the 16 gauge wire would have more strength than the 24 gauge wire. I once went for a sculpting class in which the artist used those wire clothing hangers and they worked perfectly as they could carry the weight of the molding clay we used. I do also wrap my armatures with masking tape to reduce their contact with my moist paperclay so that no funny business goes on while I work on a sculpture.
3. Ziplock bags: To keep my freshly made paperclay moist and moldable. This way, I can make a good amount of clay and store for later use in the fridge without it coming in contact with food though during the winter, it tends to stay on my table as the cool air keeps it from drying.
4. Paint: what can you do without paint? I use different types of paint for my work and they range from acrylic paint to enamel paint. There is a variety of paint in the market like the Martha Stewart Line and the Apple Barrel Line, but I personally, have used FolkAcrylic paint and it has been wonderful to my work especially their metallic line. Decoart is also a great alternative as they have a great variety of colors as well.
5. Varnish/ Sealer: to protect the end product to avoid moisture getting in as it is made from paper. The two main ones I use in my studio are Duraclear Varnish and Varathane Water Based OutDoor Varnish. Duraclear I use mainly for jewellery projects as though worn, they are usually handled with more care and also, it is a line used by other jewellery designers. Varathane is used for my bigger projects like Nothing New Under the Sun and more as it is used to protect both indoor and outdoor surfaces. It helps to ensure the longevity of my works without them yellowing or moisture seeping in.
6. Sculpting tools: These a great addition to my work as they help in various projects like my jewellery and sculpting. I easily make things I find around me as tools like toothpicks, skewers, old credit cards, old brushes and forother artists, dollar store dentist sets, but it is great to have sculpting tools in your arsenal.
7. Glue gun: I believe that a glue gun was one of my first craft tool purchase ever. And after many conquests and battles, she is still waxing strong. This is an important purchase so get one that suits your needs as well as the glue sticks. Don’t forget the glue sticks.
8. Jewellery pliers: Also one of my first purchases and they too have kept my studio alive. As my journey into the arts started with making jewellery, jewellery pliers are always around me. I use them as well to bend and cut wires in making my armatures, fixing and making wire jewellery and more. The round nose plier, the cutter and the bent nose plier are some I would recommend to have in your stash.
9. Masking tape: Everytime I find that my masking tape has gone halfway, a tiny panic sets in. So I tend to get more than one on an art supply run. I use it alot in my studio for taping down paintings, making clean lines in a painting, a quick layer for my armature wires, a snatcher of glue gun webs and a protector of my pinkie when cutting through a shipping box for project parts.
10. Cutters: You can never go wrong having cutters. As of now, I have 2: a box cutter and a craft knife cutter. The box cutter is for the heavy duty cutting, when I cut out parts for a project from shipping boxes. The craft knife cutter is for delicate materials and more fine cutting like for leaves, patterns and more. A popular one is the X-acto knife.
There are other tools I use but these are the major big timers for me. If you are just starting your journey down the artistic path, whether crafter, fashionista, artist, have a look through and see what you can add to your studio to make the best working space for you.
Have a great one.