This is part of a four part series on making cards. In this part, we’re covering supplies and tools…


A good portion of the upfront cost of starting to make cards is buying tools. While these items are more pricey than the consumable items you need for card making (which we’ll get to in a minute), they are purchased only once and replaced very rarely or only occasionally.

Essential tools for making cards:

If you plan to stamp on cards, you will need:

  • Permanent black ink: I suggest Jet Black StazOn
  • Waterproof Black ink: My personal favorite is VersaFine Onyx Black
  • VersaMark ink: This is a “clear” semi-sticky ink that once stamped looks like a watermark, or just slightly darker than the color of the paper it’s stamped on. It can also be used with heat embossing.
  • Baby wipes: For use in cleaning your stamps. Just wipe over the surface and clean off any ink.
  • Stamp cleaner: I suggest Hero Arts Ultra Clean stamp cleaner. It will take off not only StazOn ink, but other stubborn colors as well. Plus, it’s safe on clear stamps. After applying some of the stamp cleaner to your stamp, simply wipe it off with a baby wipe.
  • Clear blocks in assorted sizes or something to mount clear stamps on: For use in mounting clear (photopolymer stamps). OR I recommend the Fiskars Compact Stamp Press.
  • NOTE: Ink will stain clear stamps. It’s unavoidable. But remember that no one but you sees the stained stamp. The person who receives the card you made won’t have any idea that the stamp was stained. :)

Additional tools to add your arsenal:


Consumable items are the things that you will purchase more frequently. They are things that are generally only used once.

  • Card stock for card bases & stamping: I suggest starting out the basic colors of white, ivory or cream, and kraft (a neutral brown color).
  • Patterned paper: It’s completely up to you what patterned paper you buy, if any. 6×6 paper pads are great for cardmakers.
  • … any other paper items like die-cuts, etc.

Here’s a great video from Dawn McVey where she not only shows you some tips for tying ribbon, but how to keep it attached to the spool until you’re ready to cut. This saves you ribbon and means you’ll throw away less.

Watch video below | Watch at Youtube


These are items that are not essential tools, but do last longer than consumable items.

  • Stamps: To start your collection, begin with a stamp set of sentiments for multiple occasions.
  • Dies / Digital Die-cutting Machines: These are some of the most expensive items. While fun to use, they are not essential and purchasing can be postponed.


Some of the items above can be expensive and hard to find, especially if you live in a rural area or outside the US and Canada. I would suggest ordering just the essential tools online and perhaps looking into digital scrapbooking supplies for patterned paper, etc. With digital kits, you can download the patterned paper and print it out using your home computer. Sometimes it’s cheaper that way.

Also, be creative. Use supplies you have on hand (i.e. newspapers, magazines). Repurpose fabric and scraps of ribbon. Above all, just have fun!


Next up in Part 3, we’ll be exploring Stretching Your Supplies / Planning Ahead.


Cardmaking 101