I have all these basic tools within easy reach of my crafting desk along with the stamps, ink and paper, something to cut with, and adhesives. I have duplicates of most of these in my Basic Tool Kit that I grab to craft away from home.

Bone Folder

Bone Folder

Always score before creasing and always use a Bone Folder for a smooth crease.

The Take Your Pick Tool

Take Your Pick This one tool helps you pick up sequins and tiny bits of paper, lift a layer that’s not quite right, score (with a small and large ball tip), and pierce. Get your Take Your Pick and refill.


Paper Piercing Tool

Paper-Piercing Tool

Add a row of tiny holes to add a quick and free embellishment. But you can also grab a Glue Dot, Pearl, or Rhinestone with it. Mark a measurement. Gather ribbon. Hold down a corner of your paper. Stick a Glue Dot to the back end and pick up paper embellishments. I always have a Paper-Piercing Tool within easy reach.

Stampin’ Scrub and Stampin’ Mist

Stampin' ScrubStampin' Mist

Keep those stamps clean and conditioned with the Stampin’ Scrub, Stampin’ Mist, and Stampin’ Mist Refill.

Simply Shammy

Simply Shammy The Simply Shammy also cleans stamps, but with just water. It is especially great cleaning stamps on the Stamparatus.



The Stamparatus is a stamp positioner that will help you put your images exactly where you want them. And it can do this over and over. If you are nervous about putting the stamp down, the Stamparatus will give you a steady hand. If you didn’t get your image inked evenly, you can easily add more ink. If you like to make multiple projects, the Stamparatus will make it easy. The Stamparatus has 2 stamping plates that you will use instead of your stamping blocks. It can work with photopolymer or clear-mount stamps. And it also opens up some fun new techniques like making circular images, the “hinge step”, or heat embossing over stamped images.

Grid Paper

Grid Paper

Before I became a demonstrator I thought the Grid Paper was just for demonstrators. Not true! It makes a great stamping surface, the grid helps keep your project lined up, it’s very handing having the ruler right there, plus you can take notes.

Heat Embossing

Heat embossing is magic! You stamp an image. Sprinkle powder on it, heat it, and the image will be raised and shiny. Love it!

Do yourself a favor, and rub your paper with the Embossing Buddy before stamping. It reduces static and fingerprints, so you get the embossing powder just on your stamped image. If you do see any stray dots or smudges, use a dry paint brush before heating.

Put something under your project to collect the extra embossing powder. I usually use a piece of copy paper since my printer is right next to my desk. Coffee filters work well too. The use that to funnel the extra powder back in the tub. You really just use a tiny bit and it lasts a very long time. Some people store their embossing powder in larger plastic storage containers and spoon the powder over their projects with the projects positioned so the extra goes back into the tub.

The Heat Tool looks like a blow dryer, but a blow dryer will blow off the powder and probably wouldn’t get hot enough to melt the embossing powder anyway. You may be able to melt the powder by holding over a 100 W incandescent bulb (if you can find one of those these days!) but it will take longer. You may be able to find something in your kitchen to heat the powder, but typically once something is used for crafts, it’s usually no longer food safe. Buy a Heat Tool. I think the one from Stampin’ Up! is best, but go to a craft store with a coupon if you must.

The VersaMark pad is the usual ink to use for embossing. It’s sticky and takes a bit longer to dry that our Classic Stampin’ pads. It dries clear, leaving the card stock a bit darker, so you can use it to make watermarks.

But if you work quickly, you can use our Classic Stampin’ pads and Clear Stampin’ Emboss Powder and heat emboss in any color.

Other Helpful Tools not from Stampin’ Up!


Paper Sampler

Evernote Not a Stampin’ Up! product, or even really a crafting tool, but I couldn’t design or keep track of my products without it.

My Third Hand, an alligator clip from the electrical department of your hardware store. Clip to hold Ribbon or Baker’s Twine while you concentrate on tying the knot or bow.

Tweezers It doesn’t matter what kind. I have long pointy tweezers at my desk, but it’s often nice to easily hold onto little bits, especially bits with adhesive.

Digital Rulers

Bow Maker









Now that you have your stamps, paper, and ink and you have your cut your paper into card bases, layers, and shapes, you’ll want to stick them together. Stampin’ Up! has several options. You may want to select one, but I use all of them. They each have their purposes and strengths. There is a chart on page 201 in the 2017-2018 Annual Catalog. The chart shows suggested uses for the various adhesives.

The Multipurpose Liquid Glue is strong and allows a bit of time to wiggle a layer to just the right place. You just need a tiny bit. It can squeeze out and while it dries clear, it remains sticky. (If this happens, wait for the glue to dry and then use the Adhesive Eraser.) I always keep my bottles tip down in a little jar so the glue is where I need it. Otherwise, I would need to wait for the glue to move slowly. It’s tempting to squeeze and shake to get it to move quickly. Then when it finally does start to come out, it comes out too quickly and sometimes keeps coming out. What a mess!

SNAIL Adhesive is pretty easy to use. It is basically a double-stick tape without the tape part. The case holds the roll of tape and as you roll it on the paper, the adhesive is laid down along the trail while the tape part rolls back onto another wheel in the case. I used to use it almost exclusively (except for 3-D projects) because it is so quick and easy. Some people find it does not stick well over time. I suspect it depends on the local climate and weather. You can get SNAIL Refills. I still use SNAIL often. I even use it when wrapping gifts.

Tear & Tape is a strong adhesive that comes on a roll of paper. It’s about 1/4″ wide, so it’s very convenient. We used to sell another product that used red plastic instead of the paper. I loved the strength of the adhesive but really hated that red strip!!! It was always full of static. You had to work to pull the strip off the project and then work again to get the static to release it into the trash. I literally cheered out loud when we started carrying Tear & Tape. It works like the “red line” tape but you can just tear off what you need and easily remove the paper strip. I call it TNT because it’s dynamite!

The Fine Tip Glue is a thin adhesive kind of like Super Glue. It is not particularly sticky, so you will need to allow at least of few seconds to dry before your small embellishments and detailed paper cut-outs will stick. You can also apply the glue to the paper and allow to dry for a glossy look to your card stock. Looks great to create glass jars, shiny candy, or dew drops on flowers. Be absolutely sure to cap it tightly as soon as you’re done using this glue. You do not want the glue to dry in the tiny tube tip! There is a wire in the cap that will go into the tube to keep it open. Place this wire against your finger and then use your finger to guide the wire into the tube.

Specialized Adhesives

Stampin’ Dimensionals raise elements up a bit. It’s a rare project that I don’t use Dimensionals somewhere on it. You get 300 in a pack, and that’s not counting the edges which are very useful. They are a very easy and inexpensive way to add a lot to your projects. And now we also carry Mini Stampin’ Dimensionals. We used to have to cut up the regular ones for those small and/or skinny additions and now we don’t have to!
Foam Adhesive Strips came out in the 2016-17 catalog and what a life saver they are for shaker cards! I have bought carpet tape in the past. I had to cut it into narrower strips and it’s not really tall enough. The Foam Adhesive Strips solve all that, plus it’s narrow enough and flexible enough to make curves. It’s very easy to make shaker cards without the confetti escaping! And here’s a tip. Apply the adhesive strips to the Window Sheet, then before adding the confetti, dust your project with the Embossing Buddy. It will reduce static on your Window Sheet and it will also block any adhesive from capturing your confetti. Then finally pull off the strip and adhere the other layer.
Mini Glue Dots work great when you need a tiny instant adhesive. They work great for holding down corners of card stock, larger embellishments, a tag, a bow, or whatever. You can roll them up into a ball to hide behind even a Baker’s Twine bow.
Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets can make it easy to adhere those detailed shapes you cut with your Big Shot and dies. Peel back one side of the backing. Cut the card stock to about the size you need. Stick the card stock to the adhesive sheet, then cut your shape in the Big Shot. Then just remove the backing and it’s like a custom sticker.

Other Tools for Adhesives

Silicone Craft Sheet is helpful when you are sticking tiny strips or other little things. It will keep your work surface clean. The adhesives don’t stick to the Silicone. It’s especially great when using a hot glue gun. If adhesive does stick, just wait for it to dry and flick it off. Or if you have lots of little bits of adhesive, cover the Silicone Craft Sheet with packing tape. When you remove the tape, the Silicone Sheet will be all clean.
Heat Tool What? This isn’t an adhesive! But it does help when you have stuck a paper layer in the wrong place and you can’t gently wiggle it up. Use the Heat Tool to warm whatever adhesive you used. And here’s another helpful tool. I don’t often send my customers to craft stores, but here’s an exception. Go to a craft store and find the section where they sell electronic cutting machines. Look for what they call a spatula. Here’s one on Amazon. Warmed adhesive and a spatula can help you remove the most stubborn oopsies without messing up your card stock. You can also use dental floss to separate that softened adhesive.




The basics are really the stamps, paper, and ink, but you will want to turn those basics into cards and other projects. Stampin’ Up! carries everything from excellent snips, punches, the Big Shot die cutting machine, to punch boards that cut and score envelopes and bags.

Paper Snips

I know you probably have scissors. I thought one pair of scissors is just like another until I tried these. I can cut detailed images much easier with these sharp, pointed snips. Definitely worth the price! Now I have these snips in my Basic Tool Box that I take to craft away from home so I don’t have to settle for cutting with other scissors.


Stampin’ Trimmer

The Stampin’ Trimmer is one of those essential tools that I think you will want. There are other trimmers on the market. I love that the one from Stampin’ Up! can cut and/or score a full sheet of 12″ x 12″ paper or card stock and yet is small enough to tuck away. The numbers on the trimmer itself are very easy to see and do not wear off like some other brands (and frankly the older Stampin’ Up! trimmer.)

Shop for the Trimmer and accessories

Cutting and Scoring Card Bases and Layers

Click here for the charts with various card bases and layers and for the cutting plans.

Simply Scored

I didn’t spot a video just about the Simply Scored tool, but here is one showing a project that can be made with it. And you’ll find lots of projects that I’ve posted that I’ve relied on the Simply Scored tool.

Shop Simply Scored


This video was published in 2010 when the “new style” punches first came out. Many of the punches shown have been retired, but it shows basic information about how to use this style of punch. There are more current videos about specific punches. Here are links to videos about the Festive Flower punch, the Fox Builder punch, the Bow Builder punch, the Blossom Builder punch, and the Scallop Tag Topper Punch.

Shop Punches

Big Shot

It took me quite a while to decide to invest in this costly product. Stampin’ Up! is making more and more Framelits and Thinlits that coordinate with stamps. Now I have to work at designing projects without it for new customers. I think you are going to want a Big Shot!

Big Shot – The Basics

Framelits can be tricky to match with some stamped images. If you are using a nearly symmetrical image, mark your stamp and the matching position on the Framelit. The Wondrous Wreath stamp and Wonderful Wreath Framelits in the Holiday 2104 catalog come with tabs to help you.

Big Shot Magnetic Platform

The Secret Garden set shown in the video has retired, but check out Flower Patch and the Flower Fair Framelits. There are many coordinating stamps and Framelits now.

Getting More Life from Cutting Plates

Embossing Folders

Shop Die Cutting and Embossing

Shop for the Big Shot, accessories, embossing folders, and dies.

Envelope Punch Board

Envelope Punch Board Boxes

Envelope Punch Board Boxes

All these boxes were based on the smallest envelope listed on the chart on the Envelope Punch Board. I just added 1/4″ up to 7″ for the height of the box. I was experimenting to see how much I would need to add to get the thickness (or height) I wanted. Envelope Punch Board Box Height Chart The ones made with Melon Mambo can be made with 8 1/2″ X 11″ card stock. For the Basic Gray ones, you’ll need to use 12″ x 12″ card stock.


Gift Bag Punch Board

Gift Bag Punch Board

The Gift Bag Punch Board makes bags in three widths, S = 2 1/4″, M = 3″, and the L = 3 5/8″. Front to back is 2″ for all three sizes. The height of the bag can be any where from 2 3/4″ to 10 3/4″. Somehow I found this punch board hard to figure out at first. I finally got it! Here’s a video and I made a little cheat sheet with the Gift Bag Punch Board Directions.













I believe one of the biggest strengths of Stampin’ Up! is the quality of their paper and the coordination possibilities. You can get solid card stock, ink pads, and markers in the four core color collections and the two sets of In Colors. I’ve listed just the basics in the color families below, but you can also get the paper, ink pads, and refills individually. There are also lots of embellishments and printed patterned papers in these same colors. Coordinating projects is easy!

When you’re done reading about Color on this page, you will probably also want to read my pages about Cutting and Scoring, Adhesives, and More. And if you haven’t already, I suggest you go back to read my page about stamps.





2017-2019 In Colors

2018-2020 In Colors

Classic Stampin’ Pads

Stampin’ Blends

Click here for a chart with 2018-2019 colors with Blends, Ribbon, and Embellishments (as of the Holiday 2018 Catalog)

Watercolor Pencils

Shop Watercolor Pencils

AquaPainter vs. Blender Pens

Consider using Watercolor Paper or Shimmery White Paper when water coloring.

Color Tools: Charts, etc. on this website

Shop AquaPainter and Blender Pens

Here are some other ways to add color.

Stamping Sponges

Stamping Sponges can be cut into 4, 5, or even 6 pieces to sponge color all over a project, around the edges, or with Decorative Masks from Stampin Up or cut from sticky notes.

Sponge Daubers

Sponge Daubers give more precision. I use both, probably depending on how much space I want to cover. I keep mine in a special box with this insert.

Sponge Brayers

If you have a lot of territory to cover, use a Sponge Brayer.

Color Revamp

Coming in the 2018-2019 annual catalog, there will be a Color Revamp… new stamp cases, 13 colors going away with new coming in and a few beloved retired colors returning to the core color families. Some colors are moving from one to another. There will wonderful new cases that should be easier to open with tighter fitting lids. And they take less space and best of all, they stack!!!

Click here for more details about the color changes. 

There was not the wonderful color spectrum like there was on page 183 in the 2017-2018 Annual Catalog, so I made my own.

Click here to download the full size chart.


Click here for even more Color Tools












This card looks complicated, but it’s really easy peasy. Don’t you love when that happens? It uses some of my very favorite products including the Florals Boutique Designer Series Paper, the Falling Flowers stamp set, and the May Flowers Framelits.

Here are the full detailed directions.

If you are viewing this as an email, click here to see the supplies and the video for more information.


24 Hours Only

November 21st – 28th

10% Off

20% Off

30% Off

40% Off

These products are not on sale yet, but they will be on the 28th for another 24 Hour Sale.

If you are viewing this as an email, click here for the products and links.