Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Two Favorite Tools

Here are a couple of cool tools I use when working with paper. You might have both in stock already, especially if you have ever gotten a gift card or have a PDA or a handheld computer game (or someone in your house does)...


  • The first is a plastic stylus. They're used to write on the screens of handheld computer devices like Palm Pilots and iPaqs. They're also used to play GameBoy, PSP, etc. videogames. They're very inexpensive and come in lots of different colors. The cheaper ones -- like the yellow one in the photo -- will break more easily than the black, weighted ones that cost a bit more, but feel great to use!

  • My second "fave" is a plastic credit card. I get offers for credit cards in the mail, but they're often on coated cardboard, not plastic. Toss those. Hold out for real plastic, or wait until your debit card expires, or hang on to a gift card after you use up the balance. These cards are sturdy enough for the job and clean up very easily.


  • I use the plastic card to burnish down 2D collage elements. First, I apply the adhesive, and then put the image into position. Then I lay a piece of white paper over the image to protect it, and drag the card across it, working from the center out toward the edges, in different directions. Some people don't use the paper, but I like to keep my plastic card as clean as possible. Still, if you do get glue, paint or ink on it, just wipe off, or rinse off, or scrape the edges to keep them smooth.

  • The stylus makes a great scoring tool for heavy paper stock. I use it especially for envelopes and miniature projects that have critical folds. For small projects, you can use the credit/gift card as your straight edge -- line it along where the fold will be, and then draw the stylus along the edge to mash the paper fibers and make folding easier.

Both of these tools fit easily into my tiny traveling art attack bag.

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