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Basic Craft Supplies: What I Keep on Hand All the Time

As a constant crafter, there are certain "consumable" supplies I try to keep on hand at all times. Here are a few of my basic "go to" supplies. If I have these items, a recycled cereal box, and Netflix, anything is possible!

For starters, you always want to have a clear drying white glue on hand. My absolute favorite basic white glue is Aleene's Original Tacky Glue. It is affordable and dependable. It grabs fast, so you don't have to wait a long time for glue to dry. I usually buy the eight ounce size (here is an affiliate link to the product:  ALEENES 15599 All Purpose Glue, 8-Ounce).

Lately, I've been thinking I should just go ahead a buy the gallon size bottle -- it's actually a great deal on Amazon. Here is an affiliate link for that, if you want to try it: Aleene's Orignal Tacky Glue 128oz.

I still use regular white school glue for many projects, but for anything that needs to "grab" quickly, I reach for Tacky Glue.

Another staple in my craft supply stash is paintable Elmer's Wood Glue. I've tried many other brands, and always return to this one. I use wood glue for building three-dimensional items out of cardboard, such as putz houses, models, and holiday ornaments. It doesn't set up fast, but the bond is super strong. Wood glue does not dry clear, so it is really only appropriate for projects that will be painted, or decoupaged, or similarly covered. I will sometimes paint a light coat of wood glue over a cardboard or chipboard blank, to seal it and harden it.

Here is an affiliate link:  Elmer's E7020 Carpenter's Wood Glue, 16 Ounces.  If you have space to store larger sizes of glue, the one gallon bottle is a great value. Here is that affiliate link: Elmer's E7050 Carpenter's Wood Glue, 1 Gallon. You can also find Elmer's wood glue at hardware stores and some discount stores.

My all time favorite decoupage medium is matte Mod Podge. It's great for sealing paper projects. It has some thickness to it, and seems to sit on the surface more than other brands. A few years ago I was in an art show in Seattle, but did not have access to any of my original renderings because we were in the middle of a move and our stuff was in storage. I was able to print color copies of my work and Mod Podge the pieces to mat board. Once the pieces were dry, I went back in with more Mod Podge and a brush and made brush marks, following the stroke marks of the renderings. The results were beautiful -- the Mod Podge did not significantly alter the colors, and the brush strokes lent a "high end" feel to the pieces.

Here is an affiliate link for Mod Podge:  Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish. If you decoupage a lot, and have the storage space, the gallon size is a good value. Here is that affiliate link: Mod Podge CS11304 1-Gallon, Matte

Another decoupage medium I love is Beacon Adhesive's Fast Finish Decoupage Sealer. It is a sealer and bonder, all-in-one. I like it because it dries very fast and hard. It is also very thin and seems to penetrate the item you are gluing down. Sometimes Mod Podge looks thick, so if you want a subtler decoupage medium, this may be exactly what you are looking for. It is a little more expensive than Mod Podge, but you don't use more than a few drops, since it is thin. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes indispensable.

It is a little hard to find -- here in Seattle I can sometimes find it at Pacific Fabrics. Here is an affiliate link to the product through Amazon: Beacon Adhesives Fast Finish Decoupage Sealer, 8-Ounce.

Gesso! I love gesso and use lots of it. Gesso is great for priming canvases and so much more. I use gesso to prime and seal recycled cardboard for painted Christmas ornaments, and for many other mixed media projects. I also use it for paperclay and wood pulp clay and paper mache projects. In a pinch, I've made my own using talc, but I am pretty pleased with this acrylic gesso from ProArt. It is very affordable and gets the job done.

Here is an affiliate link: Pro-Art 16-Ounce Premium Gesso Canvas Primer. If you have enough room to store the 64 ounce size, the economy gesso is a terrific value. Here is that affiliate link: Pro-Art Economy Gesso Canvas Primer, 64-Ounce. You can also find Pro-Art Gesso at most large craft stores.

Dimensional Magic is another favorite. I don't use it as often as the other items, but it's great to have on hand for paper jewelry projects, or to add a "domed" glossy effect to other projects. I seal my projects first, using decoupage medium, then add the dimensional magic. One thing I have learned, is that you must set your items on a perfectly level surface while waiting for the Dimensional Magic to harden, or the surface can end up being a bit lopsided. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it takes quite a bit longer to dry (days), but patience pays off with a hard glossy surface.

You can find Dimensional Magic at most large craft stores. Here is an affiliate link to the product on Amazon: Plaid Mod Podge Dimensional Magic Glue.

I seem to use copious amounts of gold Folk Art paint. It's cheap, it comes in various gold colors (silver is great, too), and it can add a nice finishing touch to projects. I keep it on hand all the time. You can find similar craft paints at large craft stores and discount stores and online. I also keep other colors on hand, but if I run out of purple or blue, the world won't end. I'm not so sure that would be the case if I ran out of gold....

For painting gold on leather, I like Lumiere Bright Gold. It grabs the leather and has a rich luster. There are lots of beautiful Lumiere paint colors, but Bright Gold is the one I keep on hand all the time. Here is an affiliate link to that product: Jacquard Lumiere Metallic Acrylic Paint 2.25 Ounces-Bright Gold

Foam craft brushes. I keep these on hand always. They are great when you need quick smooth coverage, or when you don't want to use your nice brushes, or when you are working with a product that is difficult to wash out, or when you just don't have time to wash your brushes. I actually do wash my foam brushes out -- most of the time -- and often get several uses out of them. They are especially good for squishing paint into awkward nooks and crannies in furniture projects. You can buy these singly, or in multi-packs in just about any craft store, hardware store, discount store or dollar store.  I don't usually use foam brushes for decoupage, as a I find they create tiny bubbles in the medium, but I do use them for most types of paint. I will sometimes use foam brushes for primer and base coats, then switch to a nicer brush for finish coats.... or not, depending on how lazy I'm feeling.

My newest bff is PC-Petrifier. Here is an affilliate link, if you want to check it out: PC Products PC-Petrifier Water-Based Wood Hardener, 16 oz Bottle, Milky White.

Although it is intended for hardening rotted wood, this is great for hardening paper jewelry projects. I learned about the product from the YouTube channelBeyond Bracelets. She uses them for rolled paper beads, but I have also used wood petrifier on flat cardboard jewelry projects. It definitely darkens and intensifies the colors in your papers, so test it first. Here in the Pacific Northwest, you just never know when you're going to get wet, so I was thrilled to discover this product! Although I'm not sure I would swim in paper jewelry hardened with this product (why tempt fate?), I have placed "petrified" paper jewelry components under running water, and perceived no change in the item. I do recommend doing several coats. For flat projects, use a brush to apply, for rolled paper beads, check out Beyond Bracelets for some great tips.

As with all products, wear gloves if necessary, and follow package instructions for use and handling.

I hope this list of products was helpful to you! These are the products I buy again and again and again. Some of the products are typical "craft" products, some are not.

Do you have favorite supplies that you use all the time? I would love to know what your favorite products are, so please share in the comments section!

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To see how to make your own paper bead roller to use with that PC-Petrifier,click here.

Thanks so much for stopping by!