If you’re new to this, I thought I would start by what I would call a basic starter kit for stamping. It can seem daunting to try something new, but here’s what I would recommend you get.
Clear acrylic blocks in a variety of sizes. If you’re pushed for money, and really don’t have the means, you can use CD cases, but they bend more than acrylic blocks, and if you’re using small stamps it’s incredibly fiddly.
Stamps. I know it seems obvious, but stamps are handy. There are lots of different kinds out there, I personally am not a fan of the kind mounted on wooden blocks, purely because they’re awful for storing if you have more than a few. Clear polymer kind of stamps are great for a starter, they’ve got a little give in them, so they’re good for getting a crisp image, the rubber kind are brilliant, but when you’re learning how much pressure to use, it can be a little more difficult with those.
Ink pads. Depending on what you’re intending to colour the stamps with, depends on what kind you need. If using alcohol pens like Pro-Markers, Spectrum Noir pens, or Copic pens, you will need to stamp using a water based ink, such as Versacraft (I like the 1″ pads, cheap and it doesn’t feel horrid if you have them in lots of colours). If colouring with water-based pens such as Pro-marker Aqua, Spectum Noir Aqua, or just watercolour paint, then you’ll want to stamp with something alcohol based like Staz-On. Be aware that if you plan to use Staz-On I would recommend buying their cleaner too, because a clean stamp is a happy stamp! I can be messy, but my stamps are always clean.
Good quality card. If you want a nice stamped image, you need a good card. I like a very smooth surface, and around 320 gsm. It takes pens well, is thick enough to feel weighty.
Mirror card/coloured card, for matting and layering. If this term seems scary, it’s not. It’s creating a base for your stamped image, using colours that compliment, or shiny card showing a couple of mm around the edge. It makes your images stand out.
Good glue. I am not a fan of school stick kinds of glue. You want to have a card that is solidly mounted, so that means decent double sided tape and good glue. I tend to use the permanent kind of double sided (red backing paper) and I am a fan of Pinflair glue. It’s brilliant for using blobs to make Decoupage raised, or for using smaller amounts to stick, and it’s silicon free. It’s available from a number of places. If you can also stretch to a Sakura Glue pen, that’s fantastic for adding glitter to small places.
Self-healing craft mat. It keeps your work surface clean and neat, and if you like to use a craft knife, it’s ready for that too. Available in most craft shops or online. I have 2, one that is A4 sized, and one that is A3, but you can even get them in A1 if you so choose. They’re cheap usually, so shop around.
Bone folders. Again available everywhere, they are also cheap, but don’t think you don’t need one. If you plan on making your own card blanks, or buying them, either way you will need a crisp edge, and the best way is a bone folder. Unless you lose them they will last pretty much forever.
A guillotine. I prefer one with a circular blade, than one with a knife kind of blade. I find the circular ones stay sharper for longer. It doesn’t need to be a specific craft one, but there are good ones designed for craft which have different blades and that sort of thing. I have 3 different ones, from one I purchased in a discount stationers which I use most often, and two specific craft ones that I use less often. Hoard? Me? Never!
If you want coloured images, something to colour them with. There are many Youtube videos showing how to colour, but play around and see which you like. I do things a bit back to front with Pro-Markers, they recommend you start light and head to dark, but I like doing it the other way around, that makes them easier to blend for me. You don’t need to buy an entire kit, I get two or three at a time, and I try to wait until they are on offer unless there’s a specific project I need them for. Collections build up quite fast, so I would suggest keeping a running list of colours as you buy.
I’m a fan of glittery things, so glitter is on my essential lists too. I tend to purchase the nail art glitter, because it is usually cheaper. If you do a search for super-fine craft glitter, then look for nail art glitter, compare the two. I sometimes purchase it direct from China, it can take up to a month to arrive, but it’s often only a couple of pounds for a variety of colours.
With all these things, you can create wonderful things. There are lot of other things you can purchase, like heat guns, Versamark ink (for adding embossing powder to stamped images, or brayering), embossing powders, die cutting machines, dies, embossing folders, the list really is endless, but this will get you started. Other stuff can be put on birthday lists and all sorts of things like that. I’ll start a post of stamps I like, and where to find them too, although I will always tell you when I show you what I’m working on.