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Tools of the trade

September 23, 2008

There are a lot of tools to choose from. In fact, more tools in various shapes are coming onto the market. The major brand is Pergamano®. Besides tools they market inks, paints, felt-tip pens, pencils (dry and water-color) pastels, etc. But that is for another post.

The main tools used are:

  • Mapping pen
  • embossing tools
  • perforating tools

The mapping pen must come to a very thin point. I have tried several brands, the Pergamano brand, Speedball, Hunt and Conte.

Like any artists tool, your mapping pen will be a personal preference decision. I have currently been working with the Conte pen. It seems to work best for me, and I like the lines it produces. My displeasure with the Pergamano, Seepball and Hunt mapping pens, which are far easier for me to get replacement nibs, had nothing to do with anything.

Next comes embossing tools. The most often used embossers are the ball tools, and they come in microsmall, small, medium, large and mega. For reference, the mega ball tool is a 6mm ball, and the large is a 3mm ball. My preference for tools runs towards the Parchcraft Australia tools. However, I do have a mixture of Pergamano and PCA in my craft bag.

Besides the basic ball tools, there are shaders. And various sizes of sun tools.

All of these tools, when rubbed on the parchment paper, stretch the paper. As the parchment paper stretches, it turns white from it’s original translucent grey.

Not all of the pattern should be white, softer embossing provides depth, when you are not working with color.

Then there are the perforators. These are precision crafted needles in various configurations. The basic perforaters needed are the one-needle, two needle and 4 needle tools. There are two ways to do perforations, over the pattern or on a grid. Perforating over a pattern can result in perforations that looked like they were dancing. It’s very important to line up your needle tool to the dots on the pattern. Using a grid helps to keep your perforations straight and even, as you can see in this envelope.

The two-needle tool is also used to perforate around the finished project.

Finally we have the cutting. Some people use scissors that look like cuticle scissors, slightly curved, and coming to a fine point. There are also “cutters” which if you have arthritic hands/fingers, these are a lot more comfortable. Once you have perforated your project, embossed it, and then re-perforated each hole with a thick one-needle tool, you are ready to cut. a four-needle tool produces a square of 4 holes, and you will then have 4 cuts. That will result in a pretty X (you can see a lot of x’s in the envelope above).

Until the next time.


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