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Tips & Techniques

Learn the best methods for using our products, plus discover the tricks the pros use to create awe-inspiring crafts.

 

 Working with Crafter’s Clay

  • Prevent clay from drying out while you work by placing clay on a damp paper towel and covering with another damp paper towel. When finished, store in an airtight plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
  • Mix colors by pulling, like taffy. When mixing multiple colors into white, mix the colors together first, then mix the blended color into the white just until the color is even throughout.
  • Clay may be shaped and molded several times, but will dry out if over-worked.
  • Wash your hands before handling a different color to keep clay colors pure.
  • Allow molded embellishments to dry before gluing clay to project. Items will dry within 24 hours, but may be handled sooner if done with care.

    Molding Tips
  • Always press a smooth surface into the mold. Any crease in the clay will appear on the final molded object.
  • Push clay in from the outer edge of the mold for a clean finish.
  • After unmolding, use detailing tool to smooth any rough edges.

 

    Mixing Clay Colors  

 Circle Cutter Tips

Cut perfect circles with the Martha Stewart Crafts® circle cutter following these instructions. (These are written for right-handed people, but the tool works in either direction.)

  • Tape down all four corners of the paper onto a self-healing mat. Make sure the paper is taut.
  • Position the circle tool on the paper; make sure the entire tool is resting on the mat. Hold the edge of the tool firmly with your left hand.
  • Position the clear rotating disk so the desired measurement is visible. You might want to place the measurement in the upper left of the circle you are about to cut (about the 10:00 position) to get good leverage and momentum as you rotate the disk – but this is a matter of personal preference.
  • With cutting tool in right hand, insert the blade into a notch on the clear rotating disk. Check to ensure the flat blade is seated in the notch and that the blade reaches the paper.
  • Rotate the disk clockwise while pressing the blade through the paper to cut the circle.

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How to Cut Rings:
  • To cut multiple concentric rings, work from the inside going outward. After cutting the first circle, leave the circle tool in place. Rotate the disk to the left until the desired measurement (larger than the previous measurement cut) is at the 10:00 position. Insert blade and cut circle as before; repeat as desired.
  • If you want the rings to be wider on one side, you can shift the circle tool off-center from the previous circle, and then cut the next one.

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Glittering Instructions and Tips

How To:
  • Cover work area with newspaper. Place object on a glittering tray, paper plate, or large sheet of paper to catch excess glitter. Coat object with glittering glue, using the brush applicator inside the glue bottle.
  • Sprinkle glitter over glue, covering completely. Tap off excess glitter onto tray, and then tip glitter from tray back into bottle. Allow object to dry (test after an hour).
  • For large objects, apply glue and glitter in sections.
Tips:
  • If necessary, dilute the glittering glue with a little water. In a separate container, blend two parts glue to one part water to an even consistency.
  • A thicker layer of glue takes longer to dry, but will hold the glitter better.
  • If you miss a spot, go back and carefully touch up with additional glue and glitter.
  • Try a paintbrush or foam brush to apply the glue more efficiently to larger surfaces.
More ways to use glitter:
  • Apply a thin layer of glue to cardstock with the Martha Stewart Crafts® wide-tip glue pen and sprinkle it with glitter. When dry, punch through the glittered cardstock with a craft punch to create beautiful glittered shapes for card making and other projects.

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Double Punches

Many paper crafters are familiar with the traditional craft punch, which punches out a shape. When you insert paper and flip the tool over, you see the paper you are going to punch. When you press the lever on the tool, you hear a snap as the tool cuts the paper, and the punched paper piece pops out of the tool.

Some Martha Stewart Crafts® punches are what we call double punches – meaning they not only punch out the shape, but they also punch or emboss additional detail in the interior of the shape. Because the punch is performing this additional function, it works a little differently.

When you insert the paper and flip the tool over, you do not necessarily see your paper. When you press the lever on the tool, you don't feel and hear the same snap that you do with a regular craft punch. Instead, a double punch gives you more of a crunching sound and feel as it cuts the paper. In addition, our double punches are designed so the punched piece stays attached to the paper by a couple of tiny tabs. If this didn't happen, the punched piece could become stuck inside the tool. You can remove the punched piece from the paper by gently pulling it out with your fingers, or by cutting the tiny tabs with a craft knife or scissors.

The double punch, therefore, behaves a little differently than the regular craft punches we are used to, and as a result, you get a punched piece with greater detail than a regular craft punch produces.

How do you know if you have a double punch? Look at the design on the punch. If you see additional detail inside the shape, it is a double punch. Examples of Martha Stewart Crafts® double punches include the scalloped heart, skull and bones, diamond ring, elephant, safety pin, and embossed owl.

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Essential tools

Any project is easier, and the results more polished, when you have the right tools. To create almost any kind of paper craft, you need to be able to measure, cut, and fold properly. You need the right adhesives for various purposes. And you'll want versatile writing instruments for journaling, labeling, or decorating. For scrapbooking, card making, gift wrapping, and more, the tools in this guide are those you can't do without.

  • Paper Trimmer - Use the paper trimmer to accurately size and cut your paper or card stock. It renders clean, precise cuts and lets you easily cut a square or rectangle out of the center of a sheet of paper — so you can create a frame for a scrapbook page, or a window on the front of a card. Ours features a transparent blade holder, allowing you to see exactly where you are cutting. Both the cutting blade and scoring blade can be used in both directions, by left- or right-handed crafters.

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  • Craft Knife - A craft knife allows you to cut intricate shapes with precision and ease. Cut a straight line by using it along the edge of a ruler. To create an impressive title for a scrapbook page, print out letters backwards on your computer, and use the craft knife to cut out the shapes. If you print your own photos, you may find photo paper quickly dulls the blades of many paper trimmers. The solution: use a craft knife and ruler to crop your photos. This versatile tool is also handy for many other tasks, such as lifting the edge of a sticker or separating the backing from double-sided tape. Remember, for safety as well as precision, always use a cutting mat with your craft knife.

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  • 12 x 12 inch Cutting Mat - When using a craft knife, circle cutter, rotary cutter, or screw punch, always use a cutting mat. It will protect your table or desk top while providing a stable, non-slip work surface and will extend the life of your blades. A printed grid on the mat lets you squarely align elements you are measuring and cutting. Our self-healing cutting mats remain smooth after repeated cuts.

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  • Ruler - A good ruler is indispensable and can be used for much more than measuring. Use it to evenly align and apply alphabet stickers when composing a title or message, or to keep handwritten inscriptions perfectly straight. Our clear acrylic ruler provides tools easy viewing when making your measurements, and features marker holes for plotting and drawing circles. The marks are visible on both light and dark surfaces, so it works whatever the color of your project. Use the ruler with a craft knife to achieve straight cuts. The grid on the ruler lines up perfectly with the grid on the cutting mat underneath, so you can always be assured of a perfectly straight line. The skid-resistant coating helps keep the ruler in place as you work.

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  • Scissors - You'll need a good pair of scissors to hand-cut shapes and get into tight corners. Our ergonomically designed scissors feature professional grade, double-grind blades to produce consistently smooth, even cuts from the base to the tip. The screw lets you adjust blade tension for heavy or light duty, making our scissors perfect for hundreds of craft projects.

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  • Tweezers - When you need to attach a tiny foam dot, or lift a small sticker from its release paper and place it on your project, a good pair of tweezers is indispensable. Our tweezers feature angled tips for precise control and maneuverability. The reverse (self-closing) tweezers are great for grasping and positioning small objects effortlessly.

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  • Bone Folder - A bone folder is used by professional bookbinders and other artisans to make perfect scores and folds. It is a must-have for making cards and other crafts that call for a sharp crease. Run the tip of the tool along the edge of a ruler to score paper, and then run the side of the bone folder along the fold for a crisp crease. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes. Use the curved end for scoring chipboard and other thicker materials. The bone folder is also great for applying and smoothing rub-on transfers

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  • Glue Stick - A glue stick is a great, all-purpose adhesive for card making, scrapbooking, and all kinds of paper crafting. Ours goes on blue for easy visibility when applying, and then quickly dries clear without wrinkling paper. The glue is acid-free, which means it is safe for those memory-keeping projects.

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  • Double-Sided Tissue Tape - This is the adhesive to use when you want a strong bond along a long length of paper, such as when you are making a pocket or assembling a box. You can also tear off small pieces of the tape for mounting photos. Use it for gift wrapping to completely hide seams. This tape is also great for times when you don't want a wet adhesive, as when adhering ribbon. Sprinkle it with fine glitter to achieve a perfect shimmering stripe.

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  • Ballpoint-Tip Glue Pen - A glue pen is great for precision application when working with small materials, such as punched shapes and die-cut letters. Try writing or outlining with this pen, and then sprinkle on glitter. The glue goes on blue for easy visibility and dries clear. Use it wet, and you'll get a strong, permanent bond. Allow it to dry, and you'll have a sticky, temporary bond for positioning items on your surface. The glue is xylene free and acid-free to preserve your memories safely.

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  • Glittering Glue with Brush Applicator - To apply glitter or tiny beads to a large surface, spread glue with the brush that is attached inside the lid of this bottle. If you want a thinner consistency for larger projects, you can dilute the glue with a bit of water. This glue dries clear and is nontoxic, so it's great for school projects.

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