Tools of the Trade

So what does a person need to “do hybrid”? Not a lot, really. Sure there are some fun tools that will make the job easier or faster, but for the most part, just some basic tools are needed.

First, of course, you need a color printer.  I used to think that I had the worst printer, until I learned to change some of the settings and chose the right paper. Now I love the way my projects turn out.

I don’t have a fancy printer, in fact, mine was “free” when I purchased my desktop computer back in 2005.  It’s a Lexmark brand and the ink is relatively inexpensive.  I used the “coated paper” option and it creates a nice vivid print.

If you don’t have a color printer, you can take your projects to a local print shop. The FedEx/Kinkos near my house has 3 color copiers that I can bring my usb flash drive with a .pdf of my project and plug it in.  The copies are about 53 cents with tax.  If you need it on card stock they can do that for you, at about $1 per copy.  I choose this option if I have a lot of printing to do, like during the holidays when I am churning out the gifts.

Let’s talk paper. I like to use matte photo paper for most of my projects that need to stand on their own such as boxes or even tags. If I will be adhering my printed page to something, such as to chipboard or cardboard, I will often use a “presentation paper”. This type of paper is lightly coated and just slightly thicker than regular paper. It takes the ink well and gives you a nice bright print.

Next you will need some sort of cutting tool. The high-end of this would be an electronic cutter such as a Silhouette, Cricut or one I just recently heard about, the Black Cat Cougar. These are nice, but totally not necessary to do hybrid. I have a cricut, but most often choose to cut by hand, simply because I find that by the time I get my machine on, plug in all the cords, get everything lined up and actually hit the cut button, I could have had several cut out by hand 🙂  They do save some time when you have multiple copies of the same design, but again, don’t let the lack of a machine keep you from doing hybrid projects.

I find I use my straight-edge and x-acto knife for most of my projects that have any sort of straight lines, coming back in with a scissor to finish any rounded areas. I like my micro-tip scissors for getting into the tight corners.  If you are using a knife, you will need a cutting mat or a thick stack of old newspapers so you don’t cut your table 🙂

A bone folder is a nice-to-have tool. It’s great for scoring your line before you fold and smoothing out and creating nice creases.

Next you almost always need some sort of adhesive product. Again, this could be just a basic glue stick! No real need for fancy. But if you do want to get fancy, you could get a tape runner, this is what I use most often. Double sided tape would work for most projects. For bigger, thicker projects or where you want to be sure everything sticks you could get Terrifically Tacky Tape from Provo Craft…it is terrifically tacky!!

Some projects seem like they could use some inking around the edges, so ink might be something you would want to invest in. I have some basic colors, black of course and a distress ink from Tim Holz.  Iwill ink an edge when the white of the cut paper is extremely noticeable, for instance when I have a dark print on my project, but honestly, I’m usually in too big a hurry to ink all my edges. Other crafters couldn’t imagine calling a project done until it’s been inked around the edges. So personal preference on this one!

Various punches are more nice-to-have items. Sometimes you just want to cut out a circle or a half-circle and a punch is great to have. Or you want to scallop an edge or round a corner, punches are great for these.  Again, a scissor would work, so if you don’t have punches (I don’t have many) it won’t stop you from accomplishing your goal!

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