Top Tips for Crafters

Mark your crafts supplies
Check out some of our top tips for crafters from editors and readers just like you.

Pen and Marker Storage

Prevent pen and marker frustration by storing your writing utensils sideways. The ink won't pool or dry out. And it is easy to find the color you need.

Crafts Tool Organizer

Keep a picnic utensil container on your crafting table to store items neatly. Plus, the handle makes it easy to take on the go. --Dotti Greto

Scissors or Shears?

Know the difference between scissors and shears for better cutting results. Shears have long blades that can easily cut fabric and multiple layers. The handle accommodates two or more fingers. Scissors have smaller blades and single-finger handles. They are good for light cutting tasks, such as cutting paper.

Keep an Inspiration Notebook

Fill a notebook with magazine clippings, color palettes, sketches, and other items to keep inspiration at your fingertips. A purse-size notebook is ideal for when you get those creative sparks while out and about.

Creative Crafts Supply Holder

Place a plastic Frisbee upside down on your work surface to hold pins, needles, thread, scissors, and any other items that need to be in reach. The disk doesn't slide around, and it's lip keeps items from rolling off the table. -- Donna Corry

Share Crafts Supplies

Boost your stash and conserve cash by going in with friends to buy in bulk. You'll have more supplies to play with, without breaking the bank. Or get your friends together and have a supply swap. Bring leftover crafts items you no longer want or need and trade them with friends for supplies you do need.

Keep Thread Organized

Clean your thread drawer and keep bobbin threads from unwinding by securing filled bobbins with mini ponytail holders. -- Lindell McDougall

Test-Drive Craft Tools

Not sure which tool is right for you? Ask your local crafts store if it has sample tools you can try before you buy.

Crafts Supply Stash

Make your craft supplies inspirational and functional by arranging items by color. It'll cut down on planning time and brighten your work space.

Thread Problems

Match your needle to the thread type. Problems with breaking or twisting thread may be caused by the wrong sewing machine needle.

Keep Glitter Under Control

When crafting with glitter, keep it in check by coating a plastic tray with nonstick cooking spray. Any loose glitter will slide right off, and you'll save more for future projects. -- Mackey Stanley

Getting Tension Right

Adjust the tension on your sewing machine when a tangle of thread appears either on the top of or underneath your fabric while sewing. If loops appear on the underside of the fabric, the upper thread tension may be too loose. If knots appear on the top of the fabric, the upper tension may be too tight

See-Through Storage

Whenever possible store crafts supplies in see-through containers. Whether it's bags, jars, or bins, transparent containers let you find what you want without rifling through every storage bin. To keep supplies organized within a large bag, run a line of stitches down the center of the bag to make two sections.

Perfect Ribbon

No iron? No problem. Get rid of ribbon creases with the help of a nearby lamp. Simply run the wrinkled ribbon across a hot lightbulb to make it wrinkle-free and ready to use.

Professionally Designed Color Palettes

Next time you need help choosing a color palette for your crafts project, head to the paint store. Paint brochures offer palettes in tried-and-true combos that can spruce up any project.

Quilt Binding

Make your binding at the same time that you piece your quilt top, then roll it, label it, and drop it into a see-through jar. Keeping the binding rolls in sight will remind you of the tops you need to quilt. You'll stay organized and save time with all the ready-to-sew binding in one spot.

No Mess Beading

Keep a lint roller handy for picking up spills of micro beads and other small items. Scrape them into a bowl and place them back into their original container.

Magnetic Pin Holder

Find these magnetic bowls at your hardware store. They're perfect for keeping pins in order. Also a nut pick comes in handy as a stiletto for guiding fabric through the machine while you sew. Its crosshatch handle makes it easy to hold, and the slight curve at the end allows for a clear view. These two tools work great together because the bowl magnetically holds the nut pick. Be sure to keep magnetic pin holders away from computerized sewing machines. -- Constance Vanni

Keep Scissors Clean

Prevent lint and adhesive build up on cutting blades by wiping them after every use. For a thorough cleaning, wash them with soap and water and dry before storing or using. For extra sticky messes, fingernail-polish remover works wonders to remove adhesive.

Threaded Needles Ready to Go

Thread several needles ahead of time and store them in a pincushion nearby. Use the all-purpose needle threader to slip thread through all of the needles and load them all at once. Pull each needle out with a length of thread. -- Cindi Sullivan

Keep Track of Bobbins

Organize bobbins for multiple sewing machines. Place the bobbins in large medicine bottles and mark the lids with the first letter of the machine they belong to. -- Connie Masullo

Write Ahead Journaling

If you are a scrapbooker, you know that keeping track of what to say with each photo can be difficult. Keep a small notebook and jot down journaling or key words as you go. It will make it much easier when you sit down to design your page.

Creative Guidance

Stuck in a creative funk? Flip through this little book Living Out Loud to find foolproof methods for letting your inner artist guide you.

Keeping Track of Supplies

Before attending a crop or other crafting gathering, mark your supplies. Use tags, markers, or even fingernail polish to label your tools so it's easy to gather them up when it is time to leave.

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