Below you will find some of my most favorite and most used books and tools. I ONLY included those things that I personally love, use, or are as close to those as I can find for you. All opinions are completely my own.
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Looking for Engraving Supplies?
See my post on my favorite tools and materials for engraving.
- Graphite Pencil (set of 12)– A basic set of sketch pencils is a must. Although I really only use the “B” one’s (6B is a fave!)
- Inktense Pencils (12), or (24)– These are ink in pencil form. Kind of similar to watercolor pencils but much more vivid. You can dip them in water and get a really rich look, or draw and then run a wet brush over after. LOVE!!! I use these in my Bible journaling all. the. time.
- Caran d’Ache Crayons– An oldie but a goodie. These crayons are water-soluble but double as face paint. No joke. Ask me about all the Easter Bunny Faces I painted at an egg hunt one year.
- Faber Castell Pitt Pens– Plain black set of different sized nibs for Bible Art Journaling. I use these all the time. Another option would be Micron.
- Faber Castell Pitt Pens/Markers Colored– This is a set of colored brush tips. These are kind of amazing. They act like regular markers UNTIL you put them on a sealed surface (like dodge Podge). Then they smear into the most beautiful soft gradients. I use in my mixed media a lot.
- Distress Markers- A cult fave. Seriously. You have no idea. These are watercolor markers but the color intensity, the variety of colors and more are over the top. These pair with the distress inks which are also a favorite. The only caution here is that their caps are tight so if you don’t push them on then they don’t go on all the way and dry out.
- Cricut Colored Markers Set- SO SO pretty. But only get these if you have a Cricut.
- Italian crepe paper. I like the colors in this set and it’s really nice and thick.
- Canson Mixed Media Sketchbook (7″x 10″)– It’s kind of an in-between size that works great for me. I buy these 2 or 3 at a time. The paper is thicker than cardstock and I feel like I can really layer media (even wet media) on them no problem.
- Strathmore Recycled Sketchbook (8.5″ x 5.5″)– So this is the OTHER notebook I can’t live without. I have one in my purse at all times. This is the one you’ll see me pull out at a meeting, or at a concert, or at …. well anywhere really…. It’s perfect for sketch notes, for lists, for ideas…
- Journaling Bible (ESV)- the Bible I have. It has wide margins specifically for notes or for art. I call it my process bible. I have another bible I use for reading and study. This is the one I meditate in and really connect with the Spirit as an artist in. So I don’t mind covering up some of the words. If you’re interested in bible journaling I would really encourage you to get a separate bible for this.
- Gesso, Clear– This is my favorite page prep medium for bible journaling. It’s clear and has a slight texture to it so the other art supplies stick to it. It also thickens the page a little so you don’t feel like your page is going to rip.
- Mod Podge, Matte– You can get glossy but I prefer matte. It still has a slight satin sheen so it’s not unnoticeable. But I really like how it doesn’t distract the eye from the art. Works as glue or sealant.
- Multi-Surface Craft Paints- I use Martha Stewart Multi-Surface paints for everything. They are more expensive then other craft paints but they go on leather, glass, metal, ceramics, paper, canvas, wood, etc. etc. Worth the investment bc I don’t need to buy different types for different projects. That being said, I did notice last time I was at the craft store that there are “multi-surface paints” by competitive brands now available. For less.
- Sticker Paper, Matte- Maybe you saw me going on about the stickers I made recently. SO SO excited. This is the paper I used. It’s a ridiculously good deal. 100 sheets.
- Sticker Paper, Glossy– This is a sticker paper I’ve just tried for the first time. I originally recommended a different sticker paper but I like this one waayy better. It’s a high quality paper, doesn’t smear easily right after printing, and the white is a true white, not a cream, so my stickers look a lot better on it.
- Printable Vinyl – I tried Printable Vinyl when I was going to print photo stickers to put on my metal engraved ornaments. I was able to reposition them a little as I was applying them. They also feel a lot more durable, so if the ornament gets packed away every year I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine.
- Regular Vinyl in Large Rolls (bulk), black/ white– Why buy the small rolls of vinyl when you can go for the 30′ rolls. We both know you’ll use it…
- Oramask 813 Stencil Vinyl by Oracal- A new find. This is easier to use if you’re used to creating vinyl stencils. It peels easier, and it doesn’t stick as much to the underlay. You can also see through it so it’s easier to position.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl, bulk– I love Siser. It’s kind of the go-to online for HTV. Recently I’ve tried some other brands that are not name brands. I’ll post those too.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl, white– ditto above.
- Transfer Tape– For Vinyl Projects, it makes the entire process of using vinyl a game-changer. It makes positioning easier.
Air Dry Clay and Sculpture Supplies
- 16 Gauge Steel Wire- The wire I know and love. For projects and examples of how I use this check out my book or my wired crafts board on Pinterest.
- 19 Gauge Steel Wire- A smaller diameter wire that I use to wrap two pieces of the 16 gauge together. Or for smaller projects that need a smaller gauge wire.
- Air Dry Clay- Crayola. I’ve tried other brands (more expensive and artsier. But this is the one where the end product most closely resembles actual clay.
- Triple Thick by Decoart– This is the glaze I use for my air dry clay. If you would like a less glossy then you can use the satin or matte Mod Podge.
- iPad Pro with Apple Pencil– Love it. Best Christmas present ever.
- Cricut Maker- Love this too. It’s more expensive than Explore 2 but in my mind, it’s better to pay a little more and not have the limitations you would with the Cricut Explore.
- Cricut Tool Set– These are one of those smaller add-on purchases that really make a huge difference in your user experience when creating with a cutting machine.
- Cricut Light Grip Mats (blue mats)– I use these more than the green regular stick mats. They’re made for vinyl.
- MacBook Pro or MacBook Air– The laptops I use to design and write blog posts.
- Cover for my iPad Pro (has a pocket for the Apple Pencil)
- Tool Bag– I use this for any tools I need to take with me offsite. Mostly to ceramics class.
- Rotary Cutter– This is the one I have. It’s the cheapest model from a major brand. I’ve never had a problem with it but I’m not using it every day either.
- Cutting Mat– This the one I happen to have. It’s huge. I can cut anything but I have to use it on the floor (bc it’s so stupid big). It’s a good quality mat and I don’t ever wish I had a bigger one. That used to totally annoy me when I was cutting large amounts of fabric.
- Cutting Ruler- I love the size of this ruler, it works great with my big cutting mat.
- Crop-a-dile- It puts holes in metal. NOBODY talks about this. It’s the coolest thing! Like Butter.
- Janome Sewing Machine– Again. Love. But this is an intermediate level machine. Most of the sewing I do could be done with a cheaper model, but then I wouldn’t have some of the same options.
- Lindstrom Pliers Set– I was starting to have tendonitis problems, so I upgraded from the hardware store pliers to this set of jewelry pliers. Crisis averted.
- Wire Cutters- I have not upgraded. You can buy this at a hardware store.
- Ceramics Basic Tool Set– Yes this is the same set you’d buy your kids. It’s easy and it works. Really all I use is a needle tool, a wire cutter, a smoother, a slip tool, and cookie cutters. But that’s just me.
- Hole Making Tool for Clay– I do love this. And use it constantly for ornaments and wall pieces, it comes in different sizes.
- Non-Stick Craft Mat by Ranger- I have a ton of these. I buy them for classes I teach and then cut them in 1/4’s. You can hot glue on them, back polymer clay with them, use them as heat resists when ironing htv, use them as palettes and the paint just peels off, and use them as a drying surface when you’ve something sticky. I also use them in 1/4’s for placing under my page when I’m gessoing the page in Bible Art Journaling. LOVE IT!!! There are generic ones available so go ahead and check those out too, but in my experience, they’re not quite as nice but still very usable.
Inspirational Books For Your Creative Journey
- Best Self Planner- If you feel like your life is just kind of slipping by without purposeful direction then this might be the book for you.
- Art & Soul: Notes on Creating by Audrey Flack- An oldie but a goodie. This little collection of thoughts is a classic by an artist for artists.
- Called to Create by Jordan Raynor
- The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer- The book that really got me thinking about what it means to be a Christian who is creative.
- Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
- Think like a 5 yr old by Len Wilson
Creative How-To Books
- Creative Bloom- My book on Amazon or you can contact me and I’ll get you a copy from my stash.
- 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful Ordinary Life- by Irene Smit & Astrid Van Der Hulst & the Illustrators of FLOW
- Complete Guide to Bible Journaling- Pretty exhaustive intro book to Bible Journaling, love how it profiles different artists as well as includes a ton of templates and other resources.
- Expressive Flower Painting– by Lynn Whipple- This reinvigorated my love for painting florals. If you love flowers, and you love the look of mixed media, then check out this book.
- Leathercrafted– Really well-done niche book with lots of quirky fun projects.
- New Stamped Metal Jewelry- This book is a follow-up book to one of the original books on Stamped Metal Jewelry. It takes the techniques just a little further but is still useful to a beginner. Great tips and projects!
- Sewing to Sell- This is as much about the selling and marketing of a small sewing business as it is about sewing projects. It’s really a well done highly informative manual for anyone looking to expand into sales with their crafts.
Online Subscription Video Courses
- Bluprint- Intro videos for beginners, lots of creative lifestyle classes including using your cutting machine, art journaling, basics of sewing, jewelry, as well as cooking videos and the like.
- Skillshare– I LOVE this site!!! A huge variety of classes includes the business of art, illustration, procreate, social media, video, blogs and more.
Apps I Use Every Day
- First5– Quick and easy bible study app by Proverbs 31 Ministries, intended for the first five minutes of your day.
- Snapseed– Intuitive and powerful photo editing app.
- Procreate– This is an iPad app that works best on iPad Pro and is meant to be used with a stylus like the Apple Pencil. I seriously love this app and am finding more capabilities and applications day by day. Check out my Procreate playlist on YouTube or my Procreate tutorials. You’ll totally understand the obsession!
- Affinity Designer for IPad– Pro illustrator software that’s easy enough that total newbies (like me) can use it.
Want More Recommendations on the Best Resources for Creatives?
Just leave a comment, send me an email, or leave a comment on my YouTube channel. I’ve tried a ton of different tools, techniques, and classes over the years, so if you have a question odds are I can help- or at least point you in the right direction!