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Stocking Up Holiday Craft Season Is Approaching; Make Sure You Have All The Supplies You’ll Need

Any job is easier with the right tools and supplies. When I bake a pie, I know just where to find my rolling pin and favorite pan. When I head to the garden, I grab my bag of good, sturdy tools on my way out the door.

I like being just as prepared when it comes to crafts, so I stock up on the supplies I use often, invest in the best-quality materials and keep it all organized.

Here are some of the most versatile craft materials and tools, the ones no home should be without. Now is the perfect time to get them in order. With the holidays approaching, there will plenty of gifts to make.

The basic craft kit

Fill a traditional toolbox with the following supplies, and you’ll be ready to tackle many of the craft projects that inspire you. As your craft kit grows, you may want to organize it in stackable plastic bins, clearly labeled with their contents.

Glue: A hot-glue gun is the ultimate craft tool. The glue itself is an all-purpose craft glue which comes in a solid stick form; you insert one of the sticks into the “gun,” which melts the glue and releases it when you pull the trigger.

Hot glue is thick and holds its shape, making it ideal for securing bulky items, such as buttons, pinecones or even fresh roses, to other surfaces. It also dries quickly with a strong bond.

Look for a glue gun that operates at a low temperature, which is gentler on delicate materials - and less likely to burn your fingers.

Craft-and-fabric glue, such as Sobo, is perfect for paper, fabric, leather and other porous materials.

Dremel rotary tool: This ingenious handheld tool is like a drill but smaller and easier to use. It can be fitted with a wide selection of bits, allowing it to drill, cut, grind, sharpen, buff and polish.

Scissors: One pair isn’t really enough. Use good-quality dressmaker’s shears for fabric, and an all-purpose pair for paper. You’ll also want two pairs of pinking shears, one for fabric and one for paper.

Fiskars makes several products that are perfect for crafts: The rotary cutter works like a pizza wheel, making long, continuous cuts - straight or decorative, depending on the blade. Paper edgers work like pinking shears, but the cutting blades come in various patterns.

You’ll also want wire snips and gardening shears to use indoors for flower arranging.

Ribbon: From organdy to satin to grosgrain, ribbon comes in an astounding array of fabrics, widths, textures and patterns. Always save and reuse ribbons; just iron them, and they’ll look as good as new.

Rickrack, seam binding, satin cord, waxed twine and other trimmings and notions are charming alternatives to ribbon.

Bags and tage: Colored paper bags and crisp, shiny cellophane bags are great for wrapping gifts. Just cinch the top with a ribbon.

Office-supply stores and art-supply stores carry lots of simple tags and labels that can be personalized with rubber stamps.

Tapes and wires: Floral tape is indispensable when working with fresh or dried flowers. It sticks only to itself, so wrap it tightly in overlapping layers to bind stems together.

White artist’s tape is a versatile, multiuse tape. It is easily removed from most surfaces, and it can be written on.

Clear tape and double-stick tape are good for gift wrapping.

Flexible, sturdy floral wire is a necessity for making wreaths and garlands. Spools of wire in various gauges and colors will also come in handy.

Other tools: You’ll also want to stock your kit with an 1/8-inch hole punch, an awl, needle-nose pliers, round-nose pliers (good for jewelry-making and other wire work), a staple gun, a ruler and a tape measure.

Special supplies: Only you know what you’ll need to satisfy your creative urges. If you knit, put together a knitting kit. And why not give a craft kit as a gift? Assemble the basics, or create a custom kit for wreath-making, candlemaking or any other project as a thoughtful, personal gift.

Sources: Most of the tools and materials described above can be found at craft stores. Sax Arts & Crafts is one excellent mail-order source: (800) 558-6696.

Sewing stores and five-and-dimes carry ribbons and other trimmings. But for the best variety, you can’t top a specialty ribbon store. If you don’t have one near you (check the Yellow Pages under “Ribbon” to be sure), try these sources:

M&J; Trimming in New York (212) 391-9072; minimum order $50; free catalog).

Hyman Hendler and Sons in New York (212) 840-8393; minimum order $50; no catalog).

Bell’occhio in San Francisco (which also carries unusual papers, boxes and other wrapping supplies (415) 864-4048; minimum order $25; no catalog).

Martha By Mail. We’ve put together several of my favorite craft and how-to supplies in kits of their own. For more information about our tags and packaging kit, wrapping-paper kit, stocking kit and many more, call (800) 950-7130.

Questions should be addressed to Martha Stewart, care of The New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 122 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10168. Questions may also be sent to Stewart by electronic mail. Her address is: mstewart@marthastewart.com.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Make a ribbon rack If you’ve collected lots of spools of ribbon, try making attractive storage racks out of copper gutters (shown in accompanying photo). Have a lumberyard cut a half-round gutter to the length you need and cap the ends. Punch several holes along the top edge, and mount on the wall someplace out of direct sunlight, which fades ribbons. The spools will nestle in the rounded gutter.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Martha Stewart New York Times Syndicate

This sidebar appeared with the story: Make a ribbon rack If you’ve collected lots of spools of ribbon, try making attractive storage racks out of copper gutters (shown in accompanying photo). Have a lumberyard cut a half-round gutter to the length you need and cap the ends. Punch several holes along the top edge, and mount on the wall someplace out of direct sunlight, which fades ribbons. The spools will nestle in the rounded gutter.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Martha Stewart New York Times Syndicate



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