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Top 7 Household Items For Papercrafting

I am a practical girl at heart, and I love to find ways to make the messy parts of scrapbooking quicker, and easier. That means less time for boring tasks like cleaning and more time for creating!

In pursuit of practicality, I’m not afraid to raid areas of the house outside my studio in search of supplies! Plenty of household supplies can be invaluable in the scrapbook studio… here’s my top seven.

Baby Wipes

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I keep a package of these right out on my scrap table. As any mother already knows, baby wipes have 101 uses for cleaning up kid-related messes. But they can be just as useful on your scrap table as your changing table. They are great when I’m working with ink – I use them for cleaning up my stamps immediately after I use them so the ink doesn’t stain them, as well as for cleaning up my hands so that I don’t transfer ink to my project from inky fingers. They are also useful for cleaning up paint and glue drips (and 101 other things!)

I like to use the large Huggies travel packs that hold around 56-72 wipes (depending on which wipe variety they contain), and have a snapping plastic lid. They are the perfect size for fitting in a shallow drawer like my Ikea Alex unit, and a large enough quantity that I’m not replacing the container every other week. I just discovered that Amazon has a great deal on these – you can buy an 8 pack of the 56ct Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes for only $16. I think I’ll be buying mine there from now on!

Blue Shop Towels

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These paper shop towels may be designed for grease and other automotive gunk, but they work great for paint  and other craft gunk too! They are stronger and way more absorbent than a regular kitchen paper towel – you can use them for applications that require doing things like rubbing mediums onto a surface and they won’t shred like a plain white paper towel. I use mine for wiping my paintbrush on to make it drier for certain applications that I only want it damp for – they absorb water beautifully. They are also great for rubbing ink off of resist chipboard pieces, without shredding or leaving lint behind.

Blue Shop Towels by Scott are available at automotive supply stores and the automotive department at stores like Walmart, for approximately $2.50 per roll of 55 10″x11′ towels.

Cosmetic Applicators

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The garage isn’t the only room of the house you can raid for scrapbook tools…how about the bathroom? My favorite part about these cosmetic applicators is the end with the tiny pointed tip. It’s fabulous for dabbing up glue that seeps out from under embellishments, or for catching paint that runs over the edge of an item. The large end of these can be useful for dabbing small amounts of ink in a specific area. Available in most drugstore and department store cosmetic departments.

Cosmetic Wedge Sponges

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Another item that migrated from my cosmetic stash to my scrapbook stash are these cosmetic wedge sponges. They make great disposable paint brushes for certain applications (such as “dry brushing” paint onto the edges of paper) and they also make great ink applicators as well for creating certain effects. The sponges can also help spread mediums like adhesive that it would be easy to ruin a paint brush with. And since they are disposable, there is no clean-up when you are done – just toss it away! These are available at most drug and discount stores but where I live in Florida I’ve found the best ones available are the Publix grocery store brand. They are the most dense of any I’ve tried, and have the best texture to work with.

Blank Index Cards

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Why would you need to bring more paper into your scrap room? I keep a big stack of 4″ x 6″ blank index cards on my desk all the times. I use them for notepaper to keep track of supply lists, shopping lists (buy more adhesive!) and all sorts of other things that I need to record. The best thing about the index cards is that they are a similar weight to a lot of scrapbooking paper. This means they can stand up to things like test stamping of images, getting pens started flowing, smudging liquid adhesive that is dripping, and testing color mediums.

Staples sells a 500 pack of 4″ x 6″ blank index cards for $5.99.

Foam Plates

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These are pretty much what I would call a “unitasker” in the scrap room but still plenty useful. Paper plates don’t always handle it well when you use things like paint on them, but foam plates handle it beautifully. That’s why I always keep a supply of foam plates on hand to use as paint palettes when I am scrapbooking (or doing other crafts). I use the small dessert plate size mostly, although occasionally resort to the dinner plate size for large projects that use a lot of different colors of paint. When I’m done, the clean-up is quick and easy – just throw the plate in the trash!

Swiffer Sweepers

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Comedian Demetri Martin once said that “glitter is the herpes of the craft world.” It sticks to everything it comes in contact with and spreads uncontrollably. But Swiffer refill cloths (which I use for dusting) have a static magnetic quality to them that will pick glitter right up off of any hard surface, like tables, and hard floors. I also use it to clean glitter and embossing powder residue out of my catch tray after I return the extra to the jar. There’s always a little bit left behind and that keeps the residue from mixing with the next color I use when I put it away.

Swiffer refills are available in major grocery and discount stores.

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Keep crafting on the brain as you walk around your house. You might be surprised what you find that will be useful!

What is your favorite household item to use for crafting?

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26 Responses to Top 7 Household Items For Papercrafting

  1. Avatar
    Joanne Hughes June 25, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    The blue and white looks so sterile they look like supplies from an operating theatre!

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      Nancy Nally June 25, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      LOL Joanne, you are right. When I had everything laid out for photography I realized how blue and white it was!

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    Janet Castle June 25, 2013 at 3:15 am #

    I keep a bottle of Alcohol nearby to clean with…works great with all kinds of problem clean ups – me included!

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      Holly Shaw July 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      Me too! Only I use the alcohol for distressing acrylic paint. It eats it beautifully and give a really great weathered feel.

      Other household items? I use clothespins to keep ribbon from unraveling and it stores it very neatly.

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    Elizabeth Campau June 25, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    This is really helpful! Thank you!

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    Claudia June 25, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    I keep toothpicks at my desk at all times. They are great to clean up little glue spills, spread out glue, and hold things down, just to name a few ways I use them. Thanks for sharing your list. Now I’m going to get some of my husband’s blue towels from the garage to add to my art room!

  5. Avatar
    Barbara June 25, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    This is the most helpful post I have read in months! I’m new at this but if I can think of anything to add, I most certainly will. Thank you.

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    Conniecrafter June 25, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    I use all of these but the blue towels and I had never seen the cosmetic applicators with that fine tip, I will have to check that out I can see that being very useful, tfs!

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    Rita Harris June 25, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    I think all thee tips were helpful. I already use many of them but I wil try the swiffer dusters. Thanks

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    Queen Mary June 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Being a recycler at heart, I use thicker paper plates rather than the foam plates – I’ve never gotten the hang of the old CDs some people manage; I’m also a failure with the cosmetic sponges I’m afraid so I’ve actually invested in some mid-range paint brushes that I can re-use — I figure I’m worth it (she says, tossing her L’Oreal gorgeous hair back over her shoulder… in her dreams). The auto towels are new to me, will be the queen of the next crop so thanks for that idea! Nor have I used swiffer, will totally get those too! I’ve used dryer sheets in the past to less than complete satisfaction, and they are not odorless and I have a problem with odors — yes, I’m THAT lady — migraine triggers all, so this may be a crowd pleaser too! I’m practicing my pageant queen wave already! You rocka lady!

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    Queen Mary June 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    PS, Claudia is right about the toothpicks — pesky clogs on wet glue bottles? midnight stabs to table mates? Oh wait, that might be just my table mates….

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    Natalie June 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    I use a dryer fabric softener sheet to wipe down my glitter catch tray before use. It de-statics the tray, so glitter doesn’t cling to it as much. I also like sponges and cotton balls for painting and blending textures.

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    C.darwin June 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Baby wipes are a must in my craft room.

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    Marsha June 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I agree with you about all the items. I use every one myself, but the Swifter refills is a really great idea I did not know about. Thanks! My favorite is the wax paper liners from cereal boxes. I always save them to use to catch up ink or paint if I don’t want to get my craft mat out–just throw them away when you’re done. Also, I agree with the previous commentor about toothpicks; that’s another one I keep on my craft table, too.

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    Madeline June 25, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    I love this article. I keep a few of these items already but never thought of the blue towels. GREAT. I also didn’t think of the baby wipes. Thanks for that too. I also keep Hydrogen Peroxide for getting up paint stains and instantly cleaning my fingers when I cut them. If you remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding the Father used Windex for everything. Well, it works. I cleaned red enamel spray paint off the rug with Windex and some elbow grease. Clean as a whistle.

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      Barbara June 26, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      I read that there is a touch of aloe and vitamin E in the Huggies Natural Care Fragrance Free Baby Wipes. Those ingredients do not interfere with the stamping ability?

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      Ree Donnelly July 1, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      Madeline, I loved that movie!! And one day I picked up a tube of the anti-itch stuff called “After-bite”…active ingredient: ammonia!!! I cracked up!

  14. Avatar
    Barbara June 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Does the touch of aloe and vitamin E in the Huggie wipes interfere with the performance of the stamps?

    My only contribution is that I just received my order of 3×5 (white) and 4×6 (colors) index cards from Dollar Tree for (you guessed it) $1.00 per set.

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      Nancy Nally June 27, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Typically how I use the wipes is that I clean up the stamps right after using them so the ink isn’t drying & staining on them, or so I can switch colors. After I’m done wiping them, if I’m going to reuse the stamp right away, I will usually dry the stamp off by swiping it on my jeans leg.

      When I’m all done working, I will usually clean the stamps with stamp cleaner to catch the ink bits left behind by the baby wipes (it’s hard to get down in small cracks and corners with them) and that will rinse off anything left by the baby wipes.

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        Barbara June 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

        Thank you SO much. Excellent!

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          Ursula Rosien July 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

          Thank you for your advice! I’ve been using only water to clean my rubber stamps until I get a chance to buy the rubberstamp cleaning solution 🙂
          cheers!
          Ursula

  15. Avatar
    Colleen June 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    I’d add toothpicks to the list. They are a great & disposable tool for applying glue to tiny places & for “cleaning up” glitter globs or to straighten out glitter glue lines on projects.

  16. Avatar
    Ursula Rosien June 27, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    I also use baby wipes mostly to clean my rubber stamps after I use them.
    Do you think this is OK? Or should I use a rubber stamp cleaner solution?
    Thank you for such helpful article 🙂

  17. Avatar
    Shauna June 28, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Ursula,
    Like others here have said, I, too, use baby wipes to clean rubber stamps. I use them on all my stamps not just rubber stamps. I have done this for years and have had no negative effects on my stamps. I do follow up with stamp cleaner when using something like StazOn ink because the baby wipes just don’t do the complete job. So, I wouldn’t worry about using the baby wipes on your stamps!

    I love this list and use every item listed when creating. I also would like to add aluminum foil. It makes a great impromptu craft mat, palette, and scrunched up makes great background texture. Another item I use constantly is freezer paper. Then of course, (although not related to clean-up) there are all those kitchen utensils that are terrific for mark making!

  18. Avatar
    Ree Donnelly July 1, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I also keep a bottle of hand-sanitizer. It gets Copic marker right off your hands!

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    ande spenser July 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    I craft in a variety of ways, from candle and soap making, herby incense and oils, to jewelry, painting, and papercraft. And sewing too…

    I am very fond of everything you mentioned here, as well as stuff in the comments. I can add a few of my own as well.

    Popsicle sticks are a must-have for me, I love to use them to mix up paints, incense dough, anything goopy.

    Someone mentioned freezer paper, which is great for adhering to fabric or tissue paper (just iron it on) and running that through the printer!

    For a much sturdier and non-waxy alternative to wax paper, try silicone parchment paper. Everything comes right off and if you’re careful you can reuse it several times. I like to line my soap molds with it.

    Silicone parchment paper is also good for returning glitter and flocking back to their jars, and for setting things on that you’ve just painted, mod-podged, glittered, flocked, or plastidipped, because it won’t stick to the project. Because it can tolerate high heat, it’s handy when using a hot glue gun.

    That stick-on plastic wrap is good to line wooden trays with if you make candles. The trays (found at michaels or hobby lobby) keep wax from running all over, and the plastic wrap keeps your trays nice. I use a glass jar on a mug warmer to melt my wax, and set that in another tray in case the jar breaks, which happens occasionally.

    A mixture of alcohol, dish soap, and ammonia (find the recipe online) makes a great pen and brush cleaner for india and acrylic ink.