Must-Have Craft Supplies and Tools for Cardmaking Beginners

Last Updated: February 1, 2023

Do you find yourself drowning in the vast selection of craft supplies and equipment in your favorite arts and crafts stores? For cardmaking beginners, it is essential to find not just the best but also inexpensive card making supplies. However, with the plethora of supplies and tools readily available out there, it could get a bit overwhelming to choose which ones to invest in first. Let us take the guesswork out for you! 

We’ve compiled a list of 8 must-have craft supplies for card making beginners! With these essential tools, you can start creating your own beautiful and unique handmade cards for every occasion, event, or celebration.

1. Cardstock and Paper
2. Scissors
3. Adhesives for Cardmaking
4. Crafting Mat or Cutting Mat
5. Stamps
6. Acrylic Blocks
7. Coloring Supplies
8. Washi Tapes 

Must have craft supplies for beginners

What supplies do I need for cardmaking?

So you’ve decided to try your hand at card making but have no idea which card making supplies and tools to use. Don’t worry! In this quick guide to card making, we’ll walk you through the basic craft supplies everyone should have!

1. Cardstock and Paper

When it comes to your card making needs, cardstock and paper should be on top of the list. You’re probably asking, though, what paper is best for card making? The answer is simple: cardstock paper. As the name implies, cardstock paper is a type of paper that is thicker, heavier, and sturdier than regular or standard paper.

White cardstock for card making

12x12 White Cardstock

Here are some characteristics of cardstock paper:

  • It is thicker than regular paper.
  • It is more durable than regular paper. 
  • It is more flexible than paperboard and cardboard.
  • It is thinner than paperboard and cardboard.
  • It comes in various sizes, weights, and colors.
  • Its surface can be smooth, metallic, glossy, or textured.
  • It is heavier and sturdier than standard or regular paper.

Ask any card maker or paper crafter, and they will tell you that cardstock is the best paper for card making. Remember, this is your card’s base - your blank canvas. It is the foundation of your creative work. There’s a wide variety of cardstock and paper that you can choose from. However, it is advisable to invest in both white cardstock and colored cardstock.

These are must-have craft supplies. It’s like having a few basic and neutral-colored pieces of clothing in your closet. A good, sturdy, and high-quality white cardstock can go a long way and ensure that you have an excellent base for your handmade cards. Cardstock also comes in various weights, the most popular ones being 80 lb and 110 lb. You need to consider this depending on the card making techniques and craft supplies and equipment you will use.

Best paper for card making

Altenew Gradient Cardstock

Here are 11 types of cardstock and paper (based on their texture and finish) that you can invest in as you go through your card making journey.

  1. Patterned Paper
  2. Gradient Cardstock
  3. Glitter Cardstock
  4. Woodgrain Cardstock
  5. Vellum Paper
  6. Parchment Cardstock
  7. Acetate Sheet
  8. Birchwood Cardstock
  9. Watercolor Paper
  10. Gold Mirror Cardstock
  11. Gold Foil Cardstock

You don’t need to buy these specialty papers and cardstock right away, especially when you’re just starting out, but it would be handy to have them in your card making arsenal. Patterned papers are card making supplies that will help add more flair and wow factor to your DIY cards and crafts.

Patterned papers for card making

Altenew Patterned Papers

2. Scissors

What does every crafter need? Scissors! While most advanced card makers would recommend a paper trimmer or paper cutter, a good ol’ pair of scissors will do the trick too. While a good paper trimmer is a worthy investment for most paper crafters, it could get a bit pricey. So if you have a decent pair of scissors, you’re good to go.

Scissors are used to cut cardstock into your desired card size, fussy cut stamped images (in case you don’t have the matching dies), cut embellishments, ephemera, and other decorative pieces, and simply cut overhanging pieces. The good news is most online arts and crafts stores carry pre-scored cardstock. This means the cardstock paper is already trimmed to the standard card size, which is 8.5” x 11”. It could also come in other common sizes such as 12” x 12”, 6” x 6”, and 8” x 8”.

Adhesives for card making

Altenew Adhesives

3. Adhesives for Cardmaking

When it comes to adhesives for cardmaking, you can’t just get away with a cheap white glue or Scotch tape. Not to burst your bubble, but you’re going to need something stickier and more permanent than your good old Elmer’s Glue. 

So, what is the best glue for card making?

For beginners, it’s good to have a clear, strong, and permanent adhesive like glue tape. You want something that won’t leave a mess but is strong enough to hold your handmade card’s elements together. After all, you don’t want your embellishments and die-cuts to fall off your card before you even send it to the recipient!

It’s also handy to have a liquid glue pen for putting together smaller and more intricate pieces and foam tape for adding some instant dimension.

Best glue for card making

2 in 1 Precision Glue Pen

Here are some characteristics of a good crafter’s glue:

  • Water-based
  • Quick-drying
  • Non-toxic
  • Non-industrial
  • Can be solid 
  • Can be a liquid adhesive
  • Can be clear adhesive
  • Can be removable adhesive
  • Can be permanent adhesive

Cutting mat and stamping mat bundle

Cutting Mat & Stamping Mat Bundle

4. Crafting Mat or Cutting Mat

If you still haven’t picked it up by now, cardmaking will be a messy hobby. If you have a designated crafting desk that you don’t mind cutting, staining, or ruining, then good for you! However, if you’re using your kitchen table or any other non-crafting table at home, a good crafting mat is ideal for your cardmaking needs.

Craft supplies and equipment for card making

Crafter's Essential Cutting and Alignment Mat

A good crafting mat should protect your work surface, not just from inks, watercolors, alcohol markers, and other spills and stains; it should also ensure that your cardmaking tools aren’t going to be damaged. Look for a crafting mat that is self-healing and durable and will protect your craft knives, rotary cutters, and work surface.

Stamp and ink bundles for card making

Altenew Stamp and Ink Bundles

5. Stamps

When it comes to essential card making supplies, clear photopolymer stamps or acrylic stamps should be on top of your list. Stamping is one of the easiest and quickest ways to turn your handmade cards from zero to 100 in an instant! Thanks to the creativity and innovation of stamp manufacturers, there’s a plethora of clear stamp designs readily available to paper crafters now.

Believe it or not, there’s a stamp design or image out there for all your card making needs. You won’t have trouble looking for creative stamps for card making from, simple thank you stamps and birthday stamps to more complex designs such as unique 3D patterns and realistic floral layering stamps.

Acrylic block set for card making

Acrylic Block Set

6. Acrylic blocks

A stamping block, also known as a clear acrylic block or stamp block, is your secret weapon. Imagine a painter without a paintbrush - that is akin to a stamper without a stamping block. To put it simply, this is a piece of thick clear acrylic. Looking for what is the most useful craft supply for card making? Here it is! A clear acrylic block is usually square or rectangular shaped, but there are some circle-shaped and some with ridges or ripples on the edges for easier grip. Depending on the manufacturer, its thickness ranges from 0.8 inches to 1 inch. It’s good to keep a variety of sizes for different-sized stamp designs. Here are some of the commonly used sizes of acrylic blocks:
  • 2" x 1"
  • 3" x 2"
  • 4" x 3"
  • 6" x 3"

Must-have craft supplies

Medium Acrylic Block

Unlike rubber or wooden stamps for craft, clear acrylic stamps don’t have their own block or platform. They come in an acetate sheet and need to be mounted onto something to use them. It goes without saying that acrylic blocks are must-have craft supplies for every card maker.

Coloring supplies for card making

Altenew Coloring Supplies

7. Coloring Supplies

When it comes to coloring supplies for card making, the sky is the limit! The usual options are inks, alcohol markers, and watercolors. Unless you’re into clean and simple, black and white style cards, you need to add some color to your handmade card projects.

Other creative options you can use to color your backgrounds and stamped images are ink sprays, embossing powders, alcohol inks, and even wax seals. You can even use washi tapes for that uniquely beautiful result!

Inks for paper crafting and card making

Highly-Pigmented Inks for Stamping

8. Washi Tapes

If you’re looking for the craft supplies everyone should have, this is it! A seasoned cardmaker will tell you how many must-have craft supplies there are out there. But if you’re penny-pinching and only want to get the necessary supplies, then you should definitely invest in washi tapes.

Washi tapes for card making

Altenew Washi Tapes

Washi tapes come in a variety of colors, patterns, designs, and sizes. These card making supplies are decorative tapes that are made out of rice paper. If you’ve been into DIY crafts, you have probably come across washi tapes before. Not only are these easy and fun to use, but they are also super versatile. If you’re in need of quick backgrounds on your handmade card, washi tapes are perfect! Want to add color to your stamped or die-cut images? Try washi tapes! Need an exciting and creative border? You can use washi tapes for that too. Now you know why these are craft supplies that everyone should have.

This 10-minute read offers a more comprehensive guide on cardmaking - from its history and manufacturing to its uses in paper crafting and other DIY crafts!

Artist alcohol markers set for card making

Artist Alcohol Markers Primary Essential Set

Where can I buy inexpensive craft supplies?

Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of which cardmaking tools to add to your crafting tool kit, you’re going to want to get your hands on inexpensive craft supplies. Your local crafts store might carry some of these items, but you’ll find the best deals in online crafts stores. The great news is, you don’t need to look far and beyond. Altenew has weekly deals on a wide range of craft supplies and equipment! You can save up to 50% off on select must-have items. If you’re a beginner, it’s ideal to go for discounted and inexpensive craft supplies first to build up your collection.

We hope this quick read on must-have craft supplies for beginner card makers helped you decide which supply to buy first, which one to hoard, and which one to invest in. We wish you good luck in your card making journey! 


  • Altenew

    Thank you, Asma’u! We’re glad to have inspired you to continue crafting. We hope to see your creations soon. Happy crafting! :D

  • Asma'u Muhammad Ibrahim

    Hi….I love making cards I got inspired by some creativity I will send some of my samples to you…. thanks a friend from Nigeria

  • Altenew

    Hi Carol! Thanks for checking out the blog. Welcome to the crafting world, we hope our products inspire you to create! :)

  • Altenew

    Aww sorry to hear about your lost art supplies, Cindy! :( Make sure to watch out for our weekly sales and promotions so you can grab some new crafting supplies at a fraction of the cost. :) Happy crafting!

  • Cindy Jones

    I have been making cards for a few years. Recently, I moved to a different state and the moving company lost many of my things, including my art supplies. I love all the new things I am seeing online and want all of them.
    I just discovered Altenew and am excited to add many of your supplies to my inventory!

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