- Self-healing cutting mat
- Steel rulers (150mm & 300-400mm)
- Scalpel (No. 11 blade No. 3 handle and/or No. 25 blade No. 4 handle) or ‘X-Acto’ knife
- Small ‘Snap off’ blade retractable knife
- Flat pilers (very quick way to snap off new retractable knife edges)
- Dual tip marker pens (Black and Warm Grey 9, 5 and 2 are very useful)
- Small engineers square or small section of angled steel.
- Two cheap combination squares mounted onto one ruler (a great way to hold elements square when gluing)
- Large and small glue sticks (ideal for applying printed sheets to card)
- All purpose clear or quick setting PVA adhesive in a fine point applicator bottle.
- Small jar of methylated spirit with cotton tips (great for dabbing away small spots of unwanted glue - test solvent on scrap print first!)
- Damp cloth (To wipe glue off fingers)
- Soft make-up brush and weathering powders
- Small sanding block (with fine sand paper to smooth rough edges)
- Rubber print makers roller or wallpaper roller
Using Self Adhesive Label PaperSelf adhesive label paper works well for the card mounted sheets but isn't particularly easy to work with when trying to wrap prints around 'Base layers'.
The longevity of the adhesive can be an issue with some label sheets.
Mount the sheets with the card 'grain'
If you card is not forming smooth curves or score lines, before mounting the sheets on to the card, check which way the card ‘grain’ is running. Generally all card and paper with roll smoothly in only one direction, I alway try design folds and score lines to run with the grain of most A4 sheets of paper (portrait), try to glue the sheets on to the card with the grains running the same way.
It is strongly recommended giving sheets several light even coats of artist's matt spray varnish (used to fix chalk and pastel drawings and available from most art supply shops). This helps protect the print surface during construction and reduces fading and discolouration. Always test the varnish on a scrap print before applying to your kit!
- As you are cutting, try to keep the blade at a shallow angle, this avoids a rough ‘ploughed’ edge either side of the cut.
- Use a small ‘Snap off’ blade retractable knife for cutting out the card mounted ‘Base layers’.
- Remember, snap off a new edge regularly (card blunts blades very quickly).
- Never apply excess pressure to the knife, it’s easier to cut through heavy card with several lighter slices rather than a single cut.
- Use a scalpel or ‘X-acto’ knife to cut out the ‘Print only’ ‘Cover layers’.
Cutting out window openings:
- Use a fresh scalpel or x-acto blade!
- Try to cut away from each corner, this avoids over cutting.
- For smooth edges always ensure the steel ruler is sitting over the frame side of the window openings.
Cutting longer curves:
- Cut on a large level cutting surface so you can rotate the job easily without obstruction.
- Use a sharp blade! Snap off a new blade every few cuts.
- Always work from 'inside' the curve (ie as though the blade is attached to a compass with you at the centre)
- Try to cut the full length of the curve, stopping and starting will produce 'kinks'. If you do have to stop mid curve, when you restart always backtrack along the existing cut.
Cutting circles and shorter curves
- Again, use a sharp blade!
- The easiest way to cut out smaller circles is to use a series of straight slices that are tangential to the circle.