My Favorite Things

It’s really hard to come up with a limited list of favorite items! There are a lot of products I use, and I love most of them. However, there are definitely a set of products that are my go-to’s.

Stampin’ Up! Products
Stamp Sets
Tool Basics
Copic Markers
Dies & Punches

My Favorite Stampin’ Up! Products

I have a whole page dedicated to what I think are the must-have, uniquely Stampin’ Up! products!

My Favorite Stamp Sets

My favorites tend to change on a regular basis, so I will continue to update this page periodically. Regarding Stampin’ Up! stamps, I will only list sets that you can purchase (i.e. sets not retired). The problem is that they regularly retire some of my favorites! Anyway, here are my current favs:

Did you know that I have made all the stamp sets on my blog searchable? For example, if you enter “tiny stars” into the search box (located in the blue menu bar above), you’ll see a list of my blog posts that use that set.

My Favorite Inks

I do a lot of embossing, so Versamark is probably my top choice here.

For Copics and just plain sentiment stamping, I love Memento. Tuxedo Black and Rich Cocoa are must-haves.

I love Stampin’ Up! colors for their vibrancy. My favorite colors are Tempting Turquoise, Wild Wasabi, Chocolate Chip, Daffodil Delight, Melon Mambo, and Pumpkin Pie.

Who doesn’t love Ranger Distress Inks?? My favorite colors are Broken China, Peeled Paint, Antique Linen, Squeezed Lemonade, Spiced Marmalade, Barn Door, Picked Raspberry, Dusty Concord, and Walnut Stain.

I’m also a huge fan of pigment inks. Check out my Pigment Inks 101 post if you haven’t already. I’ve invested in the Memento Luxe inks and I love them.

Finally, I love Versafine inks because they are awesome on polymer clear stamps. An AMAZING crisp, clear image. But beware, as it stays wet for awhile. I use Black Onyx and Sepia.

So you ask, what about StazOn? I don’t use it much, but it is a must for stamping on acetate. Because it’s permanent and won’t bleed, it’s a great ink for watercoloring too.

My Favorite Paper

It’s really important to use the right paper with the right medium.

For Stampin’ Up! inks, you really need to use Stampin’ Up! cardstock. I buy Whisper White like it’s going out of style. The paper absorbs the ink beautifully – these products were designed to work together. I compared the use of Stampin’ Up! ink on Stampin’ Up! paper and Neenah paper with some photos in THIS POST.

For Copics and colored pencils, I use Neenah Solar White cardstock. The Neenah cardstock really blends the Copics well with not a lot of bleeding. And, for colored pencils, this cardstock allows for a really smooth application. When I use SU cardstock with colored pencils, the color goes on really waxy and does’t blend very well.

As far as colored cardstock goes, I keep Chocolate Chip, Early Espresso and Basic Black on hand. I rarely use other colors. Instead, I will take white and make my own using inks.

I also make sure I have watercolor paper handy. My favorite brand is 90lb Strathmore. It’s thick but not too thick, and it has a fairly smooth surface so you can still heat emboss on it. It doesn’t pill up or tear when you apply water to it. This paper is also great for blending Stampin’ Up! markers. And, of course, it’s ideal for using an Aqua Painter.

If you’re a regular blog reader, you know that I am not a fan of patterned paper. I think it’s because I just don’t know what to do with it, lol! I use it occasionally on a card, but I will say that I use it A LOT in my scrapbooking. There’s just no way I am creating my own paper for all those scrap pages!!

My Favorite Tool Basics

As far as the necessities, I prefer these:

  • Heat Tool – I use a Stampin’ Up! heat tool. It’s pretty quiet, which is great because I do a lot of crafting after the kids go to sleep!
  • White Gel Pen. I have used several different brands and the Uniball Signo Broad Tip Pen is the absolute best. It is awesome for faux stitching, dots, and general coloring. I will say, however, that if you plan to use it for handwriting in small print, it might be a little difficult. It has a lot of ink coming through, so fine lines are not what it’s good for.
  • For covering a panel of white cardstock with ink, you need an Ink Blending Tool. I have 8 of these with a rack that holds them. I find that 8 is about the minimum you need without having to constantly switch the pads that are adhered with velcro. So, I have one for pinks and reds, one for yellows, one for blues, etc. You can use a sponge for applying ink, but you don’t get the same coverage. I created a video on how to use Stampin’ Up! ink pads with these blending tools (it’s the second video on this page). I tried six different ink brands with this technique in my Die Ink Comparison.
  • For inking edges in a very small and subtle way, I use sponge daubers. These little finger-fitting ink applicators allow you to be very precise in your ink application. They are great for small things like leaves, owls, and just when you want a fine edge of color. As with the ink blending tools, I have one for each color family. They come in a package of 12 for $10.95.
  • I get so many questions about my Ranger craft sheet. It is awesome and completely indestructible. I heat emboss on it, ink on it, glue on it, you name it. All it takes is a little wipe with a cloth and it’s back to its original condition. One thing though – if you wrap a present on your craft sheet, a scissor will cut it right in half!!
  • I have two paper piercers. One I use for poking holes in paper, like on this card and this card. The other one I use for picking up small things. I found that if I dip it into some glue, little pieces of paper, such as owl eyes and little hearts will stick to it. I also use it for picking up pearls and gems. I’m sure you’ve also seen me use it for dying string! I’m telling you, it’s one of the most versatile items I own!
  • Of course, a big-time necessity is a paper trimmer. I’ve been through all kinds – plain blades, rotary blades, choppers, etc. It’s weird how so many of them just don’t cut a straight line! (Um, or maybe it’s user error!). I’ve been using the EK Tools trimmer for a long time and am very happy with it. It used to be called the Cutterpede trimmer, but they recently changed the name and packaging.
  • Another absolute necessity for stamping wood-block mounted stamps is a stamp-a-ma-jig. It’s a little right-angle tool that helps you line up your stamps so that your image come out exactly perfectly. I use it pretty much anytime I’m working with a wood block stamp.
  • Another multi-purpose product is Eclipse Masking Tape. I use it mostly for masking, but I also use it to hold my die in place when running it through my big shot. I purchase mine in a tall roll, but now they only sell it in sheets. It’s reusable! So, mine is lasting a very long time. I’ll use a piece several times before retiring it to the trash.
  • Finally, I love my Sizzix Big Shot. I started with a Cricut machine. Then I moved to a Silhouette. But honestly, the Sizzix is just so simple. No cartridge and keypad, no pressure dials, no sticky sheet that moves, etc. Granted, it’s not nearly as flexible and you can’t cut all different sizes, but sometimes less is more.

My Favorite Copic Colors

With 346 colors, how can you choose? I recently went into my craft room and asked myself, “If I had to start over, what would I purchase?” I really like 3-color combos, as it gives you enough color variation to blend. So, I pulled out my favorite combinations and colored some examples for you. I would choose the combos you like below and start there. As far as E’s go, I would choose your favorite. And, I would get either the W or C set to start. Click the image to enlarge: CopicFavColors-sm
I also recommend getting the Colorless Blender. You’ll also need Copic-friendly paper and ink. I use Neenah Solar White cardstock and Memento inks, Tuxedo Black (at Ellen Hutson or Simon Says Stamp) and Rich Cocoa (at Ellen Hutson or Simon Says Stamp).

I wrote a short post on getting started with Copics. I also created a beginner’s tutorial. I have all sketch markers. You can buy the markers for $5.24 each at Dick Blick. Ellen Hutson sells them for $6 per marker (they also sell lots of other crafty goodies to add to your order).

My Favorite Watercolor Products

Watercolor is so popular right now, and there are so many great techniques when it comes to using water with inks, markers, and pencils. The most basic watercolor supply you need is watercolor paper. I use Strathmore 90lb paper. It’s thin enough to layer, yet thick enough to withstand the water and not warp too much.

When it’s time to apply color, there are three products I use regularly…

  • Inktense Pencils – these pencils are incredibly vibrant, and they are really easy to use. Not only that, they work great as a dry pencil. I have the 72-count set, but I think the 24-count set is probably sufficient for a beginner.
  • Distress Markers – my favorite use for distress markers is watercolor. Just use the same technique as the Inktense pencils – color your cardstock, then blend with water.
  • Peerless Watercolors – These watercolors come on a swatch of paper, believe it or not. The amount of color that is released from this paper is truly amazing. These watercolors are a little more difficult to use, but the results you can get with multiple layers is truly artistic. If you want to take your coloring to the next level, these watercolors are the way to go. You can check out my Peerless Watercolor Review for more information. I would purchase the basic pack AND the bonus pack.

The only other product I would recommend is an Aqua Painter. Stampin’ Up! sells them in a two-pack, one has a thin tip and the other is thicker. Ranger also sells a wide waterbrush that is much larger and works great for backgrounds. You can use a regular old paintbrush, and sometimes I do, but I love how these brushes have a built-in water tube that supplies water to the brush automatically.

My Favorite Dies and Punches

Stampin’ Up! sells some Sizzix dies that are made exclusively for Stampin’ Up!. I especially love the Top Note Die and Beautiful Wings Embosslit.

Simon Says Stamp has some amazing dies. My favorite is probably the A2 Curve die. I also love Heart Parade, Butterfly Drift, and Borders and Frames. You can search this site for cards I have used these products on.

As far as punches go, it’s no secret that I love the Owl Punch. I also use the Modern Label Punch and the Decorative Label Punch a lot for sentiments. The new Elegant Butterfly Punch is awesome.

My Favorite Embellishments

I really don’t use a lot of embellishments on my cards. I definitely use a lot of string. I love Stampin’ Up! Linen Thread, which matches pretty much anything. I also love plain white bakers twine, which you can dye with ink and water to match your card. A lot more economical than buying string in every color!

I will occasionally use pearls. I have this pearl set by Stampin’ Up! that is awesome because it has a ton of every size. None of this “3 of this size, 3 of that size”.

You can color clear rhinestones with Copic markers. Instantly, you have any color gem you need! Love that. And this set of clear rhinestones from Stampin Up!, again, like the pearls, has a ton of every size.

Probably the only other thing I use consistently is Ranger Stickles Glitter Glue. So clean and easy.

My Favorite Adhesives

There’s nothing cool about this category, so it’s last, lol! I use my ATG gun for adhering big items, like full size card panels. For small things, thin things, and string, I use the Stampin’ Up! Two-Way Glue Pen. This glue pen is so easy and it sticks fast – no waiting and holding.

For popping up card pieces like flowers and little animals, I use Stampin’ Up! Dimensionals. And for super-stick, I use mini glue dots. You can roll them into a ball or into a snake – and it ain’t coming off. You’ll find them under every butterfly I put on my cards.

Okay, I think that covers it. Wow, that’s a lot of stuff! Questions? Feel free to email me.


  1. Nadia Alam says:

    I saw a fushia pink colour and it was a watery intense and adds a little affect into the card and gives a nice background also There is club and does arts and crafts. There are card-making designs and projects and I saw a lady making the card and it’s pretty basic technique, it gives a embossing texture to the card and finishes it with a glowing touch to it!

  2. Marcia Simmons says:

    Just watched your owl videos, loved them!!!! However I couldn’t get the trifold shutter happy birthday one to open and was curious on how you attached some that are hanging off the panels??? Also how you attached the hats?? Thanks for any help!

  3. Kim Scales says:

    Hello Darlene,
    Thank you for the tutorials. I am going to try the Neenah cardstock. It seems to be economical. I will continue to use whisper white also. My question is do you use the same Neenah brand for cards? Thank you, Kim Scales

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Hi Kim, yes I almost always use Neenah for my card base.

      • Kim Scales says:

        Hi Darlene,
        I meant to ask about envelopes, not cards, but I found an answer where you said you have a large stash of 500 envelopes that you continue to use. So, thank you for that information. K.S.

  4. Hi, Darlene: I am just getting into card making (did scrapbooking in past). I find your videos are the best for the way I like to be taught.. I especially like the calm quiet way you share info. Thank you for all your great work! You are SO creative!!! Julie

  5. Cherie Costar says:

    I have just started collecting art supplies to do art Journalling. I don’t scrapbook or make cards. Many cards I see are just not my style – overdone & old fashioned. But I really like what you do. Simple and clean. I appreciate your informative videos. Easy to follow and professional. Thank you very much, all the way from New Zealand. πŸ™‚

  6. Gloria Taylor says:

    Thank you, Darlene for these awesome tips & ideas. It is also good to read the “get started” because sometimes we can forget how we started in this great & fun hobby!

  7. Love the list of Favorites! I have some of it but will definitely be adding a lot more.

  8. Iman Suraya says:

    Thnx! Darlene and I seriously love ur stamps:) Ps I’m only 12!β—οΈβ˜ΊοΈHehhe thnx again!

  9. Hi Darlene, I just wanted to ask what is the best brand or website to get stamp sets that come together with its own die cuts….. and the best coloured ink pad brand…. TQ

  10. Cynthia Tuttle says:

    I just love that adorable reindeer paper too!! I would have a hard time cutting into that gorgeous paper, it’s too cute to use!!

  11. Mateena says:

    Darlene, love all your work. It inspires me to the fullest and thank you so much for it! I had a question about embossing powders. In your opinion which brand do you believe gives the best results?
    Thanks so much!

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Thanks Mateena! I used to use the cheap ones at JoAnn’s, then I upgraded to Stampin’ Up! and could really tell a difference – especially with the black. I have tried American Crafts with good results, but honestly, I haven’t purchased any other brands because I’ve been happy with SU.

  12. I too have made my order with the new catalog. I should have waited …. would have liked to maybe buy the same stamps as you. will you be posting your list ? Thanks again for your creations. You have followers !

  13. Mary in Iowa says:

    Thanks for the list of copics. Do you have a short list of Intense pencils that you keep gravitating to? If t he go with SU paper, it would be even better. Thanks. I love your videos.

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Hi Mary, so far I think I’ve used Poppy Red and Fushia the most. I haven’t used them enough to have go-to’s for the other colors. Because I haven’t had a good experience with Prismacolor and SU, I haven’t really tried SU with Inktense.

  14. Meli Isen says:

    love the list….wish i would have had it sooner lol…i have a bunch of miss match stuff that i have used once and never seem to use again….and my hubby said (after i have filled a china hutch and about 6 totes ) that i have a problem πŸ™‚ ….lol maybe i do…but really it combines to of my fav things…. crafts and shopping πŸ™‚ thanks again for the list!!!

  15. Hihi…thank you so much for sharing. It’s really useful for a 1st timer like me. Your art pieces are so wonderful…hope to see more of your crafts.

  16. I wanted to get into crafting of some sort, so first I checked out Pinterest to get some ideas. Found great ones and stumbled across your link and can’t stop watching your card making creations! I love the videos where you also explain what your doing while your doing the card. I am a beginner (really beginning beginner) and I just want to go nuts and buy EVERYTHING for every card you make so I can be equally prepared as you always are. So far I have a collection of 2 memento inks, 3 stamps, 2 packages of multiple card stock colors, AND thanks to you I ordered a few things on stampin’ up! Obviously I’m not a millionaire to go get everything in one day (unfortunately) haha but it takes time and I can’t wait until the time is where I have an extensive of a collection as you! Thank you for your videos! Truly inspirational!!

  17. Mary Ann Huntington says:

    Thank you for taking the time to make this list. I’ve bought most of what’s listed since I watch you all year and note what to buy after each of your videos. You are so helpful and I love your tutorials. Thank you Darlene for sharing your talent. You are so amazing.

  18. Van Gryebet says:

    Merry Christmas Darlene! It’s New Year’s Eve and I am running through ur favorite things again…for the 120,432th time! LOL. So, I noticed you said u r trying a new company other than SU/ Hero Arts. I am now very intrigued. When was your last update? Or am I behind? HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Hi Van! Actually, I just updated this page yesterday, but I guess I forgot to take that part out – it was about a year ago when I wrote that. I’ve used several other companies since then and reported during my weekly posts. Thanks for the catch!

  19. Thank you so much for the Favorites list. I am contemplating signing up to be an S U demonstrator under my S U demonstrator who is fairly new. So this list has really helped me to know what to order.

  20. Thank you for telling me about Stampin` Up cardstock and inks are being made to work together! I have used S.U. products for years and not one Demonstrater has ever brought that to my attention . I know about all the Copic markers and the best products to use with them and Close To My Heart makes their stamp cleaner to work best on their acrylic stamps . Now I guess I will be buying Whisper White and Very Vanilla cardstock .

  21. Hi i wanna now is there a web page like ebay or something that i could buy this items/products?

    • Darlene DeVries says:

      Aneta – there is “Supply List” at the end of each blog post that contains links to buy the products.

  22. 1- does anyone know how to find a list of Copic Filling Stations? I live in Southeast Michigan and need refills.

    2 – What paper do you like for Copic markers – I’ve mostly used Copic paper

  23. Awesome list, can’t believe Copics are that cheap there! Thanks so much πŸ™‚

  24. Thank you for taking the time to make that list. There are so many products out there and as a beginner it can get overwhelming.

  25. Darlene – your tutorial on the use of the Ranger pads for distressing the card stock is really helpful. I always have trouble getting smooth coverage and I think I know what to do now. Thank you so much for sharing all your ideas and suggestions with us. You’re the best!

  26. Thank you so much, Darlene. I love your videos, and I’ve already taken your advice from many of them in my product choices. They’re working out beautifully. Keep ’em coming!

  27. Wow! Love your favorties! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  28. Hello Darlene: Goodnes!!!!! Long list of favorite things…..Some I have, some I need and some I will get ASAP. This ASAP items are the Ink Blender Tools and that big ATG gun. I’ve gotten some of your favorite stamp sets after seeing you create your amazing cards. Thanks for taking the time to post this list. It will help a lot when I go shopping, Yippy!!!!!
    PS. As always, I can’t wait to see your Wednesday creation.

  29. Love the list of your faves, Darlene. Now I’ll have to view some of the videos. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Thanks for the list, Darlene! It is always helpful to see what others are using on great cards. What a wonderful resource for the beginning stamper. Happy Tuesday!

  31. Francine G says:

    Great list , thank you Darlene. I love copics but did not know where to start. I think I will follow your advise and get 2 or 3 shades of each colors…and take the plunge into Copic colorings! Thank you again for your great videos every wednesdays. Can’t wait to see what you will come up with this week…..

  32. Dulce Salvi says:

    uau, Darlene! Adorei sua lista…

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