We lomographers like to expand the limits of our creativity and imagination; hence, we feel the constant need to explore beyond photographs and create something new out of them. If you're the crafty, do-it-yourself type who likes to tinker with your prints and other materials, I've put together a list of essential tools you need to have with you on your crafting station.
We are already familiar with the usual tools and stuff we turn to whenever we feel artsy and crafty: pens, pencils, scissors, cutters, sketch pads, adhesive tapes…so this list does not have any of them. What we have here is a list of suggested tools that will make do-it-yourself fuss-free for the crafty lomographer. So if you’re into making all sorts of experiments, artworks, and projects with your photos and cameras, here’s a list of items you can put together for a DIY kit!
1. X-Acto Knife
Rather than the usual craft knife or cutter, the X-Acto knife is a more durable and precise cutting tool that you can use for a lot of crafting work. Its handy size and grip lets you do more and gives you more control over your cutting work, making it easier for you to trace and cut out shapes and outlines. Replace the blades regularly to make sure your cuts are always as clean and neat as possible.
2. Cutting Mat
The cutting mat is one of the X-Acto knife’s partners; its main purpose is to shield your desk or workstation from damage as you do your cutting work. However, if you’re not familiar with this tool, run your hand across its surface and you will notice that its surface actually helps keep paper, cardboard, and other materials from slipping off. This makes it easier for you to cut prints, paper, and cardboard. Also, cutting mats have grids for accurate measurement as you slice. If you’re going to work with the X-Acto knife and paper or cardstock a lot, you will definitely need this in your crafting station.
3. Metal Ruler
The metal or stainless ruler completes the triumvirate of nifty precision cutting tools. Ordinary plastic rulers bend and break over time, and may even get sliced by the sturdy X-Acto knife. But, metal rulers are obviously more durable and their relatively heavier weight helps keep your hand stable while you draw a line or cut above it. Keep a standard 12-inch for use with the usual A4 or letter size paper and cardboard, and a smaller one for working with smaller projects and materials.
4. Paper Cutter
This is one of my favorite craft tools. As I’ve demonstrated in my Lomo Bookmark tipster, this is a great help when you want to cut paper and cardboard neat and straight. Like the cutting mat, paper cutters also have grids so you can accurately measure as you go cutting along. The one I have is a small one, but if you have a large workstation, I recommend getting an A4-sized paper cutter so you can easily work with A4 and letter size sheets.
5. Blu Tack
It may seem that I’m a fan of Blu Tack as I’ve already included it in my second installment of the Lomographer's Survival Kit. But, this putty-like adhesive also works wonders for your crafting station. Are you working on something for display, like a poster or LomoWall, let’s say? Well, you can use some Blu Tack to temporarily stick your LomoArtwork on a wall or frame so you can see how it looks like before you finalize everything. Should you decide to decorate your room or crafting station with your photos, but do not want to use tapes that could tear paint off the walls, this residue-free adhesive is a great option!
6. Drafting Compass
Do you find yourself looking for round objects of just the right size when you need to draw a neat circle on a piece of paper or cardboard? With a drafting compass, there’s no need for you to scramble for all sorts of round objects just to make a perfect circle. I’m sure there will be times when you need to draw a neat circle for a project, so remember to keep a handy drafting compass on your crafting station!
7. Precision Screwdriver Set
Hardcore DIY lomographers often find themselves wanting to dismantle a spare or camera for a certain modification or experiment (or the other way around and repair it). Therefore, it’s helpful to keep a set of precision screwdrivers inside your toolbox for loosening and tightening those teeny screws with. You’ll never know when you’ll feel the need to tinker with a camera!
8. Self-Retracting Measuring Tape
Sure, you can use the regular plastic measuring tape for sewing, but the self-retracting measuring tape is a sturdier option. Also, these construction grade measuring tapes often come in longer lengths, and are better suited for measuring rooms or exhibit places for LomoWalls, and in general, when you need something longer than a ruler to measure with.
Of course, this one is pretty obvious: you need a toolbox to keep all of your craft tools in. Choose one that has several compartments for storing bits and pieces so they don’t clutter your workspace or mix with the rest of your tools. Make sure you label your crafting toolbox properly so you can tell it apart from your other toolboxes.
10. Plastic Storage Box
And last, but not the least, you need a big plastic storage box to hold all your crafting materials, like cardboard, paper, prints, packaging boxes, film canisters, boards, small frames, paint, glue, fabrics, etc. You may want to use three or more to segregate your materials according to type or use. Aside from ensuring a clutter-free crafting space, storage boxes also help you quickly find the materials you need, so you have more time to work and less time to fumble around.
So, I think that’s pretty much it! These essential tools may differ per lomographer, so if you have your own version that caters to your specific DIY needs, maybe you can share your list with us through a comment below!