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Supplies and Suppliers list

This here is kind of like a FAQ of what materials I use, and where I get them from and where YOU can get them from. It's mostly aimed at Aussie readers, because that's where I live so I know the places, and because we need that little extra hand-up as we don't have the resources and shops available to us that America has.

There are also a few reviews and tips scattered throughout if you can manage to read all the way down!

I hope it helps! I'll be adding to it as time goes on and I take up new hobbies or discover new places to shop.

Carving tools:

My actual carving tools are my grandfathers, and are Marples & Sons brand, which if you can find them, are a few hundred dollars apiece. However, you can get just as good tools for a lot cheaper if you look around!

In Australia:
You can get a pack of about 6 woodcarving tools in Riot Art & Craft, for $15.They have chisel-types and v-gouges, but there isn't a v-gouge narrow enough for my personal tastes. Spotlight doesn't stock gouge tools but they do have knife blades if you prefer those for carving. But try any local art store - ask for woodcarving or lino cutting tools.

Update: If you're lucky enough to be an awesome Melbournite like myself, speed on down to the Melbourne Etching Supplies store where you can browse their plethora of carving tools. They even have a Speedball cutter - $3 a head. Plus many more that I haven't personally investigated, but go and take a look yourself and see which takes your fancy!

In America:
Although I haven't physically been there, your local Michaels or Joanns or Hobby Lobby should have these. They also should stock rubber or lino for cutting too. You lucky, lucky Americans. I was actually able to find some online at Dick Blicks (obviously they have them in-store too, but here is the link if you don't want to get off your couch): Dick Blick's lino cutters, suitable for stamp carving.

Speedball Lino Cutters
Look for "Speedball Lino Cutter". These are what I stock in my hand carved stamp kits and they are fantastic tools! What they are is a handle with interchangeable heads from very fine v-gouges to a flat knife blade. I would, however, recommend that you buy at least 1 extra handle because I can imagine it would get a little irritating to have to stop your carving all the time just to change heads. Online, the heads are about $2 a piece and the handles are about $5.

Erasers as carving material:

Erasers are a great place to start when you first get into carving. They're very cheap and readily available, but eventually you will find the size limiting (you can only carve eraser-size stamps!) and as a carving material it is the least durable out there. As a general rule, the harder erasers will hold details better than the really soft erasers, however too hard and crumbly means pieces will break off.

Other carving materials:

Start off with erasers, because they are cheap and readily available. But once you get sick of being restrained to an eraser-sized space, you'll want to branch out to bigger and better materials.

In Australia:
I've not been able to find a stockist for carving material (aside from lino) in Australia - you'll have to look online.

In America:
I've heard that your local or Joanns (they stock Staedtler Mastercarve) or Hobby Lobby (they stock Speedy Carve) should have some cutting materials. Stay away from Speedy Cut - it gets hard and crumbles easily over time.
You might also like to try scrapbooking stores, as stamping is something that scrapbookers like to do to accessorise their pages - they will definitely have the laser cut stamps, but they might also have some stamp-making supplies as well.

Just go and buy a Stampeaz Sampler, trust me.  it's $20 (which I actually think is good value), and it has 1 block of PZ Kut A grade, 1 block of PZ Kut B grade, 1 block of Staedtler brand Mastercarve, and 1 block of Speedball Speedy carve, so you can try them all out. These are the major 3 carving material brands if you're going for rubber over lino (I don't know anything about lino so I'll leave an explanation of that up to someone else).
PZ Kut: Comes in two colours (bright orange or white) and two grades (A or B) and is the firmest of the 3 brands of rubber. There isn't a lot of difference between the two grades, just a flew flaws which rubbing the surface of the rubber with some acetone (nail polish remover) should remove. There is, however, a difference between the orange and white apart from just colour.
PZ Kut orange: Pencil won't write well on this stuff, so my method of transferring my image on doesn't work. Pen works fine, and you can get rid of it later with acetone. Orange is, however, the better colour if you carve your stamps with a knife as each knife cut will make the slit in the rubber appear a lighter shade so you can actually tell where you've cut! This doesn't hapen with white rubber. It is also slightly more firmer than the white PZ Kut so that means you can get better detail when carving things like lettering.
PZ Kut White: Pencil will write on it, yay! Apart from a slight difference in firmness that's pretty much really the only difference between white and orange. V-gouges are suitable for both colours.

Speedball Speedy Carve: Like the others, very nice to carve. Middle of the range as far as softness/hardness goes. There are sometimes a few flaws in the surface of the stamp but these can be gotten rid of by arranging your image so that the pimple/dimple will be carved away, or you can treat it to an all-over acetone rub. However, as far as I can tell, the last 1/8" of the block tapers down and is therefore unusable. I don't know why it does this - perhaps the way they mold the rubber or cut it into the squares? So as soon as you pull it from the packet, just cut this 1/8" section from the end.

Staedtler Mastercarve: This is, quite literally, a GIANT Staedtler eraser. It's really quite thick - a lot thicker than what you'd want for a stamp, so cut this baby in two (like cutting a bun for a salad roll) and you'll have double the materials. Mastercarve is the softest out of all of the carving materials and it's super nice to carve in, but it's better for stamps with solid printable images, rather than fine detail.

E-Z Cut from Dick Blicks: I haven't actually used this myself, but I've heard good reports about it.

Ink pads:

Well first it depends on what you want to do! Stamp on fabric or paper? You can by all means use a regular ink pad to stamp on fabric, but if you plan on washing or wetting the fabric ever again you'll want a fabric ink pad so it's permanent.
The number one thing you should be looking for when buying an ink pad, is to make sure the pad is RAISED UP from the base. This means you can use any size stamp on it.
Ink pads come in various sizes from really tiny (those 'dew drop' pads) to the bigger business card-sized pads. It doesn't really matter what size you buy, really, since you can just rub the stamp pad over your stamp to get it all covered (hence why the pad has to be raised up from the base). The benefit of buying a dew drop sized pad is that you can use several of them to ink up different parts of your stamp and make a multicoloured print! You can also buy big long ink pads that already have different coloured strips, like a rainbow stamp. These are fun but if you're going to be using the stamp more than once without washing inbetween, make sure you press it down on the same place along the rainbow as you did before so you don't transfer colours - once you've got a smudge of a different colour on an ink pad, it's impossible to remove.

Fabric ink pads (craft ink):
Acrylic based and water soluable until heat set with a hairdryer, embossing gun or iron (I use an iron). Once dry you can watercolour over them, whiich is quite a nice effect. These pads are ideal for fabric, wood, leather, as well as your paper.
I ordered mine online at, and shipping was too expensive for me to order from here again. I really LOVE this brand of stamp for regular stamps (I think they're called Colourbox - my mother's had some for 10-15 years and they haven't dried out a bit), but I don't like their fabric stamps. They're nice and full of ink, but the colours aren't what was displayed online (the cocoa is actually a red, and the olive more yellow than green). But for non-fabric ink pads, I would get this brand in a second.
Versacraft: (Formerly called Fabrico) I got mine off so I can't really recommend an online store, but doing a google search will bring up plenty. Just like with the Crafter's pads, you heat set them with the iron to make the printing permanent.

Paper ink pads (dye or pigment ink):
Spotlight I know carries a huge range of ink pads in every sort of colour imaginable, as well as embossing powder and all sorts of other stamp paraphrenalia.
As Standgale suggested (see comments), scrapbooking stores are another good place to start your search, as stamping is something scrapbookers like to do to accessorise their pages.
Dye ink: These are water based (which means they'll run if they get wet, but they are washable if you manage to stamp yourself!) and dry quickly. These are ideal for your basic stamping. They are transparent, which means you can get some nice blending effects with layering stamps, but they do fade a little over time.
Ancient Page is from the same brand as Colorbox, but is a dye ink (whereas Colorbox is pigment). Chalk inks are also dye inks - I haven't tried these but they look fun! The dye ink pad that I use is Marvy Matchables. Nice strong colours, but the only down side I see is that the lids don't lock on - tip the pads upside down and the lids will fall right off.
Pigment ink: These are oil-based (hard to wash out of your clothes) and acid free (good for scrapbooking or archival stuff). They are slow drying and will not dry on glossy paper unless heat set. Their slow drying properties make them the ink pad of choice if you're into embossing (which I won't go into here because I have actually never tried it so I have no idea how it works).
My favourite pigment ink pads are the Colorbox. Just do a google search for them and you'll see why - GORGEOUS colours, nice glooshy soft pads, and they last forever.

Fabric (in Australia):

I almost exclusively go to Spotlight. They don't stock designer fabrics but they do have a huge range of quilting, dress and upholstery fabrics as well as batting, thread, notions, craft items, etc - so really, I love a store where you can get everything you need in one place!

Lincraft: I have become disillusioned with this franchise - they seem to sell 20% sewing items, 80% pre-made crap like belts, bags, accessories. I  want to make my own stuff, that's why I've come to a making-store! I haven't been to the Melbourne City store for years, but last time I was there it was still decent.

For better quality and more unique prints I go to Patchwork with Gail B in Bayswater. It's a small section in her father's tile store (Keith Fagg tiles if you're doing a google map search), so it's easy to drive past. It's a tiny tiny store but with over 10'000 bolts of fabric, it's a little slice of heaven. I would STRONGLY recommend the drive out here if you live closer to the city - it's worth it. If you're looking for a specific fabric and they don't have it, they'll order in a bolt for you if you're willing to buy at least a metre.

I'm also a big fan of Amitie Textiles in Bentleigh. Like Gail B's, this is a mecca for quilters! She has everything from designer fabrics, to novelty prints, to florals, to cute Japanese prints!

Clegs: Sells primarily dress-making fabric.


In Australia:
Winterwood - Steiner Inspired Toys sells, amongst many other delicious supplies, wool felt. Located in Park Orchards, Victoria - if you can't make it down here then you can always order online!

You can also buy acrylic felt or wool blend from Spotlight or Lincraft, but it's a bit hit and miss as far as quality goes.

A Child's Dream
Colonial Crafts
Magic Cabin
Wool Felt Central


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
Hi again Miss cheese.
For other stuff to carve into you could try a company called Zart art - they haven't got their online shop up yet but they are online and will send you a catalogue - they are our big suppliers for school art stuff and have lots of stuff - we did some carving last year.

ric rac
Jul. 21st, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
stampeaz says they don't ship to New Zealand :(
(I wish places that didn't ship to your country wouldn't include it in the drop down box for registration - if you can't ship there, why let people register, and raise false hopes? :(
Jul. 21st, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
For serious? That sucks of them - it would be nice to know before you go through all the filling in of forms and signing up. You might be better off with Dick Blicks - they have some Staedtler here too:
Jul. 21st, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
I know - who wouldn't ship to NZ? How weird.
I was going to buy the starter kit from them - well, so long as the postage wasn't too much, but I definitely wanted to buy it.
The ribbon place you posted about in the other post DOES ship to NZ however, which is good! They don't state what currency the prices are in, I assume it is Australian$, but if I were them I'd state it on the "shopping cart" page at least, just to be clear, as the internet is an international place. (I have so many criticisms of people's websites, it seems!)
Jul. 21st, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)
It seems so strange that they wouldn't ship to NZ but they shipped to me here in AUS? We're like.. right across from each other (I'm in Victoria). If you want, you can ship it to me then I'll ship it to you from here?
Jul. 21st, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Further to supplies, for others reading, recently special scrapbooking shops have opened up around here, and although I already checked there for stamp supplies and they only had pre-made stamps and ink pads, there may be similar shops around you that do have more stamping supplies.
I mention this because I wouldn't have thought that, 1. there would be large shops devoted only to scrapbooking, and 2. that stamps had anything to do with scrapbooking (I was looking for paper - amazingly, since paper's almost all they sell, they didn't have any that was anything like what I was looking for).
Jul. 21st, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)
Scrapbooking stores can also be a source of shrinky dink plastic! Also for various sizes of hole punch (and other shapes, so many other shaped punches) AND corner rounders and stuff like that.
Jan. 4th, 2009 09:44 am (UTC)
Wool felt supplier
If you live near Heaven Scent, then you're near me too (I'm off Eastfield Rd) - try any of the many patchwork shops around the area for wool felt. Patchworkers often use it and, from time to time, most of the patchwork shops will have it (but not usually Gail Bs). Email me if you want some shop names & addys (quat at dodo dot com dot au).
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
Hello there,
I happened accross your site from reading about you on the stitches and craft website. I really love what you do, I seem to be addicted to craft blogs lately I can't stop trawling for them. I especially love to find crafty aussies!
Anyhoo I saw you mention clearsnap and the colorbox/crafters/ancient page inks etc and thought you and your readers may be interested to know that an Aussie company called Kaszazz is the Australian distributor for clearsnap! And it just so happens I am an independant consultant for Kaszazz (kind of like party plan but not) and I sell all those great inks you mentioned (as well as unmounted rubber stamps and scrapbooking supplies and so on). I am happy to post out orders etc so if anyone would like more info feel free to email me
I am located in Shepparton Victoria but there are consultants Australia wide if you would like to see the inks in person. I love the ancient page inks and have just bought myself a set of the crafters (which I need to find time to play with).
Anyway I will be in melbourne this weekend so Holly I hope to stop by your stand at stitches. I would love to do one of your workshops but time is limited as I'm there for the Kaszazz conference so perhaps I'll buy a kit (or two, or three).
happy craftin' always
May. 7th, 2010 08:50 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh Keith Fagg is around the cnr from one of my places & i never knew that Gail B's existed!! Thanks soooo much for the heads up. I'll be sure to visit next time I am in Oz. Just down the road from Spotlight too :) Shopping experience waiting to happen!!

Cheers Sugalove
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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Copyright Holly McGuire 2008 - 2010. I hope your visit here has been inspiring but please respect my designs and ideas as my own! I'm happy for you to share my photos, written content & tutorials on your site but please ask first before taking anything and please do not reproduce my tutorials in full. Links, however, are always welcome!

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