DIY Tools of the Trade

As you may well know, if you have been following me for at least four months, I’m a big fan of do-it-yourself. I love making things myself, especially things that have something to do with traveler’s notebooks. Of course, there are some basic tools that one needs when doing DIY, and I’d like to share a list of the most-used tools I use when I DIY. Most of these are bought at National Bookstore (NBS), unless otherwise stated.



A good pair of sharp scissors will come in handy with almost any crafting project. I usually have two pairs – a larger one for cutting bigger pieces of paper or elastic, and a smaller one for more finicky cutting such as fussy cutting around my daughter’s drawings to put in my journals. The smaller one can even fit in my traveling craft case, so I will always have a pair of scissors with me when I know I will have time to do some crafting. Fortunately, various sizes and types of scissors are available in NBS.

Box Cutter and Cutting Mat


When I need to cut through several layers of paper or thick cardstock, I usually go with my box cutter and cutting mat (not pictured). This, I found, gives me a good clean edge especially for projects such as TN inserts. I invested in a relatively expensive box cutter, which is made with metal instead of the much cheaper plastic versions. I find that this gives me a good grip and helps me bear down on the paper much better. Replacement blades are widely available as well. The cutting mats come in different sizes and can either be rubber or plastic. I like the rubber ones much better, especially the self-healing ones (although of course those are more expensive). The rubber has a better grip and will not let the paper that you are cutting slide all over the mat.

Metal Ruler


This actually goes with the box cutter and cutting mat setup, since I will need a straight edge to guide my blade. I find that metal rulers are much better with this function since there will be no chance that the blade will cut through the metal (unlike plastic). I would really have preferred a heavier kind of metal ruler, but this one I bought at NBS is a very light metal ruler.

Swivel Stapler


This swivel stapler is primarily used (exclusively, even!) for insert-making. With enough practice, I am now able to accurately place the head of the stapler so that the staple will go into the crease perfectly aligned. This particular stapler can handle up to 20 sheets of regular weight paper (80gsm) or 25 sheets of thin paper (Tomoe River). I like this stapler because it has a good weight to it, and has been dependable enough to give me quite a bit of inserts by this time. I found this at NBS (brand is D’Expertise), but I find that the stocks are quite spotty. There are news of another brand of swivel stapler being seen in NBS as an alternative.

Eyelet Setter


In the making of actual traveler’s notebooks, eyelets are usually used to protect the holes that the elastics are looped in. This particular eyelet setter also has its own built in hole punch, which I use to punch in the holes first before setting the eyelets. I don’t know where to buy this particular tool as this was borrowed from my sister-in-law, but I have seen similar ones at NBS. Gold or copper colored eyelets are also available at NBS.

Jewelry Pliers


Most of my TN charms are self-assembled; basically I buy the charms, the o-rings, and the lobster clasps separately and assemble them myself in the manner that I like. The assembly can be done by hand, but having jewelry pliers makes the process a lot less finicky and physically painful (I’ve broken many nails prior to my getting the pliers!). This particular pair of pliers were bought at a hardware store which I unfortunately have forgotten exactly where. You can get one of any brand pliers at any hardware store and just choose the smallest one which will fit comfortably in your hand. The “blade” of this one is about five centimeters long.

I’m sure there are other tools that I use that I’ve overlooked, but I will make sure to either update this post or do a follow up once I find the other tools that I use for crafts related to traveler’s notebooks. Are you an insert or traveler’s notebook maker? What other tools do you use?

2 thoughts to “DIY Tools of the Trade”

  1. Hi there Patricia, those are tool sthat I can’t live without too when I am doing some DIY’s and maybe you are forgetting one more thing which I think you should add it to your list. A razor. Sometimes a scissor doesn’t work out some things for me and a razor is sometimes my savior 🙂 Anyways, thanks a lot for sharing the post and keep up the good work over here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.