A - Z Craft Jargon


Acetate: Transparent plastic generally sold in sheets. This product is similar to the product that packaging companies use to create a window into a box so the contents are visible. It comes in various thicknesses but generally the type they use in packaging is a lot denser than the craft sheets you can buy.


Acetate domes/bubbles:  You find them on everything from your toothbrush packaging to kids toys, where an industrial machine uses heat to shape & seal the acetate to a piece of card with the contents inside. They make acetate domes in the same way specifically for crafters but they can be expensive.


Acrylic/clear/polymer stamps: Until recently the majority of stamps were cast in rubber & mounted, with a layer of cushioning material behind onto a block of wood, but now the majority of stamps are cast in clear polymer. A polymer stamp is naturally ‘clingy’ so attaches easily to an acrylic block (see below) which is also clear, thus enabling the user to position a stamped image with greater accuracy than ever before. If the stamp does stop clinging to the block you simply wash it in warm soapy water & leave to dry naturally & it will regain its clingy properties.


Acrylic blocks:  Pieces of dense acrylic set into a block shape, they come in numerous sizes & you simply chose one to suit the size of the clear stamp you own. They do become ink stained when used with permanent inks such as Stazon, but this won’t affect their performance in any way - though they can be cleaned with an appropriate ink remover available under the same brand name. You can wash the blocks in warm soapy water to remove any particles of glitter etc. that become attached.


Acrylic gems: Available widely, these imitation jewels are cast in acrylic but in decorative shapes, such as gems, flowers, leaves, stars etc. They are generally coated on the back with silver foil, to give them more sparkle. You can purchase them with or without adhesive on the back.


Air dry clay: Widely available at art & craft suppliers & is generally sold in a brick of 500g or 1kg, & is produced in terracotta or white, though there may be other colours available? As the name suggests, the clay can be dried without the need for an oven or kiln, simply leave on a warm window sill until dry. Would be suitable for small embellishments for your projects, but a polymer or paper clay would be better suited to larger embellishments, as both are much lighter than the air dry version.


All In One/Multi Tool:  A central tool barrel with various attachments, but mainly a rotating brush which is used to remove the remaining bits from dies once they have been through the machine, & a pokey tool at the other end which is helpful for the same reason, though has other uses. (See pokey tool)


Background stamp:  As opposed to a more detailed stamp, the background stamp is generally much larger so it can cover larger areas in one application.


Bakers twine: Similar to packaging string but reinvented for crafters. Generally one or more colours are twisted together with the original cream to form a barber’s pole effect & it is available from many manufacturers in a wealth of colour combinations.


Ball tool: These come in many guises but are basically used either in dry embossing or to sculpt paper & card.


Book binding machine: Various designs are available on the market from an office type to a dedicated craft model – which comes at a price. Some use plastic binding ‘combs’ others use wire, but they all do the same job - they bind pages together to form a book.


Book/hinged rings: Simple metal rings with a hinge & catch, thus enabling the ring to be opened & closed. They come in a variety of sizes, colours & finishes & are widely available in craft outlets.


Bone folder:  Shaped tool usually made from plastic so very inexpensive, the tool is used to smooth out folds giving a more professional finish.


Border punches:  Paper punched designed with a repeating pattern enabling the user to create a continuous decorative border of any length.


Bow Maker: There are a number of variations on the market, some stand alone & some are built in to larger equipment, but basically they have a solid base with moveable pegs to allow you to create the desired size of bow you require with ease, by simply wrapping the ribbon around the pegs & tying it off.


Brads:  These come in a vast array of shapes, sizes & colours, anything flowers & tools to diamante studs, but basically they are all based on the same principle regardless of their design. They have two ‘legs’ at the back & the idea being is that you make a small hole in the work, push the ‘legs’ through the hole & open them up at the back to secure.


Chipboard: Dense board similar to cereal packets, though somewhat thicker. Can be bought in a natural state for book covers etc. but more widely available covered & cut by industrial machines to create individual embellishments, letters & numerals etc.


Craft chalk: Generally comes packaged in much the same way as kids water colour paint, on a palette with a hinged lid. Densely compacted coloured chalk tablets with applicators similar to those you would use to apply eye shadow. Creates beautiful pastel shades on your work, but generally needs to be sealed to prevent it rubbing off – but you can do this with a very light application of cheap hair spray.


Craft glue/PVA glue: Glue specially formulated to use with paper & card etc.


Craft knife:  A blade housed in a handle, many forms are available to be used in conjunction with a cutting mat & steel edged ruler.


Corner punches: Punches designed to decorate corners of paper & sometimes card – depending on the brand.


Crackle accents:  A gloss liquid used to create a glazed, cracked look similar to the finish of old oil paintings.


Crop:  A group of crafters meeting to share ideas & inspiration.


Cutting mat: Essential kit when using a craft knife, there are various types on the market & they come in a variety of sizes depending on the size of the area you have to work on. Opt for A3 if you have the room, definitely the most versatile.


Decorative edged scissors: Scissors with blades that have been designed to cut a pattern rather than a straight edge. They are widely available, varying in price.


Decoupage: Modern decoupage consists of one main image & then several layers with parts of that image cut away, until only the focal point in the foreground remains. When layered up on 3D pads, or using silicone glue creates a 3D effect.


Die cut:  A decorative shape/design usually cut from card, chipboard or paper by mechanical means.


Dies: A metal shape with a raised edge used to create shapes & patterns - when used in conjunction with a die cutting machine.


Die cutting machine (manual or electric): Is basically a pair of rollers housed inside a casing with an external winding handle – much like an old fashioned mangle. When used with the dies (see above) & the acrylic plates that accompany the machine, the rollers apply pressure to the die enabling the raised edge to cut through the card or paper being used. There are many on the market produced by various companies with most dies being inter-changeable between all machines.


Die cutting machine (digital): An electronic machine with a cutting blade guided by cartridges you purchase separately that will cut out shapes, letters words etc.


Distressing: This one has a number of definitions but basically it is any techniques that will make the project, or elements of the project, look aged & slightly tattered or grunged.


Double sided tape/tissue tape:  An adhesive tape that comes on a roll & unlike regular tapes such as masking tape etc. this type has adhesive on both sides, so comes with a carrier paper attached & is almost transparent when applied.


Downloads:  Basically any item on the World Wide Web (www.), images & files etc that you are able to copy to your own computer; the files on this site for example.


Dry embossing: This is how you create a raised impression on a piece of card or specialist paper such as parchment using a light box & stencils, or by means of a die cutting machine with an embossing folder. It creates individual images or all over patterns, depending on which stencils or embossing folders you use.


Dye based ink:  Gives a good stamp impression but not particularly suited to heat embossing. This is not a permanent ink, so not suitable for use on glossy surfaces.


Embellishments: This includes everything (other than the actual card & paper) that you can use to decorate your projects, from buttons & bows to die cuts & tags, & everything else that you can attach to projects.


Embossing Folder: Used in conjunction with a manual or electric die cutting machine, it is a piece of plastic that is folded in half & a positive design is etched on to one half & the negative on the other. When the card or paper is sandwiched inside the folder & then run through the machine, it creates an embossed image or pattern, depending on the folder used.


Embossing powder: Used in conjunction with a pigment ink pad & heat gun this powder bonds to the stamped impression & when heated, melts making the impression permanent, similar to raised greetings on Christmas cards etc.


Eyelets: Larger eyelets can be seen on lace up trainers & are generally used to reinforce holes. There is a huge variety of eyelet available to crafters, in a myriad of colours & shapes. They need to be fixed into place using setting tools: see below. A perfect way to attach opaque materials to your projects, such as acetate & vellum, which would otherwise be difficult to attach, as by their very nature most adhesives would be visible through the material.


Eyelet setting tools:  Again, there are a variety of these available, from sets including mini hammers & manual hand held setting tools to pieces of kit that are huge & cumbersome, & everything in between. Their purpose is to make the correct sized hole for the eyelet before ‘spreading’ the unfinished end of the eyelet to secure it in position.


Foam pads/Sticky fixers/3D pads:  Thin sheets of foam with adhesive on both sides, generally comes on carrier sheets cut into sections. They come in a variety of sizes (both in shape & in depth) & although more commonly in white, there are black one’s available too.


Foam tape/Shaker tape:  As above but on one continuous roll. They come in a variety of widths & depths & are ideal for shaker card construction – see shaker cards.


Faux: Simply means fake as in faux fur etc.


Faux stitching:  There are several ways of achieving this but you simply draw dots & dashes with a fine pen to create a stitched affect & you can buy stamps designed to do the job for you - these can be obtained in a variety of stitch patterns.


Flocking Powder: This comes with or without glitter added & when applied imitates a flocked wallpaper effect. It can also be applied to lines of double sided sticky tape to create a simple but effective background. Unlike glitter, where you simply shake it over the glue & then shake off the excess, with flocking powder you need to rub it in to the adhesive to get the full effect of flocking.


Foiled/Mirri card: Regular card that has been bonded with a fine layer of plastic to achieve a mirror effect.


Friendly plastic: A narrow band of plastic often coloured or coated to enhance it, when heated it becomes malleable & can be formed into 3D shapes to create light weight embellishments for your projects. The various colours & finishes can also be layered up to form striking effects.


Funky foam/craft foam:  You can buy this in pretty much any the kid’s activity section anywhere, it is dense sponge/foam that has been cut into sheets/shapes & comes in a myriad of colours. You can cut it freehand or by using punches or dies, you can also warm it slightly with a heat gun & stamp into it, gives stamped flowers a whole new dimension!


Glass cutting mat: Rather than the regular self healing cutting mat a glass cutting mat is impervious to heat! They come with the grid & measurements marked out for you, & are meant to make cutting with a craft knife easier. They are great for messy jobs like inking edges etc. as they simply wipe clean!


Glitter: There are a huge variety of brands on the market, including the stuff you buy for kids. It comes in course or fine grain & you can also buy flakes now too. They all work in pretty much the same way & stick to any adhesive surface.


Glitter card/board: This product is created industrially by covering an entire sheet of card with adhesive & then glitter but the quality varies enormously & isn’t particularly determined by price. The best way to tell the quality is to see how much loose glitter is inside the packaging! You can use glitter card on a manual die cutting machine & with some punches, but it isn’t advisable to use it on an electronic die cutting machine as the particles can clog up the mechanism & break your machine!


Glitter glue: Glue with glitter suspended within it, the stuff you can buy for kids but the craft version usually has more sparkle, & a bigger price tag.


Glue dots: There are also a range of these, from tiny ‘diddy dots’ that come on a little roll & can be used for sticking anything from backing paper to light weight embellishments, to large glue dots either on a roll or sheet covered by carrier paper. These ones are ideal for attaching flowers, bows, & heavier embellishments such as buttons & small coins to your projects.


Glue Sticks: Sticks of semi-solid glue designed to be used in conjunction with a hot or cool melt glue gun (see hot glue gun). They also come in coloured versions but these are harder to find.


Grunge: The dictionary definition states “a style or fashion derived from a movement in rock music: in fashion characterized by unkempt clothing & in music by aggressive, nihilistic songs”.  In craft terms it is used to describe the method of inking the edges of your embellishments or base card, or other processes which create the appearance of ‘unkempt’.


Guillotine/Paper trimmer:  Both tools serve the same purpose; to cut paper & card, but where the trimmer has a circular blade which needs replacing when it gets blunt, a guillotine is self sharpening. A trimmer offers a variety of blades which can cut decorative edges; a guillotine simply cuts a straight line.


Half pearls (acrylic): Imitation or ‘faux’ pearls come in a myriad of colours, shapes & sizes & are used to add finishing touches to your projects. They are flat backed to allow the application of adhesive, though are available in self-adhesive too & come as individual pearls, or in rows or sheets.


Heat embossing:  As described in embossing (above), in conjunction with a pigment ink, embossing powder is ‘heat set’ using a heat gun designed specifically for that purpose.


Heat gun:  A tool specifically designed for the purpose of heat setting embossing powder. See above.


Hot glue gun: In conjunction with speciality glue sticks the gun is designed to heat up the glue to make a permanent bond, ideal for heavier embellishments & in creating boxes. There is also a ‘cool melt’ version available


Iris folding: A technique using paper strips to decorate & fill a shaped aperture.


Kraft card/paper: Brown untreated paper or card.


Light box: When a stencil is positioned on top of the light box & a light coloured piece of card placed on top, the light box allows you to dry emboss the design from the stencil onto the card using a stylus. See Embossing.


Matting & layering:  Using pieces of card or paper as frames for a slightly smaller layers on top.


Metallic wax: Numerous colours, brands & packaging methods are available from palettes to pots, but basically it is a semi-solid wax mixed with pigment to create a product that when lightly wiped over a raised image gives a subtle metallic sheen.


Mulberry paper: Fibrous paper, often used in tearing techniques.


Nesties:  A set of dies which are all the same shape, but decrease in size by increments - for use in a manual/electric die cutting machine, they are ‘nested’ so instant matting & layering can be easily achieved.


Over stamping: This is the term used to describe smudges of ink that appear around a stamped image which is caused by the ink pad catching the edges of the rubber or acrylic around the stamp itself.


Paper clay:  Similar to air dry clay, only much lighter in weight making it ideal to create embellishments, though often difficult to track down.


Paper trimmer: See guillotine.


Paper punch: Available widely in hundreds of shapes, sizes & designs. There are several types - specifically individual, border or corner though there are others. Most decorative punches are suitable for punching through paper, but will struggle with card. You will find that the more elaborate the design, the less likely it is to cut through a card weight.


Parchment: Is a heavier weight of vellum, suited particularly to parchment craft otherwise known as pergamano. The paper has been treated to make it translucent & if used with stencils & a light box this paper creates beautiful dry embossed images, it can also be used to create intricate detailed lace work using needle tools.


Peel-offs: A thin sheet of a plastic type material with an adhesive back is cut in an industrial setting to form borders, shapes, letters numbers etc. which can then be peeled off the carrier paper to use to adorn projects.


Permanent ink/StazOn:  A brand of ink pad that is permanent, so ideal for stamping onto non porous surfaces, such as glass. Ideal for use when using water colour paints to colour a stamped image, or when stamping onto card with a pearlescent or shiny finish, best ink for stamping on acetate.


Photo glue:  Is designed to stick paper & photographs directly to your project & the bonus of this glue is that any excess can simply be rubbed away once dry.


Pigment ink: Specifically designed for heat embossing work, as it stays wet long enough to add embossing powder & then heat emboss.


Pokey tool: A tool with a pointed end to form holes in card & paper, used for anything from creating the setting for a brad to creating a line of holes making sewing through card easier.


Polymer clay: The most famous brand name being Fimo. Polymer clay comes in hundreds of colours & is generally sold in little brick shaped packages. It is designed to mould anything from beads, to jewellery pendants, small scale models & is also suitable to use in small resin moulds etc. It is baked in the oven to cure & can be painted, varnished, gilded etc.


Punch boards: Specially designed boards with integrated punches which come in many formats, one for making envelopes, another for flowers etc.


Quilling:  A method of coiling paper strips to create anything from animals & flowers to garden gates & gazebos.


Quilling tools: The specialist slotted tools required to achieve the effects above.


Quilling paper strips: Paper that has been cut by the manufacturer into very narrow strips to work with the quilling tools above.


Red lined tape/super sticky tape: When it says super sticky, it really is; fabulous for attaching heavier embellishments, for creating boxes, kinetic mechanisms etc. Comes in a variety of widths & roll lengths & gets its name from the red carrier material it is attached to.


Rubber stamps: Images cut into rubber, generally wood mounted though not always.


Rub-ons:  Lettering or images packaged in transparent film with special adhesive on the back. The idea is to cut the one you need from the carrier sheet & with the cover sheet in place, rub the item into position using a bone folder or lollipop stick, which is generally provided.


Sanding block:  Unlike the block of wood with sand paper wrapped around that the guys use, we have our own specialist tool. It is a block of dense foam with Velcro attached & comes with sized sanding paper pieces also with Velcro attached, so you can replace them as needed.


Score: Creating an indented line in card or paper with the use of a specialist too, this breaks down the fibres of the card making it easier to fold.


Score board: A board generally made from plastic that has indentations already moulded into the design enabling the user to score straight lines either singularly or at regular intervals. There are versions specifically designed to create boxes or envelopes etc. There are decorative design models available too.


Scrapbooking: Putting together a collection of pictures, written memories, travel tickets & other ephemera to create a ‘memory book’ for future generations to treasure. They can be on any subject; baby, wedding, graduation, holiday etc. etc


Shadow stamping: This is when you stamp the image & do not re-ink the stamp but use it again to get a further fainter impression.


Shaker card:  A card with a sealed ‘window’ where you can add beads, confetti etc. to create a ‘shaker’ – the noise it will make if rattled.


Shrink plastic: Specially formulated plastic that when heated shrinks to around half of its original size! It comes in clear, opaque, plain or patterned. You can stamp on it & then colour the image, & then shrink it inside an over or with a heat gun to make a charm to match the image on your card, etc.


Silicone glue: Silicone glue is mainly used in decoupage work or to attach unusual shaped objects to your projects such as shells etc, there is also a silicone free glue gel, which works in the same way.


Stick pins/Hat pins: Long pointed pins with a decorative top. This decoration could be a design welded to the pin, or simply beads threaded on & then fixed. Very popular with card makers as they look beautiful simply sticking out of a bow, etc.


Stencil: A design that has been cut out which enables you to use the ‘negative’ to ink through, dry emboss, draw around, paint etc. etc.


Super smooth printer paper:  If you print stuff out to craft with, then you need to use paper designed for the job, Super smooth paper is higher in density than regular copy paper, so the ink is not absorbed into the paper itself but sits on top of it. This paper creates images with far more definition than can be achieved with regular copier paper.


Tacky glue: A concentrated version of PVA glue with a lot of the moisture removed.


Tea bag folding: Small squares of paper folded in various ways to create a myriad of card embellishments &/or tree decorations etc.


Tearing technique: Used to create a shabby chic type finish. Water is ‘painted’ onto the paper & allowed to absorb making it easier to tear, often used with Mulberry paper.


Texture paste: A substance similar in texture grout used in tiling & is used to create texture on your projects used through stencils or freehand; it also comes with colour &/or glitter added too.


Upcycle:  The new ‘buzz’ word – pretty much means to make something new from something old.


Vellum:  A translucent paper that can be embossed, it is available in a vast range of colours & patterns. Can also be used & purchased as inserts for cards & in many cases will come already printed with a verse/design or both.


Washi tape:  A decorated self adhesive paper tape which comes in a myriad of designs & colours & is widely available. 

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