Once you buy all the initial supplies, it really isn't too expensive. And trust me, I tried to cut corners to save money, but some things you just have to have to save your sanity!
Here are some of my absolute necessities as a bow maker:
1. Glue gun--this is a MUST for most crafters anyway, but the kind of gun I love for bows is this model here:
It is a detail glue gun that has a fine tip. The glue gets super hot but doesn't glob up and thread all over the place. I have tried many other brands but the Surebonder is just the way to go!
2. Woodburner--I know it sounds nuts, but you must have a woodburner for sealing off those ribbon ends!! I tried to get away with a lighter to start with, but after rubbing my thumbs raw, decided to just go ahead and get the burner. Now, a couple of thoughts about the woodburner:
- It gets hotter than Hades, so BE CAREFUL about where you set this baby!! It WILL slide (even with the stand) off the table and BURN your carpet, floor, lap, etc in no time!! I have mine set up with the metal stand's "feet" under a book an the burner sitting on the book...so it doesn't slide anymore.
- I have 2 woodburners, one for dark ribbon and one for light ribbon. Why? When you do a lot of ribbon sealing, you can transfer colors to the lighter ribbon and NOTHING is worse than a white bow with brown, dirty-looking ends!! So I have 2. It also helps when you're sealing korker bows...that's a whole lot of ribbon sealing and the burners get dirty. It helps to have an alternate.
- Needle--I only use a "darning" needle. It is thick as can be and very sturdy! I use it for all my bows and have only had to replace it a few times when the end gets dull. It literally does not bend and can get the job done!
- Thread--I only use "hand quilting" thread. Thread tends to gather, break, twist and that is super frustrating!! Hand quilting thread is designed to be used repetitively in and out of fabric, so it withstands the breaking and gathering that "all purpose" thread does. It is more expensive, but worth your sanity!
- Pins--just a few long sharp pins and pincushion
5. Ruler--I have an 18 inch clear acrylic ruler mounted on the edge of my work station. It's so easy to measure when it's sitting right there.