My Tips & Tricks - Using Craft CD's

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about Craft CD's - what to expect if you've never used one and some additional tips for those of you that have. Craft CD's seem to be like Marmite, some love them, some hate them but they are incredibly useful and great value for all levels of crafters. They are also a fantastic way to boost your crafting supply very quickly without taking up lots of space!

First, to clear up some common misconceptions that I've seen and heard regarding craft CD's

You have to be incredibly tech savvy to use a craft CD - not true at all! while some craft CD's do have a user interface or software programme built in, this is usually very easy to navigate. Some CD's (including my own) have no in built software, you simply click and print - it couldn't be easier!

You can't use a craft CD if you have a Mac computer - you should check the specific information for the CD that you are interested in but most (if not all) CD's can be used on a Mac, while some of the software may not work, you can usually access the image folder (which is the good bit!)

Craft CD's are for beginners and you can't be very creative with them - One of the biggest misconceptions and not true at ALL! While its true that there are elements of most CD's that are great for beginners (as there are paper products and kits) - pre made toppers etc... at the end of the day you are printing off papers and embellishments, the same as you would buy in a craft shop and what you do with them and how advanced you get with your crafting is totally down to you. I've seen fantastic projects made from beginners and advanced crafters alike with my CD's including cards, scrapbook layouts, 3D projects, altered art and art journaling- for instance, check out this birdhouse made by Claireliz made from my latest CD - fabulous!
Tthe only difference to buying the physical papers and embellishments from the shop is that you get an awful lot more for your money!

You use lots of ink printing things out so it isn't good value - Firstly, craft CD's give you excellent value (for instance, my latest CD has hundreds of pounds worth of papers and stamps on if you were to buy the actual products in the shop - 120 designer papers at approx 99p per sheet + 90 digi stamps at approx £3.00 each is over £380 and thats before adding in all of the embellishments and sentiments!!) it will of course depend on your printer how much you can get from one set of cartridges, I have an HP Deskjet printer and use compatible inks which cost me about £8 each, I can print off a whole CD on one set of cartridges and still have enough ink left for doubles of bits and pieces - so even if you only use the CD once you will be getting hundreds of pounds worth of papers and stamps for just over £30 - thats less than 10% - bargain!!!

And now on to how to get started with craft CD's

Firstly, have a look around and find one that suits your style, if you aren't sure most designers have separate mini kits or digi stamps that you can buy initially to try out and see the quality of the work etc... When you get your CD have a good look round it - you'll usually find inspiration starts flowing as soon as you see all the lovely bits and pieces!

Print your papers and  embellishments onto good quality card or paper - if you print them onto copier paper they will look and feel cheap and you will be put off using them. I use my Rymans coated paper for everything as its great for scoring and folding and I can print my digi stamps onto it for bleedproof colouring with my markers. Using copier paper also uses up more ink as it soaks more up - using a good quality smooth or coated paper will make your papers and embellishments look better and save you lots on ink costs.

Make sure to print your digi stamps onto the appropriate paper for the media you will use to colour them with, I usually print a set onto bleedproof paper and one onto watercolour paper (which I also use for colouring pencils as I like the texture!)

If you plan on selling your work, be sure to check out the angel policy of the designer of the CD, most let you sell handmade cards and projects with the papers and images but please remember how much work a designer puts into making one CD (personally I spend between 40 and 150 hours on each one depending on the size of CD!) and respect their copyright by not reselling or sharing your CD (including anything printed from it) or digistamps, it's very rare that this happens but when it does its very upsetting to have your work stolen and devalued in this way. 

My Tips for using Craft CD's

Like most crafters, I'm obsessed with paper and can spend hours just looking through my crafty stash getting inspired, so I like to print off lots of my CD at once, I keep my craft supplies organised in boxes by brand and I have a 'Sarah Hurley' box for the things printed off my CDs, then it becomes part of your "real" craft stash as opposed to a CD on the shelf.

As I use things up I keep a list of what I need to print out and replace so I never run out, I usually keep extras of neutral patterns such as polka dots which are always running out.

If I'm printing lots of embellishments that need cutting out I make a big pile, get myself a nice cup of Earl Grey and a good film and curl up on the sofa to cut it all out at once, then when you come to use it, it's all ready for you!

Don't be afraid to use things digitally, the files on the CD can be used in digital scrapbooking projects etc... also, it may add a new dimension to your crafting!

Mix and match, use your papers with brands of paper and stamps that you buy, add ribbons, buttons and gems, distress and ink your edges, spray it, emboss it, die cut it, use it as part of your crafty stash and don't keep it separate, you'll get much more out of it this way!

Most of all experiment -  the best thing is, that unlike things you buy in a craft shop, if you mess it up, you can just print out another one!

If you have any other questions about using craft CD's please feel free to leave them here for me in the comments and I will answer them in a future post. You can check out my range of craft CD's, kits and Digi Stamps here in my shop.

Thanks for dropping by today :o)
Sarah x


  1. I have a HP desktop printer - the photosmart c4480- which brand of 'compatible' cartridges do you use and where do you get them as I'd be keen to know. Brand new I have to pay almost £15 for a colour one from Asda.

  2. Cute birdhouse!! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Thank you for the tips, very informative.

  4. That birdhouse is amazing! x