Essential Tools and Equipment to start Parchment Craft for Beginners

I often receive emails from people who don’t have a parchment tutor in their area and don’t know what basic tools and equipment they need to buy to get started.  I have written this guide to help those people find the essential items and information they need.

I am not an expert, but I know how daunting and complicated parchment craft can seem without knowing the basics. Once you have mastered these basics though, you will find out what a fantastic craft this is and create your own beautiful lacework and embossing. You will certainly never get bored, it is one of the most rewarding crafts I have tried, as  Pergamano themselves say – “Endlessly Challenging.” It is also very addictive – so be warned!


A lot of craft shops have closed down in the last few years. If you don’t have a shop near you selling parchment craft equipment the best option is to buy on the internet. A few years ago many people were  worried about buying online, these days however, things have improved and you will often find the best prices and deals online. Also ordering on the internet isn’t as hard as it used to be and there are many safeguards to protect your information.  A shop that specialises in parchment craft should be able to offer advice on what tools are available, so phone them up before you buy to answer any questions you may have.


If you are looking for a parchment craft tutor visit the website for ‘The Association of Parchment Crafters’ where they have a list of tutors in different locations. Some tutors even offer Skype tutoring now, (Skype is a free internet video chat service) which means that wherever you are in the world you can still find a tutor.


If you can’t find a tutor near you there are starter kits available from the two main manufacturers of parchment craft equipment ParchCraft Australia(PCA) and Pergamano.


The Pergamano Starter Kit is a simple kit with a couple of tools, A5 parchment paper, and embossing mat, a dorso crayon, a white gel pen and full instructions, everything you need to get you started. There are several beautiful patterns in the kit and should only take a few hours to complete. This kit makes a great present and allows a beginner to try out parchment craft without spending a lot of money on equipment.


The Parchcraft Australia (PCA) Bold Starter Kit contains three perforating tools (Unibold, Bold MiniStamp Edge and a Bold Quad), White Gel Pen, A4 Parchment Paper, Mini Perforating Mat, Instructions and a Pattern to make. PCA also have an Embossing Starter Kit available and a Fine Gauge Starter Kit.

Unlike the Pergamano kit, these kits only have one pattern, but they are thoroughly worthwhile and will help teach you the basics of parchment craft.


If you don’t want to buy a starter kit,  I would suggest that you would need the following basic tools to start you off:

For Tracing:

For Embossing:

For Perforating:

  • Perforating mat
  • 1 needle tool
  • 2 needle tool
  • 4 needle tool

For Cutting:

Note * There are also 2 and 4 needle tools that will cut the parchment for a quick finish: PCA Mini Stamp Edge/Stamp Edge and Pergamano 2Split/ 4Split


There are plenty of other tools but these will get you started, there is an Action pack of Pergamano tools which includes a range of embossing and perforating tools and a mapping pen. Although this kit is more expensive than the others, it could be seen as a good long-term investment if you are serious about getting into parchment craft.


I know when I started parchment craft I bought a pattern which was beautiful but rather advanced for a beginner and I found it a bit disheartening because I didn’t really know where to start. After a while I bought a Parchment Craft book by Janet Wilson which explained a lot of the techniques and had some beautiful projects to get me started.
This was one of my early attempts at parchment craft from Janet Wilson’s book ‘Parchment Craft’
There are some really good books  available now for beginners: The Techniques of Parchment Craft by Pergamano are small handbooks; there are 7 volumes each one concentrating on different aspects or techniques such as embossing , colouring with pencils, painting, gridwork etc. Below  is Volume 5, which has to be my favourite which concentrates on coloured pencil techniques – I think that the projects in this book are outstanding, here is one of my attempts at one of the patterns.


imageParchment Craft - The Techniques Volume 5- Using Coloured Pencils


The Handbook of Parchment Craft Basics (shown below) is also a great book to start you off, techniques are explained and there are plenty of up to date designs from Tina Cox and Linda Williams. It has 19 projects (all cards) for you to work on, they all have a really fresh, bright look and ‘step by step’ instructions on how to complete them. The techniques of tracing, embossing, perforating and cutting are covered in depth making this an ideal book for a beginner. There is also sections on using Multi-Grids and Stamping on parchment , as well as stamping techniques there are sections on how to colour the image with Perga Colours, Perga Liners, Dorso Crayons.


Tina Cox has also produced a beautiful beginners pack which includes patterns and a large techniques guide to get you started with parchment craft. These are her designs below and they are absolutely stunning. Tina has also made sure that the instructions for each design are clear and easy to follow.


If you just want a more interactive learning experience why not consider getting an instructional parchment craft DVD.  Christine Coleman has a range of DVDs available: A Beginners Guide to Parchment Craft, Painting on Parchment, Gridwork, Colouring with Pencils and Finishing Touches all these DVDs have over an hour of step by step tuition and demonstration leading you through each project, each DVD has four or five projects to improve your skills.
The Grid and Lace Work DVD uses the PCA Grids and Tools
Here are two cards that I made from the ‘Beginners’ DVD and the ‘Painting’ DVD.  The DVD is a fantastic way to learn at your own pace, you get to see an expert demonstrating and you can just rewind if you miss a bit!
The ‘Thank You’ card: The parchment is slightly coloured on the back of the parchment along the edge with oil pastels.  White Tinta ink and mapping pen was used to trace the pattern. The petals and leaves were embossed and gold Tinta ink was added to the ferns. The edge was embossed with Ball Tools/PCA Sun Tool and the edge was perforated and cut with parchment scissors.
The Rose is painted onto parchment using Tinta inks and is set into an aperture card with a simple grid work edging.
I hope that this will inspire you to get started on your first project.  Everyone I talk to agrees that when you are in the midst of a parchment craft project the hours slip by as it is such an absorbing hobby.If you have any questions Just leave me a message below.  If you are an experienced parcher please let us know how you got started in parchment craft.

Pergamano Pattern Books

There are many beautiful and inspiring books and patterns available for parchment craft at the moment, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. One of my favourite collections are from Pergamano M series Pattern Books. They are mini collections of themed designs, usually 6 items from some of the most talented Pergamano designers. Usually the pattern books have a theme, for example:  3D designs, wall hangings, lace work and then there are collections of animals, birds, fruit and flowers. Even themes such as hobbies, religious designs, weddings and christenings, oriental and asian. Also there are pattern books that teach a specialist technique, or using felt pens, inks etc.  I have made a quick list of my favourite, older pattern books, still available.


Pergamano Pattern Book M1 has six fabulous Japanese themed designs by Randi Hanson, each card is distinctive and beautiful. These cards are created mainly with painting and dorsing techniques.


Pergamano Pattern Book M55 is called ‘Natural Glory’ from designer Hiskia Wittenaar 6 lovely designs inspired by flowers and butterflies using whitework borders and whitework and painted central motifs.


Pergamano pattern M39 has a beautiful A3 Art Nouveau design wall decoration and four other lacework designs which are all themed as ‘home decorations’. They are all gorgeous designs that you could frame and put in your home.


Pergamano pattern M76 is called Golden Yellow Lacework by Siri-Anong which was inspired by traditional Thai Culture , whitework with gold Tinta ink, beautiful delicate lace.

I have found the books have good, clear instructions, guiding you step by step. They are all exceptional designs and even though they have been around a while there are always new people discovering parchment craft. I hope you like them too.

Tina Cox’s New Didi Cards and Beginners Guide to Parchment Craft

Tina Cox has designed eight lovely smaller cards for beginners to start parchment crafting. These cards are brilliant to use for any occasion and as usual you can mix and match the elements of Tina’s card designs to make your own unique cards.  Included in this package is the ‘Beginners Technique Guide’ and complete instructions plus a full size colour illustration for each card.  These designs can also be used for toppers, but altogether a great package to get everyone inspired to start parchment craft.

Free Parchment Craft Christmas Pattern

Here is my new free parchment craft pattern called Christmas Tree, there are fully illustrated ‘step by step’ instructions available as well as the pattern download . Please feel free to adapt and innovate from this design if you want to. When you have finished send me a picture of the card- or a link to get to it, and I will put it in the Gallery

Free Parchment Craft Pattern ‘Flowers and Lace’

Here is the new free pattern. I recently broke my arm so I probably haven’t finished the card as elaborately as I would have liked. If you download any of my patterns please feel free to change any parts you wish or make improvements, and send them to me and I will put them in a gallery. Click here for free pattern and instructions.