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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: Sizzix eClips Electronic Shape Cutting Machine

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Ever since this winter’s CHA, the scrapbooking world has been buzzing about the debut of the Sizzix eClips Electronic Shape Cutting Machine.  I can tell you:  I was waiting for it to be released, too.  Even though I am anything BUT a scrapbooker.

Then why would I want it?

Well, the eClips cuts fabric and materials other than your standard scrapbooking fare.  Craft foils (different thicknesses even) and chipboard?  Yep.  Vinyl?  Yep!

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The starter kit comes with one machine, 2 blades, the handheld unit, cradle for the handheld unit, starter cartridge with booklet, software update, 12×12 cutting mat and user manual.  Note the small purple cable – it’s a mini-USB cable that you’ll need to do the software update; it’s not included.

The eClips boasts 700 grams of pressure and adjustable blade speeds/pressures so you can power through most anything.  I was able to stump it, but I had to really try!  🙂  In fact, the only things I could not get it to cut are craft foam (though it scored it nicely!), thick felt, and corrugated cardboard.

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One of the best features of the eClips is the Handheld Remote Control.  It slides open to reveal a full keyboard, adding to the ability to completely customize your designs.  The display is large and easy  to read.  There is a very slight delay once you select a design, but it is minimal and you get used to it quickly.  You also input into the unit what kind of material you are cutting and it sets everything automatically for you.  All you have to do is adjust the blade thickness right on the blade cartridge.  Easy peasy!

It really is to use.  Right out of the box.  To show how really easy it is to use:  here is a video I’ve put together while drinking my morning coffee showing how to use the eClips from start to finish (and let me just say that crafts before coffee is usually not a good idea around here!)

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First I cut a little sign from vinyl for my front door sidelights.  Admittedly, I hate how this came out.  The font is just too silly for something so serious.  A more neutral font would have been great to include in the “Starter” cartridge versus the Rockin’ Janey font.  It’s just hard to read when cut this small.

Here is a screenshot of the designs on the “Starter” cartridge included with the eClips.  Cute, right? 6a00e54ef8884488340120a7ffb1bf970b-800wi

Next, I put the eClips to my “REAL” test.  Fabric is always on my mind, so naturally this was the MAIN reason why I wanted to use this machine.  It works!  I suggest slowing the machine down one more notch than the “preset” to prevent any tearing at sharp inside corners.

To cut fabric, press it really well with the addition of spray starch, and apply your favorite fusible web.  I tried a few different brands, all with the same level of success.  The key is to starch it, and slow it down a bit more.

Here I cut out a Birthday Cupcake and a pair of ties.  Note that I cut the cupcake pieces from different scrap fabrics.  It was really easy to do, so don’t worry!  The ties are actually an “embellishment” for the sweet teddy bear, but since you can cut anything within the design card at any size, it doesn’t matter!
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My daughter decided I had made a “Flying Cupcake” no matter what I told her!

I fused the shapes onto cheap $1Store cotton tshirts, zigzagged around the edges and my kids had cute customized shirts within about 30 minutes total.  From initial eClips cutting to snipping the threads.  That’s awesome, right?!
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That same afternoon, I whipped out a receiving blanket and coordinating burpcloths for an unexpected early arrival.  Of course, I was in such a rush to deliver them that I didn’t get a picture of them!
IMG_0609Lastly, a birthday surprise for my darling husband!  I don’t normally decorate for birthdays around here – but I just knew once I found that the eClips did so well with fabric that I had to make a bunting of some kind.  The Mister had been having lots of late night meetings the week of his birthday, so while he was out one night, I whipped this CELEBRATE bunting up with scraps and it took about 2 hours total.  He really loved it and said it made his day!

Pros:

  • IT WORKS!
  • Handheld remote design center
  • Cuts a wide variety of materials
  • Laser Cut Preview
  • Speed control, pressure control, depth control – all to ensure you can cut just about anything!
  • It will also draw with a pen (holder required) and score certain designs.

Cons:

  • Cost of cartridges ($39 – $89 each)
  • No option to connect eClips to the computer so you can design/cut from there if desired (there are rumors something is coming soon, but nothing concrete as of today)
    • I’d like the computer connection so I could download only the designs I need immediately and to be able to use my fonts.
  • Some of the designs have details that are cut before outlines are cut.  If the extra details are not desired and are cut afterward, you can cancel the cut at the desired place and be done.

GIVEAWAY!

It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you’ve read about this week. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:
Have you had a chance to see an eClips in action before?  What feature do you think you would like the most or would be most useful?
 
One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.
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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: Sizzix Big Shot

I was pleased to have the chance to test out the traditional die cutter, Big Shot by Sizzix and some of the Westminster Fabric dies which are specially designed for fabric and quilting. There is nothing that compares to a die cutter when one needs to dependably cut a large amount of shapes that are exactly sized and shaped.

I received the Big Shot Machine, which will cut with dies up to 6 inches wide. The package includes two clear Standard Cutting Pads, and the Multipurpose Platform which is used to accommodate various specialty dies like Sizzix Texturz, Embosslits, Clearlits, and Textured Impressions, or any product offered by Sizzix. The Big Shot is sturdy and with the crank on the side (instead of a lever that swings across the top) the Big Shot stores easily. The handle makes it convenient to move around to various workstations.


I also received three Westminster Fibers Dies: 2 1/2 Inch Hexagons, Plain Leaves, and 5 Inch Half-Square Triangles. Dies are most useful for fabric when they are simple shapes with gentle angles and curves. Anyone who is going to be sewing with their die cut shapes will need to quickly make a large pile of cutouts. The best tool for this job is a die cutting machine.

The 2 1/2 Inch Hexagons die cuts four hexagons at a time. The first thing I thought to try with this die was English Paper Piecing which is a hand sewing technique that stabilizes fabric around a paper template. Generally, one has to purchase the paper templates from quilt shops or other sources. With my own die, I can cut piles and piles of them and maybe even achieve my very own handsewn Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.

Holy Moley! I can’t wait! Okay, before I get ahead of myself, I’ll just try making one flower. I die cut a pile of 2 1/2 inch hexagons, and in the Big Shot, I was able to cut several layers of paper at a time. Next I used scissors to cut fabric pieces about 1/4 inch larger than the paper template and pinned the paper to the center of the fabric piece:

Now I baste the fabric around the paper. You really only need a few stitches to hold it together. I’ll need seven basted hexagons to achieve one flower. When they are all basted, I whip stitch the hexagons right sides together:

I forgot how much I love handstitching! In just a short time, I stitched a whole flower and a border around it. This is the underside before I finished the whole block. When a hexagon is totally surrounded, you can remove the basting and use the paper for another fabric hexagon. I started die cutting any scrap paper that entered my house, especially my daughter’s finished and graded school papers.

I’m telling you, I really got addicted to this and I started making calculations for a whole queen-sized bed quilt. My friends in my craft club recommended I try die cutting freezer paper hexagons and skip the basting altogether. Freezer paper worked great! I made about 45 hexagon flowers before I realized I was going to have to set this aside and try out the other Westminster Fiber dies. I know I never would have tried out this traditional technique if I didn’t have this terrific die from Sizzix.

Sizzix sells Bigz Hexagon dies in 4 different sizes, so if these are too large for you, there are several other options.

I got so excited about those hexagons, I forgot to show you how to actually use the Big Shot with Bigz dies. Bigz dies are 6 inches wide. You can use any other Sizzix product in the Big Shot, as long as it is not wider than 6 inches. When die cutting with the Big Shot and a Bigz die, sandwich the die and your fabric, paper, felt, or other material, face up between the two sheets of plexiglass.

I’m using 2 layers of felt here and the Plain Leaves die which cuts 8 simple leaves of various sizes. The largest leaf is about 3.5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. The smallest is the same proportion at just 1.5 inches long. With the Big Shot, you can cut several layers of material at a time. If you pack in too much, you will not be able to pass it through the Big Shot.With a die cutting machine you can get large piles of perfect shapes in a flash. I cut a nice selection of felt leaves. There is very little waste of my precious wool blend felt using this die.

Felt is awesome and the Big Shot cuts it just like butter. For my project, I’m going to also cut some leaves from fabric and iron-on fusible webbing. Lickety-split, I have a pretty pile of fabric leaves exactly the same size as the felt I just cut.

I ironed fusible web backed fabric leaves to felt with floral wire between to make this leafy fabric sprig. I can make a lot of these and make them into a wreath, or this would make a nice bow for a special wrapped package

Bigz dies can also cut aluminum cans!

I backed my tin with sticky foam to soften the edges and make it easier to craft with.


My daughter loves her new hairclip made with a plain leaf and some circles from another Sizzix Originals die I already own. Don’t fret! My Sizzix dies still work like a charm on felt and fabric even after cutting paper or aluminum.

People who already own a Big Shot and are ready to try quilting will want to try out the 5 Inch Half Square Triangle die. The 5 inch measurement is unfinished. Your sewn square will measure 4 1/8 inches in a finished quilt block, depending on the size of your seam allowance and how aggressively you iron your block open.

I cut strips of fabric about 6 inches wide. I’m going to stick with reds and whites in this project, so each time I made a cut, I layered a red strip right sides together with a white strip so the units would all be matched up and ready for the sewing machine.

I was able to cut about 6 to 8 layers of fabric at a time, but if I loaded too much, bits of fabric and fuzz stuck in the corners of the die. Occasionally, there were threads along the outside that didn’t cut, but this was not a problem as I was able to cut them quickly with my seam ripper.

I settled into a rhythm of 4 layers at a time. With the long strips of fabric, I could conserve by making my cut, then sliding the die to the next area and cutting again. I had very little waste.

So many triangles! My grandma would be pleased to see me using the fabric she bequeathed me from her sizable stash. Be careful handling these triangles because the diagonal edge is the stretchy bias and you don’t want to end up sewing a bunch of wonky squares. The other method of cutting half square triangles would be with a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. I am not sure if this method is faster, but it certainly is more precise.

Crafters with a Big Shot who want to dabble in quilting can make a whole quilt with just this die and no investment in a rotary cutter, mat, and ruler. You don’t even need a good pair of fabric scissors if you use these quilting dies.

Just stitch up the diagonal of each set keeping an accurate 1/4 inch seam.

There are so many pleasing possibilities with Half Square Triangle units!

I settled on this setting which measures about 33 inches square and uses 64 Half Square Triangle units. You may keep a slightly different 1/4 inch seam allowance than I do so your finished top may have a slightly different measurement.

Pros:
  • Portable, durable, dependable, affordable.
  • Doesn’t require electricity, sticky mats that lose their stickiness, or computer programming.
  • Cuts a wide variety of materials interchangeably. Obviously, use discretion when choosing what to cut and don’t overload the dies. If a material doesn’t cut with scissors, it isn’t likely to cut with the Big Shot.
  • Useful selection of dies available for quilt making, felt craft, and fabric.
  • Westminster Fiber dies are well designed to make effective use of a fabric supply with little wasted fabric.
  • Nothing compares to a traditional die cutter like this when a large supply of shaped cutouts is desired.
  • New quilters can design a whole quilt using just one of the Westminster Fiber Bigz dies with no investment in many of the traditionally necessary tools for quilt making.
Cons:
  • Shapes are not customizable
  • Bigz dies are thick, so a collection of them will take up space in the craft closet.
  • Dies are labeled on the side. It would be helpful if they also had an image of the shape on the top of the die.
  • It is not necessarily quicker to cut all the pieces of a quilt with the Big Shot, but the accuracy and precision cannot be beat.

 

GIVEAWAY!
It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you can read about in upcoming reviews. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:Do you own a die cutting machine? Which one(s)? What crafts would you use the Big Shot for?

One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.

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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: Spellbinder Grand Calibur (Day 2 of 2)

Reported by Dana Vitek

I’ve been a Spellbinders customer since the beginning of time. I have one of the original Wizards; it says “Patent Pending” on it. I’ve been collecting the Spellbinders dies since before the Nestibilities came out. As such, I have amassed quite the collection:

I may or may not have a problem.

So when the time came to test out the Spellbinders Grand Calibur, I was the obvious choice.  Kandi did such a great job yesterday describing the contents of the box and such, I’ll just get right down to the business of showing off.

The first thing I wanted to cut and emboss has been hanging out in my craft room for years:

This is Craft-a-Board, developed by Ellen Hutson for use with the Spellbinder Nestabilities. It’s a sturdy board, like chipboard, but nicer. I could never get the Nestabilities to cut cleanly through it with the original Wizard, so I was excited to try it with the Grand Calibur.

I laid out all the dies I wanted to cut. The largest scalloped square there is the very biggest of the Grand Scalloped Squares. I also threw some scalloped paisleys on there because I had SO MUCH ROOM on the cutting platform.

Here they are after one pass through the Grand Calibur:

One piece didn’t cut cleanly all the way through, but a quick pass of the craft knife, and it was ready to go.

Compared to the trouble I had with this stuff using the original Wizard, I was thrilled!
While I had the Craft-a-Board out, I decided to make a puzzle for my daughter, using the Spellbinders Jigsaw Puzzle Die. I traced out the size of the die in pencil, and then went to town stamping and coloring the Craft-a-Board:

I centered the die over the design, and ran it through the Grand Calibur:

One pass through… 

and here it is in pieces:

Most of the pieces came apart with a little back and forth wiggling; I think I had to cut 2 or 3 pieces with the craft knife, and it literally only took seconds to do that. A quick, personalized 20-piece puzzle for my kid. These would be great as birthday party favors!

Now then, I have letterpress on the brain because I just finished up a some letterpress projects, and the packaging of the Spellbinders Impressibilities caught my eye. It says it can be used for letterpressing. Don’t mind if I do!

I pulled out my letterpress paper and ink, and inked up the Paisley Impressibility:

I laid it on top of the paper on the ‘A’ plate. I ran it through the machine using the “embossing sandwich” but there wasn’t enough pressure, and I didn’t get a good deboss.

So I tried it again with the regular cutting sandwich (‘A’ plate, paper, Impressibility, ‘C’ plate), and voila! It looks fabulous!

I was really impressed! Pun intended!

Moving on to one of my favorite media: shrink plastic! I love making little charms for cards and jewelry, and I wanted to see if the Grand Calibur generated enough pressure to cut plastic with the low-profile Nestibilities.

Test subject:

I ran it through the Grand Calibur, and the plastic cut with no trouble at all! I set my old-school Old Milwaukee heat-gun to work, and came up with this cute little dragonfly:

Here’s a fun little card for a coworker’s new baby girl, using the letterpressed paper, the dragonfly charm, and some cut paisleys:

I figured that since it could cut shrink plastic, it could probably cut thicker plastic too, like the ubiquitous clamshell packaging. I swear, I have saved every plastic package since the late ’90s. Really. I refuse to let it go to a landfill, but I’ve never really figured out what to do with it. Well, now I know!

This is actually the packaging from the Grand Scalloped Square Nestabilities
again, one pass through, no problem…

all sanded up and ready to go!

I’ll bet you’re wondering what I made with all this stuff… okay, I’ll show you.

While I was cutting paisleys, I cut a bunch of them, and made a scrapbook layout featuring my kid wearing a dinosaur hat:

this was a happy little accident… 2 paisleys=a heart!
this kid knows what’s up.

I decided my layout needed some rub-ons, but didn’t have the energy to use that Popsicle stick doohicky, so I placed the rub-on where I wanted it, and ran it through the Grand Calibur, just to see if the pressure would transfer the rub-on.

It totally did! What a time-saver!

And here’s the finished layout. This uses the largest (8″) Scalloped Square that I cut from the Craft-a-Board; the smaller scalloped square, also from the Craft-a-Board; that sanded plastic piece that I cut from the packaging, and the Paisley heart: 

Please be gentle… I am not a scrapbooker!

I put the Grand Calibur through its paces, and am happy to report that I never found anything it couldn’t do. EXCEPT. Except it is just not quite big enough to use the regular Sizzix dies. I was so hoping that I could whittle down my die-cutting machine collection to just the Grand Calibur, but I have way too much $$$ invested in regular Sizzix dies, so the Big Shot stays.

Pros:

  • Wide-format opening allows for 8″ dies to be used.
  • Grand Nestabilities match the smaller Nestabilities, and allow for layering.
  • Easy-to-turn handle, no shooting the sandwich stack across the room like with the original Wizard.
  • Can cut lots of media, not just cardstock.
  • It’s pink. Ish. Kind of a raspberry, really, but I’m down with that.

Cons:

  • Opening is not quite big enough to allow a regular Sizzix die through.
  • The crank handle takes many revolutions; seems like the gear ratio should be reset.
  • That’s all I’ve got. Really.

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at Spellbinders have given us a set of Grand Scalloped Squares AND a set of Grand Squares (which coordinate) to give to one lucky reader (that’s a $100 value!). Just leave a comment on this blog post answering this question:

Knowing now what different media you can cut with the Grand Calibur and the Nestabilities, what would you try to cut?

One comment per person, please. Winner will be selected on Friday, April 29, 2011.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: Spellbinders Grand Calibur (continued)

Reported by Kandi Phillips
I’ve always loved shaped cards and couldn’t wait for the chance to create my very own scalloped card! One the amazing things the Grand Calibur does is to emboss all in one cut when using Nestabilities! I placed my cardstock fold in half over the die and then ran it through the machine.

I was left with a fun scallop shape complete with embossed edges.

Using some of my previously cut dies I created this quick shaped card.

When using the oval Grand Nestabilities in conjunction with the coordinating scallop dies, you can create a precise layer that will fit perfectly on your die-cut shape.

Using my sewing pattern flower I dressed up the front of the shaped card and added some felt petals also cut out with a die.


You can also use the Grand Nestabilities to cut photos! Since you’ll always place your media face down on the die (with the die edges facing up toward the cutting plate) you can get an embossed edge even on your pictures. I centered the die over my photo and then taped the edges outside of the cutting area.

Flip it over on your plate and then pass through your machine to result in an embossed and quickly cut picture.

Using the dies and the previously cut scallop I created a scrapbook layout inspired by the ovals as eggs.

For my next test I wanted to take things to the next level. How many of you have extra scraps of ribbon that you think you need to hang onto “just in case” and then never use on a project? I gathered up some of my strips and secured them onto a scrap of white cardstock.

I placed the smaller oval die on the back side of the ribbon. I knew I didn’t need to have an embossed edge on this one and I wasn’t sure if it might damage the ribbon so I used the opposite side instead. I secured the sides with tape in case of accidental shifting before it was placed in the machine.

When I removed it from the back of the machine I found it hadn’t cut all the way through the ribbon, but that was quickly fixed by trimming around the edges.

I dressed up the oval with some flowers and can’t wait to use this cute Easter egg on another layout or card!

Finally I took the plunge into cutting fabric! The first pass through didn’t yield the expected results and I was a little dismayed.

After doing some research on the Spellbinders website it recommended using a shim in the form of regular printer paper to bring the die closer to the fabric. I ran it through and again and still wasn’t able to get the even results I was hoping for.

Thinking I need to use more printer paper, or actual cardstock, I created a thick sandwich of cardstock and layered my fabric over the dies. It was amazingly difficult to crank the handle with such a thick sandwich and after hearing a large pop I was worried I had completely broken the machine. I reversed the handle and luckily everything was still in working order, and even better I had some fabric cuts!

Now, I’m still going to go back and try to find the perfect sandwich and mix for cutting fabric, but if you’re thinking of trying this, it may vary depending on the fabric you’re using, or how thick your cardstock is. If you’ve got a recipe for success I’d love to hear about it!

After spending so much time cutting I knew I needed to focus on the embossing side of things. I already knew I couldn’t emboss with my Sizzix® Impression Plates, and I needed the W-025 Raspberry Spacer before using my Cuttlebug ® folders, so I went in a different direction. I wanted to try and use various items in my craft supplies to create unique embossed backgrounds. I used embroidery floss, chipboard butterfly cuts and buttons.

Unfortunately the buttons were too thick so I couldn’t get it all the way through and had to reverse. The chipboard almost cut through the cardstock, but the floss created a really cool effect.

I tried another set of chipboard die cuts that were a little thinner, but still it almost cut through the cardstock from the deep pressure of the machine.

Lastly, I wanted to use a brass stencil to test out the embossing feature.

In comparison you can’t see too much difference from the Big Shot Express® example on the left to the Grand Calibur example on the right.

I added some distressing ink and although it’s not very visible in the photo, the image from the Grand Calibur is slightly deeper and a little crisper.

Overall, I am in love with the Grand Calibur and what it can do. Although I am disappointed at my results with fabric, and the fact that I can’t use my Bigz® dies, I am incredibly pleased at being able to use other dies I’d almost given up on. Combined with the fact that I can use extra-large Grand Nestabilities that coordinate with the smaller scale Nestabilities, and the amazing crispness of the cuts, I know I’ll always turn to the Grand Calibur for die-cutting outside of Sizzix® dies.

The Grand Calibur retails for $129.99 and replacement cutting plates can be purchased separately for $24.99. Additionally, the Grand Nestabilities can be purchased for $49.99, and as mentioned coordinate with the smaller versions of Nestabilities seamlessly.

Pros:
  • Wide cutting plates let you cut with the super-sized Grand Nestabilities dies and also cut multiple dies at once
  • Amazing crispness and deep embossing when cutting through most mediums
  • Compatible with most dies on the marketBuilt in handle that you can hold onto while turning the crank handle
  • Stability base works well and keeps the machine in place

Cons:
  • Crank handle requires at least 30 revolutions to complete one pass
  • Isn’t compatible with Sizzix Bigz® dies and requires a spacer plate for use with Sizzlets®, Fiskars® plates and Cuttlebug® folders
GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at Spellbinders have given us a set of Grand Scalloped Circles AND a set of Large Format Circles (which coordinate) to give to one lucky reader (that’s a $100 value!). Just leave a comment on either of today’s blog posts answering this question:

Have you used the Spellbinders Grand Calibur before? What do you use your Grand Calibur the most for, or what would you use it for?

One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be selected on Friday, April 29, 2011.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter (2 of 2)

Reported by Susie Ziegler

The Slice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter is a digital design cutter with design cards made specifically to cut fabric. If you work with fabric you know that sometimes the intricate shapes of other digital design cards will not work well with fabric which snags when the knife turns sharply to cut funny angles. Then when you go to sew down the edges of your cutouts, you’ll want to have gentle curves and simple shapes.

The Slice Fabrique comes with a power cord, 3 blades with an adjustment wrench, a sturdy 6″x 6″ tempered glass mat, a very small bottle of liquid repositionable adhesive, 3 6″x 6″ fusible web sheets, a user manual, and one Applique Basics SD design card. This design card has a nice letter font, basic geometric shapes and stars, some basic leaf and tree shapes, butterflies, a nice variety of simple flowers, hears, and a few fruits.

I cannot wait to get started with this! I am particularly excited about the easy to sew letter font. I cant wait to make letter monograms in cute fabrics! So the first thing I have to do is get the repositionable adhesive goo onto the glass mat and let it dry.

I’m supposed to use a thin layer of this stuff, but it globbed out of the bottle right away.


I am not exactly sure how thin a thin layer is.


Next I have to iron on the fusible web to the back of my fabric. Fusible web is a paper backed product that when ironed, can fuse fabric to fabric. The manufacturer, Making Memories, recommends that I use their fusible webbing. I had some small fabric charm squares which, at 4 inches, are a little bit smaller than the glass mat and the squares of webbing provided in the packaging. There are only 3 little sheets of fusible webbing in the package. Be sure to pick up some more when you get your Slice Fabrique.


I ironed on a square of their fusible web and I also fused another brand of fusible web to another one of my charm squares.


I pressed my square of fabric onto my sticky glass mat. I’m going to make a monogram for a little girl I know, so I plugged in the Slice Fabrique inserted the design card and selected the letter I need.


I set it in the center of the mat and pressed the button to cut. You can choose sizes of your shape from 1 inch to 4 inches and you can cut out a shadow of your selection or a mirror of it.


It cut super fast, but uh-oh… it totally did not work. It looks like the fabric was not stuck to the mat, but I’m sure I did a good and careful job with the adhesive. I tried again with the other square and it failed again.


Perhaps the square of fabric was too small. Next I fused a larger piece of fabric that could be held in position by the Slice Fabrique as it cut. Success! I got a very good cut out of felt as well using my other brand of fusible web without any paper back.


I did get a nice shadowed monogram too, but my cuts did not always work out. And I seemed to be wasting my fabric because I needed large 6-inch squares for each cut.


I stitched up a monogrammed drawstring bag. I really love the shadowed font, and it was easy to stitch down too..

The other side has a shadowed butterfly. Cute and easy!


We contacted Making Memories about our trouble with consistent cuts. They recommended we use their Slice Repositionable Spray Adhesive. The sent some along with some larger sheets of their fusible webbing which is very thin and has a stiffer paper backing. If you are planning to try your own repositional spray adhesive, just be sure it is water soluble! You’ll need to wash your glass mat and respray often making sure each time that your fabric piece is adhered securely to the mat.

If you are purchasing the Slice Fabrique, be sure that you also pick up a bottle of Slice repositionable adhesive. It is much easier to use than the liquid adhesive, is stickier, and more effective.


Okay, so now I really went to town with my applique cutouts. I was able to get several letters cut out of one 6 inch square of fabric, as long as the letters were less than two inches. I found that it did not matter if the fabric was fabric side up or paper backing side up when I tested my cuts, as long as I was using the spray adhesive.


When the mat seems to be losing its stickiness, wash off and reapply the spray adhesive.


I used some of my new appliques to embellish these fabric containers I made:


Remember, for durability, you will need to stitch down the edges of your fused pieces.


I already had success with felt, but how about with fleece? Uh oh…


I’ve been cutting with this knife for awhile. Perhaps I should change it. This was easily done on the underside of the Slice Fabrique. Since fleece is thick, I adjusted the knife so that it could cut more deeply. Success with both felt and fleece!


I got the hang of conserving my fabric and getting more cutouts out of each square.

Here I used an unsuccessful large cutout as the base for some smaller circles. I cut two, but then the third snagged. This was an off brand of fusible webbing and it worked pretty well, but not as well as the Slice Fusible Web.


Look how great it cuts twill, corduroy, and t-shirt fabric!


Pros:

  • Great small lightweight size is easy to store.
  • Can be used without the cord. Holds charge for a very long time.
  • Cuts many types of fabric easily and very quickly
  • Designs are specifically for fabric applique and not papercraft which is often unsuitable.
  • Easy to use right out of the box.

Cons:

  • Liquid repositionable adhesive is unreliable and there isn’t enough in the package. Be sure to use the spray.
  • It is hard to know exactly where the knife will cut, so there can be fabric waste. Be sure to have extra fabric on hand just in case you misjudge your cut.
  • I have sturdy fingernails so I don’t need a spatula to remove the cutouts from the sticky glass mat. You may need to use a spatula.

I am most excited about the happy fabric banner I made for all the spring holidays. If you can believe it, I started out trying to make it suitable for male or female, but it went all girly pretty quickly. Rick-rack and flowers have a way of doing that.

I’m planning to use my Slice Fabrique to make more banners and monograms. I might try embellishing some kids clothes too. The possibilities are endless!

GIVEAWAY!
The great folks at Making Memories are giving away the newest member to the Slice Family, the Slice Fabrique, to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:

Have you tried the Slice Fabrique yet? What do you love about it? If not, what do you use to cut fabric shapes now and what do you love/hate about it?

Thanks for sharing your opinions, we love to hear what YOU think!
You have until Monday, April 18th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: We R Memory Keepers Heart Attack

Reported by Eileen Hull

When the opportunity to review the Heart Attack from We R Memory Keepers presented itself, I jumped at the chance because who doesn’t love gadgets and tools? The Heart Attack is a cute little tool designed to distress paper and other materials.

The Heart Attack measures about 2 1/4″ wide by 1 3/4″ tall which is a great size to bring along to class or a crop. There’s a  ring which makes it easy to slip on your finger and start sanding.Three pieces of sandpaper are included. The adhesive is strong and kept the pad in place as long as I used it. Another feature of the tool is a small blade located in the top of the heart which creates rough edges when paper or other materials is run across it. A retractable switch returns the blade to a safety position while not in use.

Until this point, my distressing tool of choice was a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a block of scrap foamboard. The Heart Attack was able to get in and sand curves (between scallops, for example) and did a much better job overall than my rectangular block. The grit of the sandpaper seems to be medium/coarse and really chews paper up. I found in my experiments that results vary widely with the type of paper you use.

For my first project, I made a card from a piece of light blue paper from the We R Memory Keepers Fiesta Textured Cardstock pack. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily the Heart Attack rubbed the color off the top of layer of the paper, leaving a white-core textured design. After I sanded the paper, I used stamps from their Family Keepsake collection and the impression came out nice and crisp. The paper almost felt like velvet after the top layer was sanded off. I also used the sanding tool and blade on the green paper ruffle. I liked how the blade got in the corners of the scallops.


My next project was a memo holder favor for my daughter’s wedding. I die-cut the project from matboard, then ran it through the Big Shot again, this time using a embossing folder on the flap of the memo holder. I used the Heart Attack to sand the raised embossed areas down to the white core of the matboard. Love how this came out! Very subtle and rich. When I tried scraping the blade along the matboard, it looked OK but had a much more dramatic effect when I used it on paper with the first project. The sandpaper rubs the top layer of the surface away whereas the blade scrapes off the bottom of the surface and sends the rest of the material in directions away from the blade. Sanding produces a smooth effect and the blade roughs it up. Two looks for the price of one tool!

 

Pros:

  • The retail price is reasonable at $5.99. It’s two tools in one- good value
  • Small and easy to transport
  • Ring for your finger makes the tool ergonomic and comfortable to hold
  • Liked that it came with two refills of the sanding hearts
  • Retractable blade is a good safety feature.
  • Pointed end gets in close to sand edges in tight areas (scallops, angles)
  • Sandpaper lasts a long time and worked well with the materials I used it with
  • Cute color!

Cons:

  • Not sure if sanding pads and blades may be purchased separately as refills but that would be a nice option. Looking at the construction of the tool, I don’t believe the blade is able to be replaced..
  • When I was distressing with the blade using some force, the blade popped out of position several times and closed while I was sanding
  • Would love to see a thin file for sanding super intricate designs

I liked the Heart Attack. It sure works a lot better than what I have been using- I’m a convert!

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at We R Memory Keepers are giving away a Heart Attack Tool and the Fiesta paper collection and Family Keepsake paper collection to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the  comment section of this blog on either of the articles about the Heart Attack Tool to be entered:

What do you think of this cool little tool? What materials (beside paper) would you use the Heart Attack to distress? What tools would you like to see next for all your distressing needs?

You have until Friday, April 15th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.


Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

CHA Scrapbooking: Fancy Pants Designs

Fancy Pants Designs has released 4 brand new paper collections with a whole score of new embellishments, as well as a new collection of alterable items for scrapbookers and altered item enthusiasts alike!

“It’s The Little Things” is a really pretty combination of pink, mint and black, reminiscent of a 50’s kitchen gone modern!





The new chipboard stickers come in alphabet, shape, and banner sets for each of the new collections; each contain 2 sheets of cuteness.

Fancy Pants has also started making 6″x6″ paper pads for each of their collections. The 12″x12″ version of each paper in the collection is reduced to a 6″x6″ version, so you still get the full pattern on each piece!

“Beach Bum” is one of Fancy Pants’ two new Summer collections with rich primaries and cute waves, surfboards, fish and swim trunk-worthy prints!



“Beach Babe” is the more girly of the two Summer collections with beautiful raspberry, lime, sky blue & sunny orange!



The last of the new paper collections is, “To The Moon” a super cute space inspired collection that has plenty of smaller patterns that are completely universal, no pun intended.



Each collection has two transparencies that coordinate with it, one is printed and the other is flocked. Check out how cute these flocked robots and aliens are!

Fancy Pants has responded to customer feedback by reducing their sheets of Glitter Cuts from 12″x12″ to 8″x8″ so that the pieces are easier to use on layouts and other projects.


They have also redone their journaling notebooks by taking them off the notebook spiral and putting them into cute sets, along with some smaller journaling bits.


“Artist Edition” is a new collection of alterable items with endless possibilities. The Chipboard Banner sets come in 4 different shapes, each with 10 pieces so that you can easily spell out those longer words with just one set!

Filter Flowers are made of a material very similar to coffee filters that can be stamped, misted, painted, crumpled and combined to make all sorts of fun things like this sweet layered flower garland.

The Brag Book is a 9″x7″ spiral bound book filled with solid black pages for layouts or keepsakes, kraft journaling pages (50 total) and 15 photo sleeves that hold 2 photos on each side, for a total of 60 photos! There’s a lot of options with that many pages!

So what can’t you resist?

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!