Top

Tag Archives | Vendor Spotlight

Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: PSA Essentials (2 of 2)

Reported by Dana Vitek


I came across the PSA Essentials booth at the Summer 2010 Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show & Conference. They were literally the last booth I stopped into, on the last day of the show. I’m not gonna lie; it was the big posters of Hello Kitty that stopped me in my tracks. I love Hello Kitty.

After chatting the fine folks up for a bit, I got a quick demo. This system is super quick and easy. The stamps literally do “peel & stick” and the ink pads click in and out like a dream.

 I make a lot of bulk cards, (meaning lots of the the same one; invitations, birth announcements, etc.) so I’m always looking for something that will speed the process along. The PSA Essentials System is it! I never realized how much time I spend with traditional stamps, lining up the stamp on the block, tap, tap, taping the ink pad, inspecting the stamp for any missed areas of ink, tapping the ink pad again, lining up the image, and then, finally, stamping. With this system, it’s (almost) all done for me. Line up the stamp, press down, move along. Done.


I received a custom stamp (I chose the Gillian model), and got to pick the words that went around the outside. I’ll be using this stamp a lot; and I LOVE that I can switch out the middle if I want to. That outer ring fits right into my 1 3/4″ circle punch.

  
Ca-Chunk! Ca-Chunk! That’s the sound the stamper makes. So satisfying!

Today is my son’s 8th birthday (happy birthday, Max!), and we always give out something little and fun to his classmates on his special day. It took less than half an hour to whip these up, including the cutting and scoring.

I printed up a couple of sheets of cardstock that I cut up into ATC (2.5″x3.5″) sized cards

Ca-Chunk.

Back of the cards

This is the outer ring from one of the Hello Kitty sets. Don’t tell Max.

1 3/4″ circle punch

All done!

We made 20 in all.



My daughter didn’t want to be left out (naturally) so she got in on the game and helped me make a card and a little book to keep her stickers in. She did the background on the card below. She’s 4.

This is what a middle stamp looks like loaded in the handy stamp assembly guide. There’s a notch on the top of the stamp that lines up with a doohicky on the guide. Then you fit the stamper down on top, and ca-chunk. It really couldn’t be any easier.


Hello, kitty.

And then I quickly whipped up a card & party favor. I could knock out a bunch of these in no time. Not every project has to take 3 hours. Or 3 weeks. These took about 3 minutes.


PSA Essentials has lots of Peel & Stick stamps to choose from, and if you’re collegiate and/or Greek, it looks like there’s a few options, with lots more to come.

Pros:

  • EASY! Easy to change the stamps, easy to change the ink, easy to keep clean. Easy.
  • FAST! Whip out those bulk projects in no time. Valentines for 40 kids… hello! 
  • Ca-Chunk!

Cons:

  • The black ink comes loaded in the stamper, but there doesn’t appear to be a cover for the pad included, so when you swap out the ink, you’ll need to remember to swap the black ink back in when you’re all done.
  • Learn from my fail: don’t try to stamp an already punched circle. The stamp is sticky enough to snatch that bad boy off your work surface and transfer it to the ink pad. Ask me how I know. No, don’t.

I highly recommend the PSA Essential Stamps, and look forward to adding to my collection.

Here’s a list of where you can find PSA Essential Stamps in your neck of the woods. Or, throw your hat into the ring for our…

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at PSA Essentials are giving away a set of stamps to one lucky reader. Just answer the following question in the comment section to be entered:

Which is your favorite line of PSA Essentials Peel & Stick stamps?

You have until Thursday,  January 27th at 10 pm CST to comment.


Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight: Wacom Bamboo Craft

Reported by Christine Ousley

Having had a large Wacom tablet that I got about 10 years ago, I was so excited to get the opportunity to review the smaller, newer Bamboo Craft by Wacom. Of course I knew that just because of the sheer number of years between purchasing my first tablet and receiving this new version that there would be differences due to technology advances, but I never thought that I would be so blown away about all the new options and ease of use.


The Wacom Bamboo Craft is an amazing tool for many different reasons. As complicated as it can be, it is also very user friendly for the beginner. Basically you can take it out of the box, install the software, and be up and running in no time. In the software bundle they also have included a training CD, free software, and special offers, all which makes purchasing this tool a fantastic deal.

I have been involved in digital scrapbooking for awhile now. I have created my own embellishments for years and love the versatility that I have when I create my own embellishments for my layouts or cards. Included in this Bamboo Craft package is a copy of Photoshop Elements 7. Wow, that is at least a $50 value and it is a fantastic program. I personally used Photoshop CS3, but I know from experience that it has all the bells and whistles that you need to create all the things that you would want plus make a digital scrapbook page. Also included in the software bundle is Corel Painter Essential 4.0 and Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 which are amazing programs to allow you to have even more fun with your pictures and your Wacom Bamboo Craft tablet.

Another feature in the software bundle is a library of digital paper and embellishments with more than enough to keep you very busy for a long time. There were 12 full scrapbook kits in all created in different styles and colors. The other extra on that disk is a library full of videos with step by step lessons on how to use the Wacom Bamboo Craft as well as the different software programs included in the bundle.


And, if that wasn’t enough, they have also included from some great sponsor partners, a free full year subscription to Scrapbooking & Beyond (I love that magazine), a free 20 page 8″x8″ Photo Book from Shutterfly, a free DSU Class, plus a great coupon to Cafe Press. Add all of these wonderful perks up and you are really getting the Wacom Bamboo Craft for free. What an amazing deal!
So let’s see some things that you can do with this tablet. Drawing and writing with the tablet pen is as good, with practice, as writing with a pencil on a piece of paper. This will allow you to create unique doodling and handwritten journalling directly on your computer without having to scan and then clean up.

Looking at this example, I realize that I have a lot of practicing to do to make my penmanship smoother but even on my first attempt it is so much better than using the track pad on my computer.
The next task I wanted to learn to do is to use the tablet to draw shapes and cut them out with my Cricut. I have a limited drawing ability so I asked my daughter to help me out. We found out that it was quite easy and fun. I asked her to draw something simple for the test. We had just gone to a baseball game so she decided to draw a bat. Since we are both are more familiar with Photoshop she drew it using that program. She is very familiar with this program so she quickly drew the shape and cleaned up the lines. This is what the Photoshop file looked like.

Then it was a matter of saving it as a .gif and opening it in a program called Inkscape. Inkscape is a free program for both Window and Mac computers that is very similar to Illustrator. After opening the file, you need to trace the bitmap and create a vector based graphic. Then save it as a SVG file and bring it into Sure Cuts A Lot to cut it on your Cricut machine.
Here is the card that I created with the bat diecut:

This is really so much fun and there are many things that you can draw and everything is made so much easier with the Wacom Bamboo Craft Tablet.
Another technique I discovered as I played with the tablet and my Cricut is that I could make diecuts that would be the same shape as my stamp. In this card, I used this technique on the butterfly. First, I stamped the image on a small piece of typing paper. Then I took the paper with the stamped image on it and carefully adhered a couple of edges to the tablet.

I set up my Photoshop file and, using my pen, traced around the stamped image. After this it is just a matter of filling in the shape and cleaning up the borders of the shape. Then I took this file and followed the same steps that I used in the previous card to cut it out using my Cricut.

Pros:
  • Fun to use
  • Takes scrapbooking to a whole new level
  • Makes digital journaling possible
  • Can be used in graphic programs as well as any other programs on your computer
  • The tablet and software included as well as the bonus programs are all Mac and PC compatible.
  • Multiple uses
  • Small and portable
  • Pens glides easily across the tablet
  • Customizable
Cons:
  • Even though the tablet is very easy to install and use right away, it takes some time and practice to understand all that it can do
  • The Bamboo Craft is one of the smaller tablets that Wacom offers.
  • While there is a lot of value to the tablet, the price tag (MSRP $129) may seem steep to some

Have you used the Wacom Bamboo Craft? What are your thoughts? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Plaid Craft Products

Reported by Sara McKenzie

I had the pleasure of receiving some Plaid products recently for review. We all know these brands: Folk Art Craft Paint, Mod Podge, All Night Media stamps, Bucilla needlecrafts, and One Stroke (made famous by Donna Dewberry) to name a few. But you may not have realized that the company, Plaid, is responsible for all of these goodies.

Before I get too much farther, I do want to give a shout-out to the Plaid website. They have tons of great project ideas of all kinds, and the instructions are detailed enough that you can actually reproduce the projects without being an expert crafter. I also ended up signing up for the Mod Podge blog, Mod Podge Rocks – also because there are a slew of great project ideas to be found there (did you know Mod Podge has been around for 40 years?!?)

For my review, I focused on:

I also received a large (14-3/4″ X 11-1/2″) oval, ready-to-finish, wooden plaque. My personal list of projects included some new house numbers to hang out front, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to create that!

The wooden plaque only needed a light sanding to begin. I mixed up a teal green with Folk Art Acrylic paint, and painted front and back. First observation: The Folk Art paint is not all that opaque. I always have to use at least two coats, and this project was no different. ALSO, if you are mixing a color, be sure to either 1) measure as you go (and who does that??) or 2) mix a quart of paint (I exaggerate only slightly!). Almost invariably, when I mix a color, I don’t mix enough, and then have an impossible time trying to mix exactly the same shade again. SO thank goodness there are so many shades to choose from. If you can, buy the shade you want, rather than mix it.
I applied two coats, front and back (it dried very quickly) – I was able to get both coats on easily and smoothly, and allowed the recommended 1 hour between coats. Then I decoupaged on some 7 Gypsies paper that I had on hand (‘Capri Journey’) using plain-old Mod Podge.

Ready to stencil!! The 3″ alphabet stencil I used (second observation: I cannot find it on the website-although there are plenty of others) consisted of a package of 48 individual stencils. The package included the full alphabet, numbers 0-9 and a variety of punctuation marks. They are called paper stencils, to distinguish them from plastic, but they are actually a very light cardboard so they are not too flimsy. I tacked them onto the plaque with masking tape to hold them in place while I stenciled.

I used the Stencil Decor Brush Set to apply the Folk Art paint. I’ve used these brushes for along time, and am happy to give them a big thumbs up. They come in multiple sizes, and have just the right amount of stiffness. I’ve used them with acrylic paint, as well as ink and stencil medium, and have never been disappointed. Mine have all gotten stained over time, but if you wash your brush after use, that stain will not affect your next project (if you are worried about it, you can maintain a set of brushes, one for each color family).

Again, however, I found that I had to apply two coats of paint over the patterned paper to completely cover the paper design underneath. Bummer.

The stencil held up very nicely. I had to work a little bit to get into some of the corners, because the stencil is thicker than the plastic type. But it was not a burden. The stencil left clean lines and crisp corners, which is what you want. The Plaid recommendation is to remove the stencil while still wet, and to let the paint dry on it. You can then presumably re-use it. (Observation three: not sure how comfortable I’ll be with reusing these…)

I used a decorative element from the Home Decor Stencils to add just a little more to the design.
Finally, I used a good old Sharpie pen to outline my numbers and the decorative tulip- I found there was enough height to the painted elements that it was easy to maintain a straight line.


Well, not finally. I had to apply a finish to it. Following the directions, I applied 10 (yes, ten!!) coats of Hard Coat Mod Podge to the front and to the back. You can apply additional coats after only 20 minutes, so this part can go somewhat fast. But I did mine over a series of days, just because that ended up being more convenient. I ended up using 3/4 of an 8 oz jar of the Mod Podge. I tried the wet sanding in-between, but did not see any difference in the surface texture (maybe it wasn’t wet enough?). And you can see the brush strokes on the close-up image. They are not as noticeable in real life from a reasonable distance. BUT, and here is the main drawback: You have to allow 4 weeks (FOUR WEEKS!) to let it cure. YIKES!!! Clearly no project can be done quickly with this product.

Not only that, and this is my own fault, I probably used the wrong Mod Podge for something that is going outside. I should have used the Outdoor Mod Podge. If anyone has any experience in a spray finish over Mod Podge that won’t discolor and will protect from moisture, I am all ears!
Pros:

  • Talk about easy to find! All of these products are readily available at big box craft stores, at your local craft stores, on the internet.
  • The prices are reasonable. Folk Art Paint averages about $1.79 per bottle. The alphabet stencils range from $4.49 to $7.49, and are reusable.
  • There is a huge selection of colors in Folk Art paint. There are stencil designs for all kinds of projects (kids, home decor, alphabets). There are a ton of different types of Mod Podge.
  • The stencil brushes are sturdy, do the job, clean up well, and last a long time.

Cons:

  • Folk Art paint does NOT cover in one coat (to be fair, it doesn’t claim to).
  • The Hard Coat Mod Podge is REALLY stinky. I mean REALLY stinky. Make sure you are in a large, ventilated space when you use it (although it does dissipate when it is dry).
  • Maybe there are too many types of Mod Podge? I thought I had made the right choice for an outdoor item, but now am not so sure.

GIVEAWAY
Plaid is generously giving one of our readers a gift pack full of these great Plaid products! Just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Plaid articles. For this article, we want to know…


How about you? Have you played with any of these products yourself? Please share your experiences!!

One comment per person, per article, please. You have until Thursday, June 17th 6pm CST to enter.
Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Plaid Outdoor Paint, Outdoor ModPodge and tools

Reported by Erika Martin

I’ve loved to paint since I was a little girl. When I got older and discovered acrylic paints, a whole new world opened up for me. I especially like painting on wood and terracotta so that I can put my creations outside, but having the right paints and sealer was always a problem for me. When the opportunity came up for me to try out the new line of FolkArt Outdoor Paints and Outdoor ModPodge sealer by Plaid, I was all over it.

Plaid sent a very generous package to play with. They sent their FolkArt Outdoor Paints, the Outdoor ModPodge sealer, some patterned paper, a variety of brushes, the and ModPodge Professional tool set as well as a wooden bird house to paint.

What I noticed first off about the paint was that each of the bottles had a small birdhouse sticker on it in the color of the paint. I keep my paints in a basket with the tops facing up, so having these little stickers on the top will not only help me to see what colors I have, but it will also help me to know where my outdoor acrylics are.

When I squirted some of the paint onto my palette, I liked how thick the paint came out. Many of the acrylic paints I’ve used in the past didn’t have the thickness that the FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paint does. I mixed a couple of the paints together to create a lighter shade of the blue paint that Plaid sent me. It mixed really well and I liked the feel on the brush.

The Plaid website says this about their FolkArt line of Outdoor Acrylic paints:

“Rich and creamy premium quality acrylic paint formulated for use outdoors. UV and weather resistant, FolkArt Outdoor is self-sealing and dries to a satin sheen. Paint on a variety of surfaces, including: unpainted or painted metal, tin, terra cotta, wood, stone and concrete. Use for traditional stroke work, stenciling or sponging, colors blend like regular FolkArt acrylic paints. Includes 2 – 2 ounce bottles of Wicker White and Engine Red, 6 – .44 ounce pots of primary colors and 24 – .16 ounce pots of outdoor trend colors. Cures in 48 hours.”

I did need two coats of the paint to cover the birdhouse, but this is typical for most acrylic paints, actually, other brands of paint have required three coats on wood, so this was definitely a plus for me. The paint glided smoothly over the base of the birdhouse even though I didn’t sand it before I started. There really is a great feeling to having brand new brushes and these brushes didn’t disappoint.

The packaging on the brushes is fantastic. Very informative. On the back of each package is a picture of each brush, as well as a description of the type of brush and its uses. I have painted for years, but to be honest, I usually pick brushes that look like they’ll work for what I want to do. It’s nice to have the actual uses and recommendations listed on the back of the packaging. I found uses for some of these brushes that I didn’t realize were there just by reading the back.

The paint, even though it was rather thick, dried fairly quickly. I painted The edges of the roof and the undersides. I also did some green paint around the bottom and then added some grass detail which needed a few coats and complete drying in between coats to cover the blue paint underneath.
A 1.25 inch “Spouncer” was included in the Mod Podge Tool set of brushes and this is something I’ve seen in the craft stores but had never purchased before. This brush is billed as great for stenciling, basic sponge painting and napkin applique on glass. I used it to create the clouds on my bird house, and now I’m in love with it. I have always liked to add clouds to scenes that I’ve painted but it’s been tricky to get the wispy and whimsical look that I like. With the Spouncer, I got just what I wanted.
I added a sun where the hole in the bird house was located.

I used some of the patterned paper that Plaid sent me to cut out the flowers to use as embellishments on my bird house. I used the Outdoor ModPodge (which I never knew existed until Plaid sent it, even though I’ve used ModPodge for years) as a glue to tack down my flowers. One of the many things that I love about ModPodge is that most of their products can not only be used as a sealer but also as a glue. It’s a great all-in-one product. I used the glue brush included in the Tool set of brushes to apply the ModPodge and found that it covered the area very well. It also washed out easily from the brush when I put it under the faucet.

Another product that was new to me was the Squeegee contained in the ModPodge Professional Tool Set. For years, I’ve used an old credit card, and while I had some success with those, they didn’t even compare to the flawless way the Squeegee flattened out the paper and took out any air bubbles contained under the paper.

I do a lot of collage work and mixed media with ModPodge and paper and I know that this Squeegee is gong to be a much used tool for many of my projects.

There were no air bubbles whatsoever left under my paper flowers. All of them laid flat after going over them with the Squeegee and the paper also didn’t buckle.

The Plaid website also states:

“The Squeegee is used to press paper, fabric and other items into hard-to-reach corners.”

I decided to cover the roof of the bird house with patterned paperm so I used the glue brush to coat the roof. In the past, I’ve tried to put a thinner coat of ModPodge on my projects because of the air bubbles and buckling, but the packaging promised: “The Brayer is used to smooth paper, fabric and other items onto a surface, providing the right amount of pressure to eliminate air bubbles and with no mess.” So, I gave it a try.

The brayer is not like the regular rubber brayer that stampers and crafters use. The brayer has more of a hard plastic feel rather than a rubber feel. I was a bit skeptical, but DANG! It sure did its job. No muss, no fuss, even with the thicker coat of ModPodge that I put on the roof cover. It distributed the ModPodge underneath evenly. It pressed out the air bubbles, and I got a smooth and flat surface with no bubbling. I’ve used my rubber brayer on previous projects and they just didn’t get the same results that this one did. I’ll definitely be pulling this tool out to use on all my ModPodge projects with paper, including the canvases I like to work on.

I did some more decorative touches on my bird house with the Outdoor Acrylic paint to finish it off and then it was time to seal my entire creation. I used the Plaid Sponge brush to apply my Outdoor ModPodge. I also used the #8 Flat Brush from the ModPodge Brush Tool Set to get into the tight corners under the roof.

The ModPodge dried quickly and I applied another coat on top. I allowed the second coat to dry completely before I added a third and final coat. I made sure to follow the directions on the bottle to allow a full 15 minutes for each coat to dry before applying the next one.

Since I’m going to be putting the bird house in my garden, I wanted to make sure that it had good protection before going out in the elements.

It’s also important to allow the ModPodge to fully cure, dry and seal your project for 72 hours before putting it out in the elements. I’ve had my bird house outside through a couple rainstorms now and it’s shown no problems at all with the paper holding tight or the sealer deteriorating.

In the next couple of months, I’m going to take the advice of the directions for use on the bottle and reapply a couple more coats of the ModPodge to preserve my project. The bottle advises: “Reapplication every several months will help preserve your project.”

The one thing that I would change about how my bird house turned out is that I probably would have used a different brush to apply the ModPodge as my sealer. I found that because the ModPodge is so thick that it showed the texture of the sponge brush that I used to apply it. Depending on how you want your sealer to look when it dries, I’d suggest using a couple different brushes to figure out what you want your finish to look like.

Plaid’s website states about the Outdoor ModPodge:

“This waterbase sealer, glue and finish lets you decoupage for the outdoors! Seals and protects wood, terra cotta, slate, tin and more. Dries fast & clear.”

Next on my list of projects to try the Outdoor ModPodge and FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic Paints will be an old head board that I found on the side of the road that I plan to use as a greeting sign to put at the end of our deck, as well as some terracotta pots that I have on my deck to use with herbs. If they work as well as they did on my bird house, then I know I’ll have no issues at all.

Pros:

  • Paints have identifying stickers on top to mark them as outdoor paint and also to indicate color.
  • Paints are thick and truly opaque.
  • The paints blend just like regular acrylic paints do.
  • Paint is UV and weather resistant.
  • The paint is self-sealing – HUGE PLUS!
  • Paint can be used on a variety of surfaces such as unpainted or painted metal, tin, terracotta, wood, stone and concrete.
  • Outdoor ModPodge can be used as a glue, sealer and finish.
  • Outdoor ModPodge seals and protects wood, terracotta, slate, tin and more.
  • Brush packaging shows photos of brushes, gives descriptions and suggested uses.
  • ModPodge tools (brayer and squeegee) deliver exactly what the packaging advertises.

Cons:

  • The available color line of FolkArt Outdoor Acrylic paints isn’t very large, though you can blend colors if needed.
  • Not entirely a con but the Outdoor ModPodge is much thicker than other types of ModPodge so it can show brush strokes very visibly so trying out a few different types of brushes to get the texture you prefer for your project.

It was very hard to even come up with cons for these products. I have found that Plaid has never disappointed me with their product lines. I had never used the Outdoor Paint, Outdoor ModPodge, or brayer and squegee before, but just like other products that I’ve used in the past, they far surpassed my expectations and blew my skepticism away.

How about you…..have you used any of the tools or brushes from Plaid? Which one is your favorite? What kinds of projects have you created with the Outdoor paints? Leave us a comment and let us know!

advertisement

Comprised of four 2-hour classes, Scrapbook Design & You® is taught by certified instructors who will guide you through the process of designing scrapbook pages effortlessly! Each course focuses on specific scrapbooking techniques and theory developed to maximize the use of color, design, journaling, handwriting and embellishing into all your layouts. Register for classes today and begin preserving your most cherished memories for generations to come.

GIVEAWAY
Plaid is generously giving one of our readers a gift pack full of these great Plaid products! Just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Plaid articles. For this article, we want to know…

Have you ever used a dimensional product like this before? If so, what do you love and/or hate about it?

One comment per person, per article, please. You have until Thursday, June 17th 6pm CST to enter.

Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Plaid Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

Reported by Erin Bassett
When someone says Mod Podge I usually think of the big jar of glue like adhesive that I use to decoupage with, so when the opportunity came for me to try out Mod Podge Dimensional Magic I was intrigued!
Photo from PlaidOnline.com
If you’re familiar with traditional Mod Podge, you know that right away Mod Podge Dimensional Magic looks different! It comes in a 2oz. bottle and has a lid that lifts right off. I’m not sure if the lid is designed so that the product doesn’t clog the nozzle that it comes out of, but I can say that my bottle didn’t clog up at all (something I can not say about similar products)!
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic is similar to Glossy Accents and Diamond Glaze in that you can use it to add dimension to the item you’re applying it to. When you first apply it to the object it appears milky, but when it’s dry it is totally clear and shiny. One thing to note is that my first drop of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic always seemed to have an air bubble; I learned to do that drop on a piece of scratch paper or my craft mat so there wouldn’t be any air bubbles on my projects.
Here is how Mod Podge Dimensional Magic looks when drops are placed on a paper:
In my opinion it seems like the nozzle on the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic is a little bit wider then the Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze nozzle. Also the product comes out without having to squeeze it. Having the automatic flow is fantastic when trying to apply a lot of it to an item since you don’t get that horrible hand cramp we crafters are known to get! However, the draw-back to that is that when you are working on a detailed image (like the leaf on my card below) it can be difficult to get it just right.
Besides using it for dimension, it also works great as glue! I made this flower using it as glue and when it was finished I added some to the flower’s center and then dropped on a bit of glitter.
You can also use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to magnify words slightly. Just look at this dictionary page I played around with :
My favorite thing to use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic for is creating jewelery and other bulky doo-dads. For the pendant shown below I took a metal Imaginisce Brad Daddy head, flipped it over and filled it with some patterned paper and a bit of bling. I then filled it up with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic and allowed it to dry over night. By morning it was dry, however not quite as doomed as it had been while wet, so I added another layer of it and allowed it to dry again.
Now, speaking of drying, according to the package it will take 3 hours to dry. I live in Southern California and I created most of these projects on overcast days…it took me longer then three hours to dry most of my projects, especially the ones where I used a lot of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. I recommend that you don’t wait until the last minute to craft because it will take some time to dry!
Pros:
  • Dries clear and shiny
  • Easy to open lid (and my bottle never clogged)
  • Jazzes up plain, patterned paper, and stamped images by giving it glossy, raised dimension
  • Can often be used in place of resin to make jewelry
Cons:
  • Takes time to dry
  • First drop seems to be an air bubble every time I used it; air bubbles can occur at other times as well
  • Free flowing bottle design can make it hard to do small details without going over the lines
What projects do you like to use dimensional adhesives on? For more project ideas, visit the Mod Podge Rocks blog or check them out of Facebook and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY!
Plaid is generously giving one of our readers a gift pack full of these great Plaid products! Just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Plaid articles.  For this article, we want to know…

Have you ever used a dimensional product like this before?  If so, what do you love and/or hate about it?

One comment per person, per article, please.  You have until Thursday, June 17th 6pm CST to enter.

Disclosure Statement for Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

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

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Plaid Mod Podge Professional Decoupage Tool Sets

Reported by Jen Geigley

Everyone has heard of (and most likely used) Mod Podge by Plaid. But have you ever tried their decoupage tools? I chose four different projects to test out a Mod Podge brush set (which included a #8 flat brush, textile brush, glue brush and foam spouncer) and a professional decoupage tool set (which included a rubber brayer and squeegee).

Along with these tool sets, I used two kinds of Mod Podge: Gloss and Matte.

For my first project, I decided to cover a small ceramic pot with fabric using the brush tool set (using Matte Mod Podge).

I cut my fabric to fit the small pot I wanted to cover…

and applied a generous amount of Mod Podge onto my pot using the large brush from the tool set.
The fabric adhered very smoothly and nicely on my first try, and the air bubbles and creases were easily smoothed out with the rubber brayer.
I cut notches in the fabric overlapping the top of my pot…

and used more Mod Podge to adhere the fabric over the top edge.

I folded the fabric on the bottom until it was as flat and smooth as possible and then sealed it using the brush.
And finally, painted a coat of Matte Mod Podge over the entire fabric-covered pot to give it a stronger finish.
In no time, my project was dry and ready to go! And it turned out super cute!

Next up – a fabric covered Moleskine notebook.

I cut a piece of fabric to the size of my small notebook (so that the edges overlapped by about 1/4″).
I used the flat brush to apply a solid coat of Matte Mod Podge to the notebook cover.

Then put my fabric on top and smoothed with the brayer. (The brayer works like a charm on fabric! But the roller itself did get a little bit sticky, and stayed sticky, even after washing).

I let everything dry for about 15 minutes, and then trimmed off the excess fabric around the edges of the cover.

I could have left it as-is after the last step, but I chose to give my new fabric cover another coat of Matte for extra durability.

Another fast, successful project!

My next project was re-finishing this wooden tray. I had saved a sheet of this Sassafras scrapbooking paper, thinking it might make a cool kids’ party or Halloween tray.

I painted the inner and outer edges using Plaid’s FolkArt acrylic paint and the #8 flat brush from the tool set.
This paint goes on super smooth and dries fast!

Next, I used a brush to apply a thin layer of the Gloss Mod Podge to the bottom of the tray.

And then I placed my trimmed piece of paper directly on top.

The brayer worked great to smooth out the air bubbles and provided smooth, even adhesion.

Next, I used the Mod Podge squeegee to clean up and smooth the corners, ensuring that my paper was stuck down to the surface right up to the very edge.

After letting everything dry for about a half an hour, I applied a coat of Gloss to the top of the paper. And then I applied two more coats to the entire tray.

Done!
Last, but not least, I wanted to use some fabric, paint and trim to cover a boring cork board. I started by painting the frame with two coats of Plaid’s FolkArt acrylic paint. After the paint dried, I sealed it with two coats of Gloss Mod Podge.

I chose fabric to cover the cork and ironed it before adhering.

Then I used Gloss Mod Podge and a brush to cover the entire cork surface.
Starting with one edge, I smoothed the fabric across the cork board, using the brayer as I went to get even coverage.

Again, the squeegee came in handy to press the fabric into the corners and edges.
After the fabric had been stretched and stuck down to the whole board, I went over the entire surface again with the brayer.
After the fabric had dried, I used a hot glue gun to apply some twill tape to hide the fabric edges along the frame.

And my fabric-covered cork board is complete.

One more look at these Mod Podge projects proves the versatility of this product and the variety of things that the tools help you accomplish with fantastic, professional results.

Pros:

  • The variety of shapes/sizes of brushes included in the tool set was great for both painting and applying Mod Podge
  • Brushes washed clean
  • The brayer and squeegee are the perfect tools to use in any Mod Podge project and I can see myself using them on lots of projects in the future

Cons:

  • The roller on the rubber brayer did get sticky after a couple of uses (even after washing) and I couldn’t quite get all of the Mod Podge off of it
  • Not sure I’d buy a whole set of brushes solely for Mod Podge purposes (since regular sponge brush applicators are so cheap) but the brushes worked great for painting as well as Mod Podging

Both Mod Podge tool sets are available for purchase at Wal-Mart, Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts, Hobby Lobby and most other craft stores.

Price:
$4.95 per kit

Resources:

Plaid website

Mod Podge Rocks

Plaid Kids Crafts

• follow on Twitter

What do you love about Mod Podge? Do you think your Mod Podge projects would be easier and turn out better using these tool sets? We’d love to hear what you think!

GIVEAWAY!

Plaid is generously giving one of our readers a gift pack full of Plaid products! Just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Plaid articles and tell us which Plaid product is your favorite; one comment per person, per article, please.

Disclosure

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

Vendor Spotlight: Picture Keeper (2 of 2)

Reported by Christine Ousley

I love using my camera. So much, in fact, that I seem to run out of space on my computer all the time. You are probably saying, seriously? You must have a really old computer. Well, actually, it’s not that old. I work off of a Mac Power Book but since it is a laptop it only has a 120 GB hard drive. Only 120 GB? Surely that must be enough space for pictures? Well…..

When I first used my 16 GB Picture Keeper it came up with over 16,000 files to back up. That is a lot of picture files. I told you I loved using my camera. Let me start from the beginning.
When I first heard about the Picture Keeper I was very skeptical. I mean, what’s so unique about a portable USB flash drive? You can find them anywhere. In fact, I already owned about five. But then the demonstration started and I was pleasantly surprised. Now this is cool!

Picture Keeper is much more than your average USB flash drive; it is a USB smart drive. This means that by using a program on the flash drive, Picture Keeper is able to search through your computer and only backup the picture files you specify. It also lets you decide which folders and drives to search in as well. So, now you don’t have to back up your entire computer just to save your pictures somewhere safe or take tons of time archiving them to a DVD. Picture Keeper does it all for you.

When I plugged in the Picture Keeper for the first time my computer screen looked like this. Do you see the drive named Untitled? All you do is click on that and then start the program.

Well, it should work that way, but when I opened up my window I saw this sign on the program. I guessed right away that it meant it was not usable.
I quickly called customer support and left a message that I needed help. They called me back and told me to download an updated program off of their website. Okay, I thought, no problem. I downloaded it and started again. This time I had no problems getting the program to start. It started backing up my pictures and it really didn’t take too long before yes, you guessed it, it ran out of room. It was then that I also realized that my computer itself was at it’s breaking point too. When I looked at my desktop I saw that the Picture Keeper had created a folder on my desktop and was saving everything in there instead of the USB flash drive. Well I dragged that folder to the trash quickly and dumped it.
Well the long and the short of it is that I had made a mistake by using the updated program on my computer. What I should have done is replace the new program with the old one on the USB drive itself. After I did that Picture Keeper worked like a charm. It still didn’t change the fact that I had over 16,000 pictures on my computer, but at least it wasn’t making duplicate copies of the pictures on my hard drive and not placing them on my Picture Keeper.

I quickly realized that my next task was to start cleaning up my picture files. I started with erasing duplicates and unwanted photos. The next thing I did was take a look at the settings in the Picture Keeper program. Remember I said earlier that you can specify what folder or drive on your computer that you want to back up. Here is a screen shot of that window. You can delete or add drives easily. I deleted a drive and let the program work.
As you can see in the screen shot below, my backup was successful. I love that it shows you how much space you have left on the device and how many files were backed up. This particular backup was only done for demonstration purposes. I still need to go and clean up more of my files in order for everything to fit on the drive. Either that or I need to purchase another Picture Keeper, which is definitely on my wish list.

What I found helpful is that it is very easy to restore the Picture Keeper and start over if you need to, as such was my case.
Overall, I can say that even with all of the techie toys that I have used I am stilled wowed by the Picture Keeper. Probably because it is a simple solution to a problem that all camera lovers face. Nobody wants to lose a single precious photograph, but archiving is time consuming, tedious and often confusing.Picture Keeper is so simple and easy to use. It pretty much does it all for you. Actually, it is people who don’t consider themselves computer experts that I would highly recommend getting the Picture Keeper. Another wonderful feature of the Picture Keeper is that when plugged in again it will search through your computer and only copy new files. That takes all the guess work out of which files need to be saved which is a huge plus for those that feel less confident on a computer.

Pros:
  • Easy to use, just plug it in and start the program
  • Small, portable device that you can take or store anywhere
  • Advanced features for those who need to be more specific about what they are backing up
  • The ability to use the device at your local photo lab in order to print your photos
  • Available in three sizes
  • Video tutorials and information on their website
  • Works on PCs and Macs
  • 1 year warranty
  • Backup reminders
Cons:
  • A few technical problems as stated above
  • Customer service was a little hard to reach. I would have liked to reach a person instead of an answering machine.
  • Hard to find in stores but the company has a page on their website which can direct you to a dealer near you.
I highly recommend the Picture Keeper. I was wowed by it when I saw it for the first time and I am still completely impressed with what it can do now that I have used it. I am really happy to know that my pictures are archived safely and that I won’t lose them if my computer happens to crash.

The 4 GB Picture Keeper retails for $29.99; the 8 GB for $59.99 and the 16 GB for $99.99.

*READER DISCOUNT*
10% off the price of any Picture Keeper AND FREE SHIPPING for the Craft Critique readers; enter coupon code PKBFF during checkout!

GIVEAWAY!!
Picture Keeper is giving away a FREE 16 GB Picture Keeper to one of our readers! Leave a comment on any Vendor Spotlight: Picture Keeper post (this is 2 of 2), and tell us how many photos you have lurking on your computer that need backing up! One comment per person, per article, please. Winner will be drawn on Sunday June 6, 2010 at noon CST.

Disclosure

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