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CTMH Spray Pens vs. Inkessentials Mini Misters by Ranger

Reported by Kristine Fowler

It’s no secret, that like other industries, as things evolve, so do the tools of the trade.  Even the simplest of tools see improvement over time, and the Spray Pen by Close To My Heart is a great example of such an evolution.  Similar in form and function to the Inkessentials™ Mini Misters™ by Ranger, you can use the Spray Pen to ‘mist’ your projects and create visually interesting techniques with ink, paint, colour washes, alcohol, or other liquid media.  Or, if you just need a handy alternate dispenser, you can even fill the Spray Pen with your favorite stamp cleaner (although you have to admit, that’s not very exciting).  If you’re not already familiar with the mister tools, you can always pop over and read a 2008 article by Heather Strenzwilk where she gives the low-down on the Ranger Mini Misters.

So at this point you might be wondering, what I consider to be the big evolution?  How could such a simple product be so drastically improved?  Well, to start, let’s take a close up look at the two products side-by-side.

The most obvious difference between the two products is their size.  The Close To My Heart Spray Pen is about a third larger overall affecting the relative size of both the cap and the liquid storage compartment (the barrel).  The benefit of the larger container should be obvious….with a larger container, you can mix more media, and that’s definitely a good thing.  (I’ll talk about the cap in a minute).

Now let’s take another look.
 

You might notice, that on the flip side of the CTMH Spray Pen, you’ll see measurement lines – a very handy feature that is missing from the Ranger Mini Mister.  With the measurement lines clearly marked on the barrel, you can more ‘scientifically’ mix your media (think 4 parts water to 1 part paint, or 2 drops reinker to 6 parts water).  This also means that it will be much easier to duplicate a mixture that you absolutely love at a later date.  No more guess work.  Pure genius!  The Ranger Mini Mister on the other hand has product logos on both sides of the barrel, no measurement lines.

Next, let’s look at the cap/nozzle area as there’s a couple of major differences here.  On the Ranger version, the entire barrel is smooth.  The smooth finish extends to cover the part of the barrel that you ‘twist’ to remove the nozzle and fill the compartment.  In contrast, this ‘twistable’ section of the CTMH product is textured, in order to give you better grip.  This textured finish is particularly helpful if your hands are damp.

And now the cap…..again, there are a couple of differences.  First, the CTMH cap is made of essentially the same material as the rest of the unit.  The Ranger cap is quite thin in comparison, and might not stand up quite as well to even a little abuse.  I’m thinking that if it drops on the floor, and I step on it, it’s likely going to crack, rendering it essentially useless.  The CTMH version on the other hand is more substantial, and although I’m not willing to put it to the test (sorry), I’m pretty certain I could step on it without hurting it too too badly.

Secondly, there is a series of holes in the top of the CTMH Spray Pen cap, and the Mini Mister doesn’t have these.  We’ve seen this type of thing before, and it serves a dual purpose.  First, the holes allow air to be pushed out of the cap as your closing it to ensure that it closes snugly, and second, it’s a safety feature.  If for some reason a child was to put the cap in their mouth and swallow it, the vent holes in the cap could prevent asphyxiation.  The other major difference in the caps, is the presence of the ‘pocket clip’ on the CTMH version.  While I probably won’t be carrying the Spray Pens in my shirt pocket any time soon, it is beneficial.  Not only can I use the clip to secure the Spray Pen to the inside of my crop bag, but by virtue of it’s existence the ‘pocket clip’ stops the Pen (when capped) from rolling off the table, and stops the cap rolling off the table (and under my feet) when the Spray Pen is in use.  Once again, a small improvement in design has what I consider big benefit.

When it comes to function, these pens are virtually identical.  Both pens ‘pump’ easily, and with neither version have I experienced ‘clogging’.  I do find the CTMH pen a bit easier to operate though because it feels more substantial.  When spraying, the Mini Mister feels almost ‘consumed’ by my hand, whereas the CTMH version does not.  This is perhaps a matter of personal preference, and if you’re used to the feel of one version, you may find it initially awkward to make the switch, but it’ll be easy to adjust either way.  Looking very closely at the actual nozzles of the two pens reveals a minor difference, in that the little plastic piece which is responsible for directing the spray on the CTMH Spray Pen is angled downward ever so slightly whereas the Ranger version is completely straight.  I’m not sure if this can really be considered a benefit, as I’ve not noticed any functional difference.  I can only assume that the nozzle was in fact engineered this way for a reason, and presumably to provide some benefit – that’s the best explanation I can offer you on that one unfortunately.

Before I get to the creative stuff, you’re probably wondering about price.  Does the price tag reflect the ‘improvements’ I’ve mentioned?  Well, I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that the CTMH Spray Pens are priced very similarly to (if not better than in some cases) the Ranger Mini Misters.  A 3-pack is available for just US$3.95 / CAN$4.50.  Even once you add the shipping and taxes (if applicable in your area), these are definitely not going to break the bank.  The Ranger Mini Misters I’ve purchased, I’ve always paid around CAN$5.00 for the 3-pack, regular priced, at various locations.

Now the fun stuff…..here’s how I’ve used misters recently.

Using my CTMH Spray Pen and a mixture of reinker and water, I misted a 3×3 inch acrylic block and then used it like a stamp on my paper.  This created the pink/white background for my focal image.  I love the way that with this method I was able to get a nice solid pink in the middle, surrounded by what looks like over-spray.

Stamp Credit: “Baby Love” by CTMH

For this second sample, I combined CTMH Create-A-Shade Paint, Water and Reinker and used the mixture to ‘mist’ the large green panel which was previously embossed (using a Tim Holtz Texture Fade), and then inked with both brown and juniper colored inks.  Unfortunately, if I do say so myself, this photo does not do the card justice.  I hope though that you can at least catch a glimpse of the shimmering splotches.  Adding the pearl paint to the mixture, your spray takes on an iridescent look, and it’s actually quite shiny!  It’s similar to the look you would get with commercial mists that are designed to sparkle.

Stamp Credit: “Find Your Style” by CTMH


So….to wrap this up, here’s a quick summary of how I view the product differences (red indicates distinct product advantages). Remember from the perspective of function and price, the products are virtually identical.

CTMH Spray Pen

  • 10 mL barrel (allowing you to mix more media)
  • measurement markings on the side of barrel
  • textured ‘twist’ for better grip
  • the cap is substantial, should resist accidental damage
  • holes in cap for safety and ease of use
  • pocket clip on cap to prevent pen rolling & to secure in bags
  • sold only in packages of 3
  • not available via retail, must be purchased from a CTMH rep
  • only available in one color

Inkessentials Mini Misters by Ranger

  • smaller barrel (not sure of the exact measurement)
  • no measurement markings
  • smooth ‘twist’, less grip
  • the cap is weak in comparison
  • no holes in cap
  • no pocket clip
  • sold in packages of 3 AND individually
  • widely available via retail
  • 3 different colors available

The one fact that I have not tested is whether the CTMH Spray Pens fit in the (very compact) Inkessentials™ Mini Mister Organizer storage block by Ranger.  Both the CTMH Spray Pen and the Mini Misters appear to have the same circumference (although I don’t have a micrometer; if there is a difference it appears that minute), and so I would assume the Spray Pens would fit, but I would love it if somebody out there could put this to the test.  CTMH does not currently offer a storage solution for the Spray Pens, and it certainly would be handy.

As always, we’d love to hear what you think and we welcome your comments.  Have I missed anything in my comparison?  Have you tried the CTMH Spray Pens or are you a die-hard Mini Mister fan, and not willing to make the switch?  Let us know!

Disclosure

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

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20 Responses to CTMH Spray Pens vs. Inkessentials Mini Misters by Ranger

  1. Avatar
    connie May 4, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    I didn’t know CTMH had a mister. I only have the mini mister. Thanks for a very helpful and honest review.

  2. Avatar
    Elaine A May 4, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I was not aware that CTMH had a mini mister. I like that theirs is bigger and I love the caps. I may have to do some shopping – LOL!

    Elaine Allen

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    VStarRider May 4, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Thanks for the great comparison review!! This has been really helpful, as I am on the search for mini-misters as I type this. I think the CTMH version will do the job nicely.
    Cindi

  4. Avatar
    Scrappymama Elaine May 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Thanks for the review. I bought the mini mister but haven’t done much with it yet.

  5. Avatar
    Barbra Otten May 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    I’ve used it several times and it’s so much fun that giggles ensue!!

  6. Avatar
    Jan Castle May 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Don’t have any CTMH products, but sounds like something I would like to try…will be watching the local stores for them!

  7. Avatar
    Kathy May 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Great review….I do like the mini misters, not only for color mists, but just for water to wet CS/pp before crumpling. I like that the CTMH ones will be bigger, and at the same price! Now I just have to find a CTMH salesperson! Thanks for this great review…

  8. Avatar
    Becky G. May 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    I am consultant for CTMH and I own both, I really like the CTMH ones because they are bigger (hold more), but what I really like is the measuring lines on the side, they do help you remember which mixes you use for different amounts of color. It just makes it easier.

  9. Avatar
    Diane May 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I have both the mini misters and the CTMH misters. The CTMH misters do not fit in the mini mister stand. The CTMH misters are just a tiny bit bigger.

  10. Avatar
    Kristine May 5, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Diane….thanks so much for checking that fact for me….it is unfortunate that the CTMH Spray Pens don’t fit in the Ranger stand….bummer.

    Jan…unfortunately you won’t find the CTMH Spray Pens in store. You must purchase them through a CTMH demonstrator. If you don’t have a demonstrator yet, visit http://www.closetomyheart.com and click on the Consultant Locator and they’ll hook you up!

    Glad everyone enjoyed the review, as always, your comments are welcome and appreciated. Keep them coming!

  11. Avatar
    dawnaclark May 5, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    KRISTINE-just wanted to let you know what a great review this was! Very thorough and informative. thank you!

  12. Avatar
    Anonymous May 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    I have a set, love them. You can.t buy ctmh products in retail stores. the come from CTMH.com. they will guide you to a consultant.

  13. Avatar
    Tiffanie May 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    I have always used just mini spray bottles that you buy at the groc. store in the bath section…I was Beautiful Cards! I was SO excited when CTMH came out with the Spray Pen! I love them!! And they are great for club because the hold so much and unlike the the mini spray bottles, I have not had a problem with clogging.! I also use them for clear for my play group they fit great because I can just clip them inside my bag. CTMH Rocks!
    *(Jan you will need to contact your local CTMH consultant to purchase the CTMH Spray Pen. They are sold in stores 🙂 Happy Scrappin!

  14. Avatar
    Char May 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    OOH, i like the CTMH spray pens. Thanks for the comparisons. Please enter me in the giveaway.

  15. Avatar
    Amy May 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I would love to get some of the CTMH pens!! They look awesome!!

  16. Avatar
    Cottagerca May 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    I will be purchasing a CTMH mister once the opportunity rises. Thanks for that great review, really appreciated. Like the measuring marks and the grip cap.
    ava

  17. Avatar
    Helen Onulak May 10, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    I LOVE the CTMH Spray Pens (for those wanting them…make sure you ask for the Spray Pen, Item Z1380).

    On my blog, you’ll find samples of artwork I’ve made using the Spray Pen and adding in some Create-a-Shade Pearl Paint.

    I love that there are lines on the side so you can make up a mix, and jot down the proportions. This way, you can recreate the same effect over and over again!

  18. Avatar
    melissa s May 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    I love the CTMH misters! Very easy to use, and I like the measurement guide right on the bottle.

  19. Avatar
    Polly Lewis May 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I love the CTMH spray pens and haven’t had any problems w/ them. I bought the Ranger misters before CTMH came out w/ theirs and sometimes you can’t hardly mix up enough in one to get a project done. CTMH products have to be ordered from a consultant.

  20. Avatar
    Anonymous July 12, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    I purchased the stadium for the misters and the misters themselves. I used a 1/4tsp of perfect pearls blended with water in all of them. After just a few squirts all 12 are now blocked. Really really disapointed. If anyone knows how best to unblock them I’d be grateful for the advice.