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Author Archive | Anam Stubbington

Vendor Spotlight: Letraset Safmat

Reported by Anam Stubbington

When I was asked to try the SafMat inkjet printable film from Letraset, I was intrigued, as I am well used to printing on stickers and transparencies. I wanted to see how it fared in relation to those.

According to the Letraset website, SafMat is…

“Ideal for use on paper and card – just print, cut out and stick Safmat is a highly transparent, self-adhesive film for use with your printer. It enables you to create your own unique text and graphics for applying onto almost any smooth surface.
Ideal for scrapbook pages, homemade greetings cards, wedding invites, technical drawings, packaging mockups… Safmat is the perfect solution for applying printed designs onto materials that wouldn’t normally go through a desktop printer. eg heavyweight card, acetate, large 3D objects…
Commercial designers and students use Safmat for creating realistic product and packaging mockups. It’s also popular in many crafts and creative leisure pastimes. No other product gives the same result – it’s like creating a unique, fully personalised transfer.
Safmat is acid free for archival longevity. It’s an excellent versatile solution for Scrap Booking, Card Making and many other craft activities. Anywhere it’s useful to apply personalised printed phrases and images.”

My biggest complaint about other films is that they often looked washed out, don’t dry quick enough and with transparencies nearly impossible to adhere but by the end of my packet of the SafMat film, I was hooked by its versatility and the brightness of the printed colors.

I used Adobe Photoshop to create pages of images that I wanted to print, but any programme that allows you to place images or text will be perfect.

As you can see, with good placement you can get a lot out of a single sheet, which makes it a really useable product.

I went about trying to use it on a variety of different items from paper to glass. With glass products like mirrors and windows, you will see the edges as it’s not 100% transparent, but it did not distract for me. With the paper products, the edges were hardly noticeable.

I made this layout to hang in our new home. The SafMat worked really well on the doily; it is really hard to see the cut edges. Given that there is no way I could print on the doily directly (and even if I could, it would bleed), so the SafMat made it all possible as you can still see the texture of the doily under the poem.

Here are two cards I made using SafMat as I used the SafMat for printing off my own sentiments and just having them to hand when I need them is an added bonus without having to resort to stamps and ink.

For scrapbooking and cardmaking, the possibilites are endless, and the self-adhesive properties make it far more usable than transparencies. The lovely Satin finish makes the finished product non-reflective which is good for photographing.

When printing, it needed no special settings and dried quickly. Try not to touch it with wet hands as it will smudge a little. It cut easily and if you cut close the printed image, the result is as if it was a rub-on. It adhered nicely – bubbles were easily rubbed out, and if it went down in the wrong place, with care it was easy to remove and replace .

I punched out some images (it is super easy to punch) and used them as stickers on some candy for my kids – a extra sweet touch to personalize any event – perfect for parties, weddings or even just for school lunches! I used some of the punches images as letter seals for that extra touch.


I loved how easily it went on walls, and can see myself putting my own favourite quotes on the walls in our new home. If you wanted sayings larger than what would fit on an A4 sheet, you could easily split it up over several sheets and it would still cost less than buying a custom decal.


My all time favourite fun thing was to make my own window decals. I printed them in reverse (see top picture) so they could be stuck on the inside of a window – like inside a car – and seen from the outside yet protected from the elements. And becuase they are easy to remove you could have different ones every week or for the seasons. (hint: Star Trek Spock Hand Print)


I loved working with the Safmat and can see it being part of my toolbox when it comes to projects. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to personalize their projects, especially if there are no stamps in a language you want such as Italian, Greek or Japanese.

Pros:

  • Fast drying time
  • Crisp, bright printed colors
  • Inkjet printable
  • Acid-free

Cons:

  • Not waterproof (although that can be said of all inkjet printable products)
  • It was not as transparent as I would have liked, but made up for that with being non-reflective
  • $10 for a pack of 10 but to be honest to get so much to a page that that works out as good value

Have you used the Letraset SafMat product yet? What do you like about the product? What would you use it on? Leave 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!

Letraset ProMarkers

Reported by Anam Stubbington

I was delighted when I was asked to review Letraset products, as they are a company who have been in the graphic design world for over 50 years; I used their type rub-ons way back in university as part of my printing apprenticeship.
I was sent the Stamping ProMarker Set 2 to test with the Letraset Cartridge Paper Pad. I’ve used a variety of other markers including the Letraset AquaMarkers over the last few years, so thought I would be able to give a fair review about the Letraset Markers.
From their website, these are the Benefits of the Letraset ProMarkers:

ProMarkers produce vivid, bright colors right through to the subtlest pastel shades – the translucent inks can also be overlaid and blended, even further extending the range of shades and hues on offer. ProMarker’s quality nibs and inks provide flawless color lay down with consistent coverage and no unsightly streaking.

• Alcohol based, non-toxic, permanent ink
• Multi surface application: use on paper, card, vellum, acetate, glass, wood, metal and plastic
• Outstanding tone and vibrancy
• Colours are transparent and can be overlaid to create a variety of tone and shading effects
• Ideal for illustrators, students and hobbyists
• Twin tipped allowing for a variety of strokes within one marker
• 148 colours available

So I set out to see if I could agree with those words. I printed a selection of digital images out on both the Letraset Cartridge paper and some watercolour paper. I also stamped some of my favourite images in both a dye and stazon ink on the same papers.


What I did find is that the markers need the right papers to ensure the best end result. I found that the Cartridge paper worked well with the Letraset ProMarkers, while the watercolor paper worked best with the Letraset AquaMarkers. I found that Stazon ink worked best with all the pens, and I had no issues with any of my inkjet printed images with the pens.



I also colored Clear Sticky Jewels and White Organza Ribbon with the ProMarkers so they match the coloured image perfectly. I found that use so convenient as it stopped me searching for extra items constantly.


I also tested out the ProMarkers on peel-offs. They colored them beautifully making adding detail simple and again easy to coordinate colors.


Personally I loved the vividness of the ProMarker colors on the Cartridge paper and the delicateness of the AquaMarkers on the watercolour paper. I got great use out of the Markers with the blender pens and found myself quite enjoying coloring for once!

Here are the finished cards I made as part of my review.



Pros:

  • More ink in each pen (70% more than their competitors)
  • Cheaper than their competitors. Letraset ProMarkers sell for about $2 each and each pack comes with at least 1 blender pen.
  • Lots of matching products like AquaMarkers, Tria markers, the Letrajet Air Marker attachment and the Safmat inkjet sticker and their superb paper pads along with their own superb storage systems.
  • Thicker pens are easier to hold for anyone with joint issues
  • The nibs are multifunctional with the round and the wedge and the color range and blending options make it feasible to have all the colors you want..

Cons:

  • No color stickers on the end of the markers which makes finding the right color a pain but as colors can depends on what you are coloring on. so i colored in some Letraset manga paper and stick them on the end as I want to use this storage system although this one also looks good for my studio.
  • Not refillable but the pens are cheaper to buy and contain more ink to start with
  • Current Availability – most fine art shops carry Letraset but Craft & hobby stores are slowing catching up.

Even with those cons, I would recommend them, as I ended up liking the ProMarkers so much that I bought more – specifically their skin tone range and their spring colours.


As you can see, I am now a huge fan of Letraset Products and as Letraset do a huge range of product for the creative world and are adding more each year, I trust their range and future development for products.

Do you use Letraset products? what do you like about Letraset products? What would you like Letraset to bring out next?

Disclosure

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

National Scrapbooking Day

Reported by Anam Stubbington

There are many sides to crafting – felt, yarn, wood, bead and paper. And then paper is split into many different areas – cards, altered and scrapbooking. Most of the time they overlap with regards to supplies and tools, so it’s is easy to move between them. Personally, I started with Scrapbooking, and while I do play in other areas, it will always be my first love. Scrapbooking for me is the merging of pretty papers and my memories, telling the story in a way that makes me happy.

Some people feel they cannot start scrapbooking because they feel they need to be an expert with their own studio before they can start. I want to tell you that nothing is further from the truth. As with anything, either crafting or driving your car, it is all about practice – the more you do something, the easier it is. You can start really small – a small tote of tools and supplies to produce beautiful pages to grace your albums.

Craft Critique has always had amazing reviews for scrapbooking products, so in celebration of National Scrapbook Day, I am pulling together a “Starter” Kit and my Favorites …

My Starter Kit:

  1. Personally these are the items I believe you should have to make scrapbooking easy and therefore more enjoyable:
  2. 12″ Trimmer – start with a push one, work up to a rotary one
  3. A variety of adhesives: Foam Squares, Glue Dots, Doubles Sided Tape or Tape Runners and a liquid glue. Sharp pointed Scissors.
  4. a small Black ink Pad for edging
  5. a Black Pen for journalling 

and that’s it for basics…I would then add the following:

  1. Nail File (to distress edges of paper)
  2. Brown Ink & Pen,
  3. a Hole maker stick, 
  4. a Corner Rounder
  5. a Circle punch.

After that I would add a WRMK crop-a-dile and a bunch of edge punches, metallic pens and more inks. From here, you can add so many awesome tools that you would need a whole house to display them, but the main thing is to enjoy how you scrapbook.

I have been scrapbooking for over 7 years now and have worked with some of the biggest names out there with regards to both scrapbookers and manufacturers, but I still have days where I look at a website or a blog and find something new that makes me sit up and pay attention. Those are the days I love being a scrapbooker, just wanting to try out another persons style or technique to help tell my story.

The biggest time consumer is picking out product to go with your photographs and most people have a busy life going on so here are my time saving tips:

  1. Get several large ziplock bags – you can get them at your grocery store (you want the ones that are 33cms wide) or from your local craft store.
  2. In each bag, put the related photos and a piece of paper with some relevant details.
  3. Each day give yourself 15 to 30 minutes to add supplies to each ziplock bag. Continue to do this until you have more than enough to make an layout.
  4. When you have more than 30 minutes, sit down and glue it all together.
  5. Keep the scraps in the bag and make some cards with the left overs.

Normally I have 20 of these bags on the go – adding to them here and there – until I can get a good afternoon to sit and glue without interruption. They’re perfect for crops too!

I know most people use digitial cameras now, please please back up your photographs every week – there are lots of free options out there so you do not lose those images. Personally, when I download my photos from my camera, I immediately copy my favorites into a “to be printed” folder which I then print out when a special offer is offered – normally one every month. I then add them to a regular photo album – one of those 6″x 4″ ones. I also add a 6″x 4″ index card to each set page with the details of the “who, where, when and why” so that at least my photos are chronologically up-to-date, which allows me more freedom with my scrapbooking.

There are lots of places to go and hang out with like minded people – your local Scrapbook store is an awesome place to start, then maybe look online for local clubs or one of the good online forums such as Scrapbook.com or 2Peas.com and there are plenty of magazines for you to check out such as Scrapbook Trends, Creative Keepsakes, etc. There are also a ton of challenge blogs that will give you starting ideas to help you scrapbook – you can see listings here – some of my favorites are: Pencil Lines, HMITM, Scrapping The Music, as well as my own Twisted Sketches.

My Recommended books: Stacey Julian’s “Big Picture” and Cathy Zielske “Clean and Simple” – or the online books through Ella’s publishing. Or you can try online classes though Big Picture Classes or Shimelle and if you like Videos, search on YouTube for some useful instructions.

Today being “National Scrapbooking Day” there are tons of events going on around the world – from all weekend crops at your local stores to contests and challenges on your favorite websites. Nearly all the manufacturers run some sort of blog hop with their design team to get everyone involved in a fantastic day to share our love of paper and memories. So go out this weekend and explore, find something to inspire you and scrapbook a memory!

Are you new to scrapboooking? If you’re a seasoned pro, what do you wish you had known about at the beginning? Do you have some awesome scrapbooking tips to share ?

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