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Author Archive | Jenny Barnett Rohrs

Mold-N-Pour by Ranger Industries

Reported by Jenny Barnett Rohrs


Usually I’m a thrifty crafter- after all, money doesn’t grow on trees, and why buy products or tools that are one-trick ponies? As a consequence, I’ve been making molds for my polymer clay pieces out of scrap clay and dealing with the difficulty of de-molding by gritting my teeth. But now, intrepid crafters, things have changed!

I got a sample of Mold-N Pour by the fabulous Suze Weinberg herself at CHA, and it’s taken me a while to try it out. I started by trying to figure out what might be a good item to mold. One that is not too deep, not too intricate, one with no under-cuts. So this is what I started off with (I decided to not use the rosary charm, after all).

It states on the package that you need to use equal parts of the purple and white compounds and mix them together thoroughly for the silicon to set up. However, they don’t include a scoop or perforated lines or anything, so I dug this little scoop out of my glitter drawer (doesn’t everyone have a glitter drawer?). [Editor’s note: yes. yes we do.]

So I make little scoops that were about the size of a dime…

…and then started mixing. Now, they also tell you on the package that it’s sticky– and IT IS. It totally stuck to the paper the container was sitting on. It even stuck to the glue gun mat that I usually work on because it’s non-stick! Thank goodness for my palette knife- I was able to slide it under to release it just fine.
Just to let you know, it is VERY easy to mix it’s soft and slightly greasy feeling, but not unpleasant. I was surprised how quickly it mixed up into one color. Time to make molds!

Unfortunately, I got caught up in the moment and forgot to take pictures of making the molds-but it’s so simple you don’t even need photos. You just wad your Mold-n-Pour into a ball, flatten slightly, and then press your object straight down into the blob. Leave it there for 10 minutes or so… and when your finger nail doesn’t leave a mark, it’s done.

Because this is a silicon mold, it’s super flexible and non-stick. My original objects popped right out! I tried each mold- the leaf, face, and key- in polymer clay and melted UTEE, because I’m familiar with both of those. Here are my results:


Overall, I was impressed- the UTEE was easy to use- just pour in, let cool, and pop out (the black examples above are UTEE.) I also used gold polymer clay and again, the polymer de-molded so easily I had very little distortion. One note on polymer, though: the clay I was using was a little stiff, and so I had to work it to get it into the super-flexible mold- which DID cause some distortion (you can see that most clearly on the bottom-most face example; it’s a little flattened).

So after crafting for years without Mold n Pour, suddenly I’m scanning my studio for buttons, jewelry, and trinkets to make molds of!

Pros:

  • easy to knead
  • sets up quickly
  • heat-resistant; you could bake polymer clay right in the mold if you wanted to
  • can be used for chocolate or food-crafting if dedicated to food-only
  • can also be used for soap & candle-making
  • readily available at craft & big-box stores
  • OK price-point- between $11-13

Cons:

  • no easy way to measure – you gotta eyeball it…
  • sticky- watch your surfaces!
  • so soft & flexible it might not “stand up” to firm polymer clays

Have YOU used Mold-N-Pour? Love it? Hate it?? Tell us about your experience!

Disclosure Statement

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

Viva Decor Glitz-Up

Reported by Jenny Barnett Rohrs


I few months ago I reviewed a hot-fix crystal setter, so when I had the chance to try out the Glitz-Up by Viva-Decor, I jumped at the chance. I love glitz and glimmer, and was really excited to try out this kit, which came with:

  • Vacuum pump/regulator unit with wand
  • 3 “tweezer” tips to accommodate different size rhinestones and studs
  • a gazillion rhinestones and studs!



Now, a bit about the concept of the unit. It works like a standard hot-fix crystal setter- which means there’s a wand that heats up. When placed over a rhinestone or stud, the adhesive on the back side of the embellishment heats up and melts, so that when you place it down on your surface, it will adhere without additional glue.

The Glitz-Up is unique because it’s the only hot-fix crystal setter on the market that also uses vacuum suction to keep the crystal or stud securely positioned in the wand tip. The suction is created by the regulator unit, and when you cover the hole in the wand the crystal is “sucked up” and stays there until you remove your finger and release the embellishment into the desired position.

Before I even turned the unit on, I tried screwing in the tips. They are specially made so that there’s a little hole in the tip for the suction to work. The tips were nicely threaded and easy to swap out. Good! I turned the unit on, and waited for it to heat up. I have to admit that I thought the unit was kinda loud- I could still hear my radio with it on, but you’d want to turn it off if the phone rang, if you know what I mean.

I waited a good long time to get going- it took about 10 minutes for it to really heat up! That’s kind of a long time, in my opinion, but once it was ready, it was really good and hot. So I followed the following steps to adhere my studs to the tag above:

  1. Place the stud/crystal right-side-up on a heat-resistant mat.
  2. Place the tip of the wand straight down over the top of it.
  3. Move your finger to cover up the hole in the wand to activate the suction.
  4. Place the embellishment where you want it to be on your project.
  5. Remove your finger to de-activate suction. Ta-da!

And there it is! This feature is really an improvement over traditional setters, in that the embellishment doesn’t leave any sticky residue on the tip and you don’t need a pin to dislodge it from the wand. One hand operation, baby!

I continued by adding some studs to a coffee cuff…

And then to my son’s embellished shirt. Those studs in the eyesockets really jazzed up a commercial tee!


Now I have to say there was one BIG problem. The cord that attaches the wand to the regulator unit is bulky and hard to straighten out. I kept wrestling with it, and I did notice my hand getting tired after about a half hour. There is also no resting spot for the wand, and when I set it down on the table it kind of snaked around and moved to resume it’s coiled-up shape from being in the box. I kept thinking that it needed a rest or a prop to put the wand on, and…sure enough, when I wasn’t paying close attention, this is what happened:


Crap! Melted tubing & icky plastic smell. I’m not sure if it’s ruined for good or if it just melted the plastic sheath. This was totally my fault for not attending to it, but it kind of proves a point that there needs to be a wand rest included in the kit!

Now for the nitty gritty…

Pros:

  • Vaccuum regulator is really amazing, and ensures accuracy
  • Love the full kit, with the 3 interchangeble tips
  • Good heat once it warmed up
  • Nice that you can adjust the suction on the regulator depending on the size of the embellishment (for example: more suction for larger rhinestones.)
  • Studs included in the kit are colorful good-quality

Cons:

  • Regulator is kind of loud
  • Wand handle got uncomfortably warm after about 20 minutes of use
  • Your hand may get tired holding your finger over the suction hole
  • Cord attaching wand to unit is bulky, and you may feel like you’re fighting it
  • NO WAND REST!
  • Not inexpensive- $90 to $120 USD
  • Crystals in the pack look cheap (I’m spoiled by Swarovski!)

So there you have it! If you love bling, this may be the tool for you. Do you already have a hot-fix setter? Love it? Let us know!

Disclosure

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

Perfect Pearls

Reported by Jenny Barnett Rohrs

I need to make a confession. Even though I’m a pretty hard-core multi-crafter, I’d never tried Perfect Pearls. Sure, I’ve used straight-up pigment powders for stamping and on polymer clay and I like those just fine. However, Perfect Pearls boasts that it has a built-in resin to help it stick to surfaces, and I thought it was high time to give them a go.

First off, I’ll say I like the “kit” factor- PP’s are packaged to give you 4 colors in a family, plus wide brush for dusting, and fine-tipped brush for watercoloring or working in small spaces. You also get a stamping square of Perfect Medium, which seems to be like a pigment stamp pad but without any pigment (kind of like a VersaMark pad, if you’ve seen those).

For my testing purposes, I decided to try stamping on different colors of paper to test the vibrancy of the pigments.

(stamp by Inkadinkadoo)

I stamped the 4 pieces of cardstock with the Perfect Medium, and then blended the blue and green colors from the “Aged Patina” color family, right on the paper. If you notice, I used both glossy and matte cardstock in white, just to see if it would stick well to the glossy.
Surprise, surprise! It stuck VERY well… and I loved how easy it was to brush off the excess. With the matte pieces of cardstock, I had to vigorously brush the excess pigment off, as it tended to cling. The good news is that even with vigorous brushing, the Perfect Medium kept the pigments right it place.


As you can see with this sample, the colors are incredibly vivid on black. Stunning! And what you can’t see is the lovely iridescent factor.

Next I stamped some waterproof ink on watercolor paper, and added some water to the Perfect Pearls to make watercolor paints. The blue and green maintained a translucency- but the gold became almost opaque (note the butterfly to the far left).

Here’s a sheet of white Premo clay that I embossed with a texture. On the left side I burnished some Perfect Pearls on with my finger. In the middle and to the right I used the big duster brush. What a great way to bring out texture in clay- and to change the color of the clay!
Same technique as above, but with black clay. Like the black paper, the result is stunning. I really like better on the dark shades than on the white!

Lastly, I had some stray powder on my watercolor paper, so I spritzed it with some water and played around with it. Again, I noticed that the gold was more opaque, while the blue, green, and silver colors were more translucent. I think I’d like this for backgrounds- and cheaper than those glimmery sprays, too.

I still want to try Perfect Pearls in Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel, but for my first day’s play with it, I’m impressed.

Here is the nitty-gritty:

Pros:

  • Comes as a kit, with everything you need to get going!
  • Color families are nicely coordinated.
  • Resin is built-in, so you don’t need to add gum arabic to make watercolor paint. Just add water!
  • That resin factor makes it really merge with polymer clay to make a durable color.
  • Multi-use makes it a good value!

Cons:

  • Can’t purchase colors individually, which means A) you’ll end up with a lot of extra paintbrushes and stamping spots and B) you can’t singly select the colors you want.
  • Kind of pricey, between $10 and $14 dollars retail.

Have you been playing with Perfect Pearls? Have a tip or technique to share? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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