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Author Archive | Marti Wills

Review | Tonertex

Reported by Marti Wills

We all love the look of foiled papers but not the expense.  Sometimes I love the foiled look but not the pattern.  Tonertex products make it possible to add foiled accents to ANY paper, or even a stamped image, quickly and easily.
The key are the foils – basically a clear piece of acetate with mylar/foil on it.  The first thing I did was convert some cute – but plain – Halloween paper into a specialty foiled paper.

I used the Tonertex Glue Pen and this silver sparkling foil piece.  I traced a few of the spider web strings with the glue pen.  The pen was difficult to get going – it needs priming by tapping gently on a scrap piece of paper.  Once I got it going it worked extremely well with no blobbing or skipping.  After applying the glue I waited a few minutes for it to change from a light bluish to clear.  I laid  the foil over and rubbed gently across it with my fingertip.  I lifted it off and was left with a perfectly-foiled piece of paper.

The foil sheets also work really well with adhesive images like the ones from Memory Box:

These work just like rub-ons but the image is adhesive:

Once the adhesive image was on the paper I layed the Copper foil down and rubbed the foil onto the images.

The foil sheets are really beautiful.  You can use them over and over until the foil is completely gone.  If you have an area of adhesive that does not get foiled you just use a different part of the foil.

Another great way to use the foil and glue pen is to add some vibrant foil highlights to your stamped images as I did on this witch – gold foil on the broom band, jack o lantern features and the star on her hat and green foil on her glasses:

This is a piece my 4 year old daughter did along-side of me with more Memory Box adhesive images.

Pros:

  • Foils are very shiny and come in a gorgeous array of colors/patterns.
  • The foil sheets work like they are supposed to – only sticking to the adhesive.

Cons:

  • Glue pen was difficult to get going.

Have you tried the Tonertex products?  Have you tried other similar ones?  What do you think of them?  Let us know!
If you are looking to purchase Tonertex foils and glitter, Craft Critique recommends SCACD! Shop with confidence!

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Vendor Spotlight: Stampendous Embossing Enamels & Tinsels

Reported by Marti Wills

Stampendous has an exciting new line of embossing powders as part of their Frantage line.  I received a selection of the aged metals embossing enamels, shabby enamel embossing powders, embossing tinsels and vintage glitters, plus a few stamps to use to try it all out.

I’ll start by saying I am a huge fan of heat embossing.  It is one of the first stamping techniques I learned, and it fascinates me to this day.  These embossing enamels were not like any of the powders I have seen, so I was intrigued right away.  I decided to start things off with the Vintage Crowns stamp sets and some Aged Silver Embossing Enamel:

The first thing I noticed was the unusual texture and grains.  They were larger and not all one color.

Which is exactly what gives you this unique aged metal look.  Next I used the Jumbo Rosehips stamp set with the Shabby Pink embossing enamel.  Again the powder itself was very unusual.

It contained large grains of white, smaller grains of pink as well as a bit of silver glitter – it made me wonder how well it would stick to the details of the stamped image.

As you can see it was no problem at all.

Next I wanted to add some detail to my corners with the Shabby Pink Embossing Enamel and a couple of the vintage glitters from the Treasures Glitter Kit.  I started by dumping the embossing enamel on to the corner.  then I sprinkled some of the glitters in as well.

It made quite a pretty little pile.  I heated from BENEATH the paper since I did not have anything holding the pile onto the paper.  The results were amazing.

As you can see above, the white grains truly become a slick enamel.  The whole melty mess holds the vintage glitters wonderfully.

In addition to the embossing enamels there are also three embossing tinsels.  Here I used another stamp and the Jumbo Rosehips and the Plum and Olive Embossing Tinsels.  These are colored powder with some glitter mixed in.  I also added some Aged Copper Embossing Enamel around the outer edges of my image.

Again once I tapped off the excess I heated from BENEATH the paper in case any of the grains blew around.

I finished up the second image similar to the first with powders and glitter in the corners and made these two gift bags.

Pros:

  • Unique mixture gives beautiful results
  • Colors and metallics are gorgeous
  • Sticks well to detailed images

Cons:

  • Very limited color selection – especially in the Embossing Tinsels
  • I couldn’t come up with any others!

Let us know what you think.  Have you tried any of the products in the Stampendous Frantage line?  What did you think?  Do you like heat embossing?

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Cricut E2 vs. eClips

Reported by Marti Wills

Cricut Expression 2
Sizzix eClips

When it comes to making the jump to an electronic die cutting machine there are a lot of choices.  It is quite an investment and there are so many things to consider.  Most importantly, you want a machine that will cut well and is easy to use.

Today I want to tell you about the results of my comparison of two of these machines, the Cricut Expression 2 by Provo Craft and the eClips by Sizzix.

Most important is how well the machine can cut. So I began by testing both on a variety of materials.  Both cut cardstock and paper just fine but I wanted to see what else they could cut.

First I tried chipboard – actually the backing from a paper pad.  This is slightly thinner than regular chipboard but it is free, it is a great way to recycle and it WORKS.  First I cut a cupcake – these are on the large size – 4″:

Both machines cut the chipboard perfectly.  I decided to try a smaller and more complicated design with the chipboard next:

The results with the eClips were not as clean as the Cricut.

Next I tried some acetate – another recycled material – I used the plastic covering that my embossing folders come in – you can use any type of plastic clamshell packaging but I like the embossing folder and Spellbinder types because they are so flat and easy to store.

I cut the same cupcakes first – nice basic larger shapes.  Both machines did a great job, however the Cricut cut cleanly through whereas the eClips required some punching out.  However this did not effect the final result.

I also cut the smaller more intricate images again:

Once again the eClips did not quite get the smallest detail cut all the way through:

Those teeny pieces on each tip would not come out without doing some damage to the overall shape.  The Cricut did not have this problem:

even the tiny circles/dots required no punching out.

Finally, I cut out some fabric appliques with each machine.  Before you can cut fabric you need to add something to stabilize it and keep it from stretching as the blade makes the cuts.  I tried Steam a Seam Lite first but this was not enough and neither machine cut through.  Next I used Heat ‘n Bond Ultra which is much thicker.  Both machines cut the fabric perfectly:

One advantage the Cricut Expression 2 had was the ability to set it to cut each image twice which is probably why it cute through more successfully.  One of the features of the eClips is the pre-set cut settings for various materials.  I used these pre-sets to do all of the cuts above.  Better results might be gained by adjusting the settings manually, but I have not tried that yet.

In addition to the cutting ability there are a lot of other considerations when comparing cutters.  Here is a table with some of these other things to compare:

Sizzix eClips
Cricut E2
Price – Starter Kit Machine
$499 – includes 2 blades, 1 cartridge and 1 mat
$349 – includes 1 blade, 4 cartridges and 1 mat
Footprint
22 1/2″ x 5″ x 7 1/2″
Price/mat
12.99 – 2 pack
12.99 – 2 pack
Price/blade
9.99 – 2 pack
9.99 – 2 pack
Price/cartridge
39.99 –  25 designs plus features
24.99/34.99/55.99 – 68 images/168+ images/200+ images
Cartridges available
36
228
Cardstock
5
5
Fabric
5
5
Chipboard
4
5
Acetate
4
5
Store avail.
1
4
Ebay
4   29.99/53.99
5    15.00 & up – open bidding

Both of these machines have a viewing screen.  The eClips screen is on a separate handheld device and is controlled by buttons that allow you to scroll through menus and make your choices.  The Expression 2 screen is mounted on the machine itself and is a touchscreen controlled with a stylus.  I personally preferred the screen being attached to the machine as I have limited space and found the separate screen and its cord was always in the way.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up – Both
  • Easy to use – Both
  • Great mats and sharp blades – Both
  • Ability to save cut settings for future ease of use – Expression 2
  • Huge selection of cartridge images – Expression 2
  • Free web-based program that allows you the freedom to design and customize shapes on Cricut cartridges you already own – Expression 2

Cons:

  • Separate screen/control device – eClips
  • Cartridge based system – Both
  • Price – Both
  • Cutting pre-sets did not work on smaller more intricate items – eClips

Had I compared the eClips to the original Cricut Expression the eClips would have come out ahead.  However, with the vast improvements made on the Expression 2 recently released by Provo Craft, I found the Expression to be a better machine – the cutting ability was better, the price is lower, and the image selection is vastly larger.

Do you own either of these machines?  What do you think of them?  Do you own a different one?  Let us know!