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Author Archive | Susan Reidy

Review | Scrapbooking and Papercrafting Adhesives

During a recent scrapbook room reorganization, I was alarmed to find my adhesive storage had overflowed. I clearly needed to purge what wasn’t being used.

But as I emptied my basket, I realized I used nearly every item in it, depending on the project. Some adhesives were meant for paper, some for ribbon, some for fabric, others to provide dimension, and still others that would act as a sealer, either glossy or matte. I needed them all.

So while I searched for a bigger storage basket, I thought it would be the perfect time for an article on some adhesive basics for scrapbookers, and papercrafters in general.

Tape

Tape for me is by far the go-to adhesive. If I was trapped on a desert island with my scrapbook supplies, I would want a never ending supply of permanent Tombow Mono Adhesive at my side. It took a little trial and error, but I finally found the perfect tape runner in this little blue package.

Review | Marvy Uchida Snow Marker

This holiday season, I’m going to make my own winter wonderland. Since I have no place to go, I’m going to use the Marchy Uchida Snow Marker to let it snow all over my projects.

I wanted this badly last year, but could never find it. When I saw it in September at Hobby Lobby, it went right into my shopping cart.

I know it says snow marker, and I did/will use it for that purpose, but there’s so much more that can be done with its white puffy gloriousness. Think of the possibilities for Santa’s beard, ice cream, fluffy sheep, icing, clouds (which are so hot right now), and more.

The marker is super simple to use: Give it a good a few shakes, and if it’s your first use (or you haven’t used it in a while), press down on the tip until the ink starts to flow. Color it on your project, in this case I used a silk flower.

Zap it with a heat gun. The marker puffs quite nicely, making for a great snow effect. Even though the ink was absorbed some into the flower, it still had a nice lift.

According to the Marvy Uchida web site, you should let the ink dry for 20 to 30 minutes before heating it to get a uniform effect. I didn’t read this on the instructions that were on the packaging, so I didn’t wait. I still liked the results, and to me, snow is rarely uniform.

I layered two flowers together, and used it as an accent on my December Daily.

It can be used on a variety of surfaces including paper and fabric. The water-based pigmented ink is odorless, acid free and is washable when applied to fabrics, although the delicate cycle is recommended.

Marvy Uchida says not to rub it after heating it, and to avoid ironing directly on the ink.

I wanted to try it out on some fabric, so I die-cut a tree out of some Papertrey Ink wool felt. Again, I didn’t wait to let it dry; I was afraid it would absorb too much into the fabric.

It wasn’t getting quite the puff I expected so I thought I should keep heating it. Bad idea, especially with wool felt. Oops…just a few scorch marks.

I tried again, being much more careful with the heat tool. I did scorch one end, but overall, I was pleased with the results.

Here they are side by side. The snow wasn’t as puffy as it was on my flower, but it still looked like snow.

I was adding my tree to a card, and wanted my pink (yeah, pink) snow drifts to have a little lift. I like how I can get different results depending on how I apply the ink. It’s not as puffy when I use long strokes vs. dotting it on.

Here’s my finished card.

Next up, I wanted to try adding dimension to Santa’s beard and his other white fluffy parts. This time, I decided to wait. Not a good idea, at least for me. I was hardly getting any puff, so I kept heating and heating. You can guess what happened. Poor Santa got scorched (must have been a hot chimney!). Also, the snow marker ink completely flattened and turned an unsightly yellowish-tan (think Miss Havisham in Great Expectations).

So for my next attempt, I didn’t wait and I laid it on thick. I wanted lots of puff. Much better.

Here they are side by side.

Since my Santa was going to be coming down a tag chimney, I decided to add a little soot. I opted for chalk. The snow ink took the chalk well, and it didn’t flatten the puff, but I used a light hand.

And here’s my finished tag.

After playing with it some, I was curious what would happen if I added some glitter to the ink while it was wet, before heating it.

Once again, I was pleased with the results. I really, really added a lot of ink, because I wanted the glitter to stay in place.

Look how puffy it is!

I had lots of fun playing with this marker and learned a few things along the way. I personally don’t like waiting for it to dry; I like the look you get when you heat immediately. Shake that sucker between every use. If you want the ink to really puff, lay it on thick.

Pros:

  • Adds great puffy dimension to make snow, beards, clouds, etc.
  • Easy to use.
  • Works on multiple surfaces, including cardstock and fabric.
  • Possible to add chalk, glitter.

Cons:

  • Results vary on different surfaces.
  • Don’t overheat, or it will turn a nasty yellowish color and completely flatten out.

Have you used the Marvy Uchida snow marker to make your projects a winter wonderland? What’s your favorite way to use it?

 

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Vendor Spotlight — Spellbinder’s Presto Punch

Reported by Susan Reidy

Hanging on one wall in my craft space is a shoe organizer crammed full of punches. I’d show you a picture, but no one wants to see that. I don’t even want to see it.

If only Spellbinder’s Presto Punch had come into my life much sooner. As Spellbinders puts it, this handy tool is the first automatic punching and embossing machine. Instead of a hefty heave-ho sometimes needed to use a standard punch, with the Presto Punch, you simply push a button. That’s perfect for those with any strength issues or hand problems like carpal tunnel or arthritis.

And, it solves the problem of storing bulky punches. According to Spellbinders, you can store 30 punch designs in the space of one standard punch. Sign me up!

Spellbinders says the Presto Punch works best with craft foil, fun foam and up to 65# cardstock. I didn’t have any foil, but I tried all the others, and more.

Out of the box, you receive the Presto Punch machine, a purple cutting booklet, a white embossing booklet…

and seven templates.

These guys are tiny, but cute! I like that they are nice basic shapes, and that they come with your initial purchase.

Spellbinders also has additional templates available, including basic shapes that come in sets of three for $9.99, fun themed shapes in packs of 5 for $14.99 and fonts including letters and numbers for $39.99.

Spellbinders sent me the scalloped circles.

And the Christmas Joy. Love that snowman, and all the little Christmas icons.

To use the machine or either need eight AA batteries, or the power adapter, which is available separately for $29.99.

Eight is an awful lot of batteries, and I’m not sure how long they would last. I would definitely recommend the power adapter, which is what I used.

The adapter plugs into the back, under the battery component. There’s a notch in the battery compartment door so the cord can come through.

To use the machine, you’ll first have to cut your paper to fit the 2.5 inch square purple cutting booklet.

 Put your paper on the magnet side of the booklet, and put your template on top, raised edge down. The magnet is a nice touch, because it holds the template in place, at least on lighter weight paper.

Put the booklet in the machine.

Push the left/down button.

Once cutting is done, push the right/up button and remove the booklet.

And here’s the punched leaf.

To emboss, remove the template and your punched shape, and put it cutting edge down in the white embossing booklet.

Put it in the machine, press down until the motor stops and then press the up button to remove the folder. Here you can see the nice, deep embossing.

When you’re done with that, you can keep the template in place and use it like a stencil to add some color via chalk, ink, market, etc. to your punched image.

Here’s my cute finished leaf.

I do wish the directions that came with the machine were a little more complete. They give the general guidelines, which I just explained. But what they don’t say is how long to push down the button. When I first did it, the loud, grinding sound scared me and I stopped pushing the button. When I removed the folder,  my paper hadn’t punched.

I went online and found further instructions, including videos, that said to keep pushing the button until the motor stops. Once I did that, my punches turned out much better.

The machine is loud, and the sound might be a little off-putting to some. But I didn’t find it any louder or annoying than any other electric die cutting system I have used (Cricut, Vagabond).

I did find there is a certain amount of trial and error involved in getting a good punch. The more I used the Presto Punch, the better my punches turned out. I tried the machine on heavier cardstock than recommended, including the Die Cuts with a View textured paper I used for my leaf up above.

I found with the smaller shapes, the Presto Punch could handle the heavier paper. However, with the  larger shapes, it had a hard time cutting through Papertrey Ink (110#), DCWV and Stampin’ Up (80#) cardstock.

One tip: If you try cutting heavier than 65# paper, make sure you have the machine all the way up, and punch all the way down, so you get the maximum amount of punching time. When I was doing lighter weight paper, I didn’t worry if it was all the way up.

I like that you can nest shapes like this.

But unfortunately, I couldn’t successfully cut the two shapes effectively at the same time, even when I tried plain old copy paper. However, it wasn’t hard to cut the circle first, remove the circle die, add the candy cane, and punch again. I got this.

I thought this would be super cute as Christmas tags. I cut a few more, and then thought I’d get a little fancy. After cutting my tag and layering a solid scallop underneath, I tried embossing the candy cane on that lower layer.

I put the template over the precut candy cane and put it in the embossing folder. Here was my result.

Not too bad, but you can see my template shifted a little. In the future, I will add a little piece of tape to my template to keep it in place.

Here are some of my finished holiday tags.

I was really into the nesting thing, so I tried making a wreath with two of the nested scalloped circles.

I again had difficulty getting it to cut all the way through in one punch.

But again, I got a good result punching it in two steps and using a lighter weight patterned paper. Here’s my finished wreath, with an added punched and stencilled holly leaf, also from the Christmas Joy set of templates.

I love that you can use the templates to emboss and stencil, to add more interest to a punch, and used the technique a lot. For this tree, I brushed liquid glue right over the template and added glitter.

The glue and glitter wiped right off my template with a baby wipe.

I cut and embossed the cute snowman, then added some details with chalk.

So cute! He would also be cute with some bling buttons or eyes.

I added him to a journaling pocket I plan on using for a Christmas layout or maybe my December Daily.

I wanted to try the Presto Punch with fun foam. I dug around, and finally found a small piece (but just the right size for the 2.5 inch platform). I was pleased with how well the templates cut through the foam, although the edges were a little rough. This was one of the last things I cut, and my cutting mat was looking really rough, so that may have had an impact.

The directions included with the Presto Punch say not to use template in manual die cutting machines because “doing so will damage the templates and the cutting mats.” So I didn’t try it.

I did however try some of smaller Spellbinder Nestabilities in the Presto Punch. They worked great, but you’re limited to the dies that are small enough to fit on the cutting/embossing surfaces.

After all my testing and playing, my purple cutting booklet looked like this.

The magnet sheet on the surface started bubbling up, and came off altogether in some places. I think it’s definitely time for a new cutting booklet. Replacements are available in a pack of three for $5.99.

Once I got rolling, I really enjoyed using the Presto Punch. It really is easy on the hands, has great “nesting” capabilities and takes up much less space, even when you include the size of the machine. I love that you can emboss and stencil with the templates, much like Spellbinders Nestabilities.

However, there are some trade-offs when compared to traditional punches. You need to cut your paper down to size before you can punch, your results are varied with heavier cardstock, and it takes longer. With a traditional punch, you have your image punched in about two seconds. With the Presto Punch, it takes about 10 seconds to push the punch down and then back up. If you include cutting the paper down to 2.5 inches square, it’s even longer.

Still, the benefits of the Presto Punch make it worth it. While I won’t get rid of my traditional punch collection, I will definitely look to add to my Presto Punch template collection before buying traditional options.

Pros:

  • Great for people with strength or hand problems.
  • Easier to store than traditional punches.
  • With same template you can punch, emboss and stencil.
  • After the initial investment, it is cheaper than traditional punches.
  • Templates can be nested for fun results.
  • Cute shapes available, as well as fonts.
  • Can cut up to 65# paper, fun foam and craft foil.

Cons:

  • Directions included with the machine are incomplete, but lots more information is available online.
  • Needs eight AA batteries, which is a lot, or the purchase of the adapter for another $29.99.
  • Takes longer than traditional punches.
  • Paper has to be precut to fit 2.5 inch square cutting/embossing booklets.
  • Results vary when using heavier cardstock.

Have you tried the Presto Punch? How does it compare to traditional punches? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

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