Tag Archives | American Crafts

CHA Mega Show 2015 | True Stories by Shimelle Laine [Video]

Reported by Maria del Pinto

Shimelle True Stories Paper Collection

Let’s take a close-up look at the “True Stories Paper Line” designed by Shimelle Laine for American Crafts, which was unveiled at the CHA Mega Show 2015! The collection will ship to stores in April 2015.

True Stories paper packs are available in 6×6 size as well as the traditional 12×12 size.

Shimelle True Stories Papers 2

For comparison, the layout above is from Shimelle’s first collection. In the tradition of other American Crafts brand designers such as Amy Tangerine and Maggie Holmes, you can see that the new line will coordinate beautifully with the previous one.

Shimelle debuted a range of new papers in the new line, including some great die cut papers that have tabs so that they can folded to create fun cards and home decor pieces.  She also released some new collections of stickers (like the ones below) and more of her popular cork stickers from the first release. Shimelle even added a wood veneer line that compliments all the papers and can be used for crafting projects too.

The sticker book below contains elements that are designed to be layered, so each sticker can be built upon to create a fun project piece.

Shimelle True Stories Small Sticker Book

The new line also contains new 4×4 cards that can be cut down, along with phrase stamps, darling little wooden buttons, multi-color Thickers with complementing alphabets, and several other cool items. The True Stories line is inspired by daydreams, where little things can make a difference, like a child dreaming of rockets.  Shimelle also included some overlays that can enhance a scrapbook page.

To get more of an idea of the inspiration and the darling papers in this line, watch the video below:

I loved all the cute papers and accessories that Shimelle had on display. I think my favorite element of the line is the tag set, because everything can be layered to create a unique tag.

I would love to hear what our readers think about this line! Leave a comment below!

CHA Winter 2013: Crafts for Kids

Reported by Cassandra Darwin

I’m happy to report that I saw a number of new and innovative craft products and kits at the CHA Winter 2013 show, geared specifically for the younger crowd.  The last time I went to CHA I was not a mom, so it was interesting seeing the new product offerings at the show this time from a different perspective.  I am always on the lookout for something fun to do with my toddler, and have a number of these items on my wish list now.

Do-A-Dot Art offers markers in the form of a dauber that look so easy and fun for kids to use.  I have seen these before at my local teacher’s store but was happy to learn more about them.  They have ink in them, not paint, so they will not get clogged up or dried out like a paint dabber.  They also have a felt tip applicator with a valve that does not allow the ink to flow unless the kids are pressing down, so the mess is kept to a minimum if the young artist gets a little wild.  I especially loved the glitter set and the coordinating coloring books.

Do-A-Dot Art

The same company also offers a kit called Glam Art that is geared for a slightly older age group (ages 5+).  It comes with three pre-printed images that already have adhesive on them that can be covered with colored sequins.  Kids peel away one section at a time to reveal the adhesive and use the included applicator to get the sequins perfectly positioned.

Glam Art

The end result is a sparkly masterpiece. I would guess that it might take a few sessions to complete each of the pictures, depending on how patient and focused your kid is, so it would be a great activity for rainy days or school vacations.

Glam Art

Another innovative product was a device that combines your iPad with Perler Beads.  The iPegboard from EK Success comes with a tray that fits over your iPad screen to create designs with Perler beads.  First you download the free iPad app, and then you can use the 50 free designs, buy additional designs, or customize designs before placing the tray over the screen to get started.

Perler i-Pegboard

Once you are done placing the Perler beads, you remove the tray from the base and iPad, then fuse everything together with an iron.  The i-Pegboard retails for less than $10, and opens up a whole host of possibilities for customizing your own designs.

Perler i-Pegboard

Something that I had seen online and really wanted to check out in person was the Amy Tangerine Travel Kit (from American Crafts).  I would love one of these for myself for scrapbooking on the go, but I also realized looking at it that it would make a great travel kit for a crafter in the tween years.  It includes all the tools you would need to create a mixed media journal or simple scrapbook – just add a small notebook and some pictures.  The only warning here is that I noticed it has a needle and thread as well as a push pin, so you would need to adjust the contents depending on the age of your young crafter.

Amy Tangerine Scrapbook Travel Kit

The “Lace and Play Hedgehog” set from Imagine I Can also caught my eye.  I love the simple designs on these sets and how they teach stitching in a fun and easy way.  And since you can stitch the pieces together over and over again in different patterns, it is a craft that is reusable.  I also appreciate that this is appropriate for the younger crafters with a 3+ age range.

Imagine I Can Stitching Kit

The Crafter’s Caddy from Creative Options is bright colored and just the right size for holding all the tools for children’s crafts.  It would keep everything contained and easy to find, and the pull out drawer on the bottom is great for smaller items.

Creative Options Crafter's Caddy

The Face-a-Day book: Doodle Your Mood journal is a great option for any young crafter.  It gives them an opportunity to write a bit about their day and draw a picture of their face to depict a mood.

Face-a-Day Book

This book would make a great gift, and would come in handy for those kids that have a hard time expressing how they feel.  You can see that the pages are guided so the author can write down meals, weather, and other tidbits about your day.  And each page has a different colored circle for drawing the mood/face.

Face-a-Day Book

And more exciting book news!  On June 18th the new “Martha Stewart: Crafts for Kids” book will be released.  It was on display at the CHA show, but the cover had not been finalized so I don’t have a picture.  I got to take a look at the inside and in true Martha style the crafts are well thought out with clear instructions.  I can’t wait for this book!

And as I was leaving the CHA show I was drawn into one of the most colorful displays there.  Take a look at this rainbow of tie-dye onesies and see if you could resist these happy colors!

Tulip Tie Dye Kits

Tulip offers a huge range of tie-dye kits and I think any kid would love to make a wearable piece of art.  To me, it is the quintessential summertime craft, so I have a few months to plan out some tie-dye projects.

Tulip Tie Dye Kits

So what CHA Winter 2013 kids’ crafts are you excited to try out?

Vendor Spotlight: American Crafts – Zap Heat Tool

Reported by Marti Wills

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the affiliate program.

I recently had the opportunity to test out the Zap Heat Tool by American Crafts.

It is a super cute bright pink color, which I liked right away. It also comes with the little black metal piece to use as a tabletop stand.

I began with a stamp set by American Crafts called Terrace Small. I stamped with American Crafts Chestnut Pigment Ink and used Zing embossing powders in Opaque Black, Opaque Red & Silver Metallic. As you can see here the powder did not stick well to the pigment ink:

I went ahead and heated it but I was not happy with the splotchy results:

So I tried again, this time using Versamark to stamp with. I got better coverage with the powder:

My results were better this time.

Next I stamped some stars from the same stamps set using Versamark Ink and covered them with Zing Gold Glitter & Blue Metallic embossing powders.

I paired these glittering stars with American Crafts Margarita paper and some fun Iguana Varnish Thickers all on a slightly textured piece of blue American Crafts cardstock.

Here is a closer look at the Thickers – they have tiny clear raised dots on them – I thought they were really neat.

Overall the Heat Tool performed as expected – it easily melted the embossing powders with very little wait time.


  • Did not take long to heat up or to melt the embossing powder 
  • Cute pink color 
  • Tabletop stand
  • Pink plastic safety guard around the heat nozzle


  • Airflow was too strong and blew quite a bit of the powder off before it could melt it 
  • Very noisy, which would be a problem if filming a tutorial 
  • I would prefer a tool with a smaller size


Our friends at American Crafts have provided a prize pack for one of our lucky readers! Just leave a comment on this post answering the following questions to be entered:

Have you tried the Zap Heat Tool? What did you think? If not, what are you looking for in a heat tool?

One comment per person, per American Crafts’ article, please. Contest will end on Saturday August 13, 2011.