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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.
  • 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!

Martha Stewart Apps – Egg Dyeing

Reported by Anam Stubbington

Given the time of year, I thought that some egg dyeing would be fun for both my children and myself. Most of this sort of work, as it would involve lots of water and liquids, should take place in the kitchen, far away from computers, so I decided to try the Martha Stewart App which I could download on my Apple iTouch.


It is really easy to find as there is only the one app for egg dyeing on iTunes. The layout of the options were pretty clear and full of beautiful vibrant color photographs. The option of having a favorites gallery where you can just click those photos to have the step-by-step guide to replicating the image was a smart idea.

I have always wanted to try artistic egg dyeing as I lived for many years in Edmonton, Canada, where there’s a large Ukrainian population who practice the beautiful art of Pysanky (aka Ukrainana Easter Eggs) so I was looking forward to playing with color.

At this stage, it should be noted that you should wear rubber or plastic gloves, otherwise the dye makes you look funky – this is not in the basic instructions – although the pinboard for drying is well worth doing.

I played with a total of 30 eggs – mostly brown with some duck. The Designs are much harder to see in the brown unless you use a very strong color such as black or dark blue. The Designs in the app are all done on Duck eggs to have that crisp white background. The duck eggs also resist cracking so they make for good entry and exit holes.


The blowing out video was good and the suggestion of the aspirator was a stroke of genius – I used a turkey baster BUT the following are items they should have mentioned in the video or in the text as they are really important:

1) you must wash your hands and not put the broken egg anywhere near your mouth to avoid raw egg consumption (and possible samonella issues) – this makes it hard to do this part with children.
2) the blown eggs must be washed our afterwards and left to dry over night otherwise the egg slime left inside the egg will go moldy.

I used the turkey baster to wash out the eggs and then left them to dry over night.

I split my eggs into 2 lots – blown eggshells and hard-boiled eggs in their shell. From the results, it doesn’t make any difference to the colors but you can only keep the blown egg shell ones for longer times. I did also do a test run of dyeing the eggs before boiling them – to make it a breakfast surprise – but the colors just boiled off the eggs.

I tried all of the techniques in the App and added a few of my own such as the hot glue and Kids Clay. Some worked perfectly and some failed horribly.

Good Techniques:

  • Elastic Bands 
  • Stickers 
  • Rub-Ons
  • Crayons (only if they are clear/white) 
  • Lace, leafs & Petals
  • Marbling
  • of course all the ones that involved glue and glitter

I added the Kids Modeling Clay and the Glue Gun.

Techniques that didn’t make it:
The Hot Beeswax – from a purely cost point of view – to make this as nice as the photos you do need the good beeswax and the nibs etc. I Cheated and used stencils and some candle beeswax. The removal of the beeswax also was tricky to ensure the shells don’t over heat and crack. The crayons would have worked if I used a clear one but the kids got a bigger kick out of eating their artwork. The stamping only worked if the stamp was small – if you used a medium one you had to make sure it curved correctly over the egg.


The dyeing was the most frustrating part as it seemed the dyes used on the app and the ones I could buy in my local stores were vastly different in vibrancy. I ended up having to use a lot more dye and longer dyeing time to get anywhere close to their photographs. So I would suggest you are aware of this.

The other trick that should have been in the app is how to keep the blown eggs submerged as you cannot stand there for 20 minutes holding it. Personally I used two bits of baker’s twine and some modelling clay – threaded through the egg so it comes out both ends and then weighed it down with the clay, or place a single egg in a drinking glass with the dye and weight it down with some coins. or you can also insert water inside the egg with your aspirator to combat the floating.


I liked how the majority of the eggs turned out, especially the red and blue dye on the brown eggs. My biggest problem is that a lot of the designs turned out too subtle for my to photograph well – especially the flowers and the lace.

These are my favorites from the days work – I have added some ribbon and they are now part of my kitchen memo board. I think that I will play again with rub-ons and the modelling clay once I do a lot of cooking with all these egg yolks.

Pros:

  • Beautiful Photography.
  • Rejuvenation of older forgotten methods such as the plants and the lace.
  • Made lots of use of common products and craft items.

Cons:

  • Missing important details with regards to egg blowing and they only used duck eggs for their photos.
  • They missed a lot of opportunities to involve children in the decoration process.
  • The method of coloring they used to get their colors, I personally think is not listed correctly with regards to time and number of drops.

I think that while the app is pretty, I personally think that it is not user-friendly enough to involve kids and not artistic enough to be up with Ukraine egg decorating so it’s a weird middle ground.

I know that I have a lot of frustrations with regards to this App from a purely instructional point of view but I would still buy the app for the inspirational value alone when it comes to the photographs and the possible creative ideas.

Martha Stewart – 101 Egg Dyeing Ideas
More information at the Martha Stewart Website
and to buy the app for $0.99 (USA) at Apple itunes

What would you like to see in an app for this time of year or for crafting in general? Do you have a favourite Egg Decorating tip you would like to share?

Disclosure

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