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Tag Archives | Bow Maker

Vendor Spotlight : Top Notch Templates by No Bow…No Go

Top Notch Templates by No Bow…No Go are templates used to assist you in creating amazing, boutique hair bows. I  will admit to being skeptical of this system. I said to myself “I’ve made bows before, why would I need this.” Then, I remind myself that yes, I have made bows for my daughter in the past, but usually ended up taking me a long time, having to get someone to help me hold, while I twisted wire, or worst, the bows ended up falling apart after one or two wearings. So I decided to go in with an open mind, and give the system a try.

First, let’s get started on what the system is about. There are bow templates, which are made of durable, quality materials, and instructions for how to make the bows. You can create your own kit on the website, so you can choose from as many templates as you like, bow instructions (in the form of either a printed, spiral-bound book; 3-hole-punched book, or and eBook). For the purpose of review, I received the full, spiral bound book (which was wonderful) and 12 templates. I also received the Clip Grips, which are self-stick, non-slip pads to help hold the clips on, especially for baby-fine hair.

Knowing from experience, I decided to read through the book and understand what was going on before getting into the bow making. The instructions are very detailed and organized and feature instructions for 8 various bows, as well as some enhancements, to take the basic bows further. There are also pages on how to line alligator clips for use, set up your work area, seal the ends of ribbon, and set the finished bows, so that they retain their shape, wear after wear. One of my favorite parts of the instructions involves a photo of all of the finished bows and the various templates needed.
After reading through the instructions and tips, I got my work area set up. You don’t need much to get started. Just some ribbon, clips, scissors, needle and thread, and something to seal the ends. Suggestions are offered, as well as alternatives if you don’t have something listed. In the past I have used fray check or clear nail polish to seal the ends of my ribbon, but did you know you could use the side of a wood burning tool? I didn’t until I saw it in the book! It quickly melts the trimmed edge and creates a nice seal.
So, lets get started creating a bow! The templates are easy to use, and the instructions are very easy to follow. You just wrap your ribbon around the template according to the instructions, then clip into place (with clips using non-slip material) so your ribbon doesn’t slide off. Until you want it to, of course!
After you get the ribbon in place, you stitch up the middle in the “slot” of the template. The instructions detail how many stitches, and which ribbons to go through to get the bow to crease the correct way. After completing your stitches, you just remove the clips and slide the bow off. You also don’t finish off your stitch, just leave the thread a bit long because you pull it to tighten the bow, then wrap it around and stitch to finish.
You then attach your bow to the clip of your choosing (with hot glue) and create a center. There are instructions in the book for creating 3 different centers, straight, pyramid, or knotted. You then wrap your center around your bow and clip and you’re finished!
There is also a great set of instructions for an Itty Bitty bow. This bow is 1″ wide and only uses 5″ of ribbon. Such a great way to use up ribbon scraps and make cute bows that can be used on scrapbook pages, cards and more.

The Itty Bitty bow is made using one side of the 2 template and is super simple to make.
The templates and instructions in the book are a great starting point, but you don’t have to be limited to hair bows attached to clips. My daughter is really into headbands right now, so I decided to add a bow to a headband instead.

Here is my bow after finishing the work on the template and stitching shut. All I need to do next is add my center.

I added a dab of glue to the back and stuck the bow on. I went with a knotted center, and wrapped the excess around the headband, gluing into place.

And here is the finished product. Such a quality bow and it didn’t make me go nuts in the process!

Now she’s ready to go!
Pros:
  • Easy, easy, easy! And seriously, each one took 5 minutes to complete.
  • Versatile – The bows made with the templates can be used for anything and everything.
  • Detailed – The instructions are quite detailed, so if you get confused, don’t worry!
Cons:
  • Cost can be high if you don’t see yourself using the product multiple times
  • Not many other uses besides making bows.
The basic starter set begins at $19.95 and includes 4 templates and instructions. The price goes up for more templates or the printed instructions and can be purchased direct from their website.
Overall, I think this is a great product. I can definitely see myself using the templates again in the future for a variety of projects including gift wrapping and holiday decor. And when I said easy, I meant it. If you have the supplies on hand, several bows can be whipped up quickly for birthday party gifts or a quick bow to match and cute new dress. I look forward to making more!The No Bow No Go Instruction booklet and TNT Top Notch Templates can be purchased online at their website {NoBowNoGo.com}.

What do you think? Look like something you’d be interested in using? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: The Ultimate Tool by Crafter’s Companion (2 of 2)

Reported by Deja Jetmir

The Ultimate Tool by Crafter’s Companion is an all-in-one, compact carry-case which allows you to score, measure, trim, emboss and embellish. You can create boxes, shaped card blanks, envelopes and so much more. Everything comes in a convenient portable carrying case and includes an instruction booklet and instructional DVD with 12 projects explained from start to finish.

I received the Ultimate Tool and immediately opened it up to see all that was included. First of all there are the outside templates that are used for folding cardstock, making envelopes, embossing various designs and borders on your projects, and peg holes for making uniformed sized bows. I then flipped to the inside and found two more templates, one with embossing and the other used for making boxes and more embossing borders; plus there are measure markings for your insertable paper cutter.

Once you lift these two flaps you are greeted with one side of your box that can be used for storage or for extra templates Ultimate Tool sells on their website. The other storage area contains the pegs used for bow making, an embossing tool, scoring tool and cutter all made from the same plastic as the kit. There is also the paper cutter insert in this section. Though each of these items has a specific place in the Ultimate Tool, they do not snap into place, so I subsequently end up dropping all of my parts every time I open the kit. I’m sure technically you are supposed to open the center portion first, then open the storage compartments, but I never remember to do this and end up having to rearrange the tools back into place.

The construction of the Ultimate Tool seems very sturdy and well thought out in respects to how it lays out and its ability to add inserts to create a variety of different projects. The only tool that worries me is the cutting blade. It is a snapping piece of plastic with a moveable Stanley razor blade. To use, you must open the blade compartment and pull the blade out and move it over a notch so the tip of the blade sticks out to cut with. I’m not thrilled I have to handle the razor blade (it sticks in each slot well, so a little force with your fingernail is needed to dislodge it), and I’m paranoid I will forget when I put it down and end up sticking myself with it. The cutter wouldn’t deter me from buying this product because it works well with the cutting insert, I would just exercise extra caution while using it.

Once I got familiar with the actual product, I moved onto the instruction manual and DVD. The manual is a 24 page full color (and pictured, not illustrated) booklet that shows how to accomplish most of the basic functions of your Ultimate Tool. The booklet is quite detailed but I wished it would tell me when using cardstock which side (i.e. wrong side, right side) to score or fold. Since I am new to card making and some of the pictures have cardstock that looks the same on both sides, I get confused with which side I should be working from. I wanted to get started so I chose to make a custom envelope from cardstock following just the written directions.

First off, I don’t recommend making an envelope from cardstock. Thinking a thicker envelope would be better than a thin one, I chose heavy pearlized cardstock to turn into an embossed envelope. While the pearlized worked wonders for showing off the embossing, the cardstock would not stay together with traditional two sided tape. Only after using wet glue did it hold. Once I watched the DVD I realized Sara (star of the DVD) used much lighter paper for all of her envelopes — lesson learned.

Embossed Envelope

Using the envelope template and measurements supplied in the handbook I easily created the envelope in minutes. I then grabbed my embossing tool and got to work on the corners. Though they are not perfectly placed, it was much easier to emboss than I thought it would be. The Companion gives the tip of rubbing wax paper over the surface before embossing if you are new to it, but I was able to do all four sides with no problem at all.

After my envelope I wanted to move on to something more challenging, so I popped in the DVD and picked out two projects to give a try. The first is called a squash book and uses alternating colors of cardstock to create a unique gift. I really liked the DVD because Sara completes each project from start to finish so you don’t miss any steps. That is great for a first timer like me, or anyone who has never made any of these projects.

Using my scoring templates I folded all of my cards into quarters and then glued them in a specific way to create the squash book. While the scoring was easy to do with the preprinted guide lines on my template, I still need to get used to how hard to score. Some of my cardstock was on the verge of tearing from scoring too strongly. Once my squash books was complete, I then embellished it using my Digital Scrapbook Artist 2 software. I printed out designs and phrases on sticker paper and then attached. I finished off the book by punching some holes and tying ribbon to close. So far I was having fun.

Squash Book Closed
Squash Book Unfolded

Next came the exploding box. It is a super cute box that falls open once the top is removed. It is made in layers so you can put many embellishments inside for the receiver to find. I followed the exact measurements given on the DVD and that is where I ran into trouble. The cardstock measurements for the box were in 1/8th increments. Unfortunately, the cutting insert and measurements on the template only show full and 1/2 inch increments, so I had to break out my own paper cutter to get the cardstock down to size. Though I was disappointed that I couldn’t complete the project using only the Ultimate Tool, the rest of the project went smoothly. Using the scoring tool and the box creating feature I made the top of the box and created a ribbon using the peg inserts. I then made some more stickers from my DSA2 software and put the final touches on the project.

Exploding Box Closed
Exploding Box “Exploded”

Overall the concept of the product is wonderful. I love that you can create so many diverse projects with just one tool. Each item is made well and seems like it will last a very long time. Though I was disappointed with a couple of features (lack of 1/4 and 1/8 measurements on the cutting insert and measuring template, tools that don’t snap into place) the good greatly outweighs the bad. If you are a card maker or have just wanted to try, the Ultimate Tool is a great purchase that will pay for itself after your first holiday.

Pros:

  • All-in-one solution, compact and easy to use
  • Instruction booklet and DVD with great instruction and project ideas
  • Ability to add more templates to the kit to make even more great projects

Cons:

  • Lack of measurement increments on ruler items
  • Tools fall out if the Ultimate Tool is not opened correctly
  • Cutting tool not safe around children


GIVEAWAY!

We’re giving away one Clevercut 5-in-1 Paper Trimmer to one of our readers… just leave a comment on any Crafter’s Companion Clevercut post (this is 2 of 2) and tell us…
What do you use for scoring and card making now and what part of the Ultimate Tool do you need the most?
One comment per person, per article, please.

Disclosure

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