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.
- 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!
- Cost can be high if you don’t see yourself using the product multiple times
- Not many other uses besides making bows.
What do you think? Look like something you’d be interested in using? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- Lack of measurement increments on ruler items
- Tools fall out if the Ultimate Tool is not opened correctly
- Cutting tool not safe around children
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.