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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Slice Elite by Making Memories (2 of 2)

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk


Last month I had the opportunity to review the new Slice Elite Cordless Design Cutter from Making Memories. The Slice Elite weighs less than a pound, is cordless, measures 5″ x 5″ and can cut shapes, shadows and emboss a variety of surfaces, including cardstock and fabric. Shapes and letters can be cut to size in half inch increments ranging from one to four inches. The portable unit comes with a rechargeable battery and has about 60 minutes of cutting time when fully charged. Making Memories generously provided a pink Slice Elite starter kit plus paper and accessories from their two new product lines: Dilly Dally and Tie the Knot.

Products from Making Memories’ Tie the Knot and Dilly Dally lines

Since I had purchased the original model of the Slice just a month earlier, I was eager to find out if the Slice Elite really did cut 40% faster, cut materials twice as thick, and cut more precisely than its predecessor. The portability and ability to cut to size convinced me to purchase my original Slice, and I find myself using the Slice daily for crafting.


The latest model (the Slice Elite) is the same size and weight as the original Slice and is available in two new colors: pink and baby blue. The starter kit contains: the machine, power cord, glass cutting mat, 5 extra cutting blades, re-positionable adhesive, Basic Shapes design card, hex tool for adjusting the cutting blade and instruction manual. The machines work the same way but the Elite is faster and has a quieter motor and cuts more smoothly. Because I don’t own the optional “Hands Free” accessory kit, I hold the base of the Slice with both hands while it cuts.

The Slice Elite can easily cut through textured cardstock

My original Slice did a good job cutting paper and embossing cardstock. At times the cut shapes and letters were distorted or did not cut completely through the paper. This is especially true for textured cardstock. As you can see in the photo above, the old Slice didn’t cut completely through the cardstock but the Slice Elite cut through it easily.

This is the underside of the Slice Elite. The cutting blade can be swapped for embossing tips.

Either version of the Slice is easy to use. Each unit comes with a brief instruction booklet (nearly identical between both models) but I initially learned more from watching online videos. The written documentation was adequate for basic cutting, but I felt it was lacking for the more advanced tasks such as adjusting the blade and replacing the blade with embossing or drawing tips.

The Slice can cut perfectly proportioned shadows for the butterfly and snowflake above.

The Slice Elite is very easy to operate. The machine arrives partially charged but the manufacturer recommends charging it for an hour prior to its first use. Spread a thin ribbon of re-positionable adhesive on one end of the glass cutting mat and spread it coat the entire surface and let it dry (about two minutes). It has a slight odor and it will turn clear so you’ll know when it is ready. Making Memories also has a spray re-positionable adhesive which I have not tried yet. Place your media (paper, cardstock, etc) on the glass mat. Smooth it so it is firmly adhered to the mat.

Insert a design card into the slot on the rear of the unit. The power button is adjacent to the design card slot. Prior to cutting for the first time the Slice Elite requires a simple calibration process (the machine cuts a sample pattern). Then you can select a category and a shape to cut. Once you have selected a shape, adjust the size (default is two inches and most shapes range from 1-4 inches in half inch increments.) You can also toggle the image style between normal, shadow and mirror. After you have made your selections, press the select button in the center and the blade will rotate to the starting position and a small “x” will appear on the screen to show where the cutting will begin. You can pick up the Slice and place it where you prefer on the paper. When you are satisfied, press the large button on the upper right corner of the gray frame and firmly hold the base of the Slice in place while it cuts.

When cutting is done, the Slice will display a completed message on the screen and ask you to press the Menu button which will lift the cutting blade. If you do not turn off the Slice it will automatically turn off after 15 minutes of non-use. Lift the Slice unit off the glass mat and gently lift an edge of the paper and pull it off the glass. It will easily lift off the glass. To remove your diecut you can use the Slice spatula, a fingernail or a razor blade. I’ve tried them all. The Slice spatula works best on thicker mediums like cardstock but can sometimes dent the rounded edges of a diecut. Personally, I prefer a razor blade because it is so thin.

Re-positionable adhesive is spread on the glass cutting mat

The re-positionable adhesive on the glass mat can be re-used multiple times before reapplying. I can get anywhere from 5-12 (maybe more) uses before cleaning the mat, drying it and reapplying the adhesive. The adhesive is water soluble and I find it easiest to wet the mat with water and gently rub off the used adhesive into the trash.


Because embossing tips don’t come with the starter kit, I didn’t extensively test them or create projects for this review. However, I did have to contact Making Memories customer service due to the lack of documentation about embossing settings. I had a crafty friend who had never used a Slice help me perform some speed and image quality testing between both Slice machines. We embossed perfectly with the old Slice but continually tore to shreds cardstock with the Elite model, despite numerous adjustments.

A customer service representative from Making Memories assured me that my embossing tips were compatible with both models and she suggested that I decrease the Tip Height Setting by one to help prevent paper damage while embossing. The Tip Height Setting is a new adjustment on the Elite model and is the last adjustment, after Radial Home Offset. I didn’t see a reference to this setting anywhere which was disappointing. But after adjusting the Tip Height Setting I had much better results while embossing on cardstock.

Digital stamps from In A Scrap Creations

While preparing this article I cut many, many shapes and letters out of many weights of paper, cardstock, vellum, vinyl and lightweight cardboard. Because the old Slice and the Elite both come with the same “Basic Shapes” design card, my friend and I were able to cut simultaneously. These “races” did in fact verify that the new Slice Elite is faster than the older model. It is also quieter and you don’t have to hold the base while cutting quite as firmly as the older model. In side by side image comparisons, we found the cuts from the Elite to be more precise. Curved areas and open areas were in general more cleanly cut and straight edges were straighter.

From upper left: Design card, hex tool, extra blade holder, embossing tips Bottom row from left: Cutting blade (and housing), extra cutting blades, embossing tip

Here are a few of my tips for optimal Slice use: I think the Slice works better when it is plugged in versus running on the battery. I prefer a razor blade to the Slice spatula because I can lift the die cuts with less edge damage. Although I cut most media “pretty side up”, I find colored Slice vellum (discontinued product) works better cut pretty side down resulting in less white edges. The cutting tips are small and can get lost on a craft table. When I replace a cutting tip with an embossing tip I put the sharp cutting tip in the embossing tip box so it doesn’t get lost. Design cards are the same size as cards from my digital camera and can be stored in Nintendo DS game storage cases (don’t tell your kids!) The Slice has three cutting speeds and I use the low or medium setting because I find the images to be the most precise and the unit is easier to hold in place while it is in use. Lastly, with a little practice you can cut images very close to each other for maximum usage of paper and cardstock.

I can fit another image in the upper right hand corner

I am very happy with my Slice Elite and have used it during every craft session since receiving it. I find the portability and small footprint to be helpful in my craft space. I’m able to maximize use of my designer paper because I can cut anywhere on the paper. The themed design cards are small and easy to store. After waiting for several years to invest in an electronic die cutting machine, I’m very happy with the Slice Elite by Making Memories.

Digital image from Squigglefly

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Flexibility to cut designs or emboss anywhere on a page
  • Themed design cards are small and easy to store and are available in many varieties
  • Very easy to alter image size or special effects such as mirroring or shadows
  • Design cards can be used on both the original and newer Slice models

Cons:

  • Written documentation is brief, users without access to online demonstration videos are at a disadvantage
  • Maximum size for output is four inches
  • Unit tends to slip while cutting slicker surfaces such as vinyl, vellum and metallic paper
GIVEAWAY!
The great folks at Making Memories are giving away the newest member to the Slice Family, the Slice Fabrique to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:

Do you have a need for a portable electronic design cutter? What die cutting machines do you own? Do you create die cuts and emboss on one machine or do you use different machines? Are you a current Slice owner- would you upgrade to the Slice Elite?

Thanks for sharing your opinions, we love to hear what YOU think!
You have until Monday, April 18th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure

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

Scor-Tape vs. Redline adhesive

Reported by Susan Reidy

Typically, when I needed something to really stick, I reached for my redline adhesive. It did the trick, but it had some annoying habits (like the red liner sticking to my hands, my face, my cats, my kids, etc.).A few weeks ago, I was super excited to score some Scor-Tape. Now this isn’t a new product, and it’s widely available online, but I had just been too lazy to make an order.

Since I happened to have a roll of redline laying around, I thought I’d compare the two to see how they stood up in stickiness, price and convenience.

First up, when I say redline adhesive, I mean any of the super sticky double-sided adhesive that has a red backing paper. It’s sold under a few different brand names, like Terifically Tacky by ProvoCraft and Sticky Strip by Stampin’ Up. I’ve used both, and can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in the products.

Scor-Tape is distributed by Scor-Pal, the same people that brought us the wonderful scoring boards.

Both Scor-Tape and redline adhesive are double-sided, acid free, heat resistant, and are suited for embossing, glitter, microbeads, paper, foils, ribbon, metal and more.

These tapes are the serious workhorses of crafting. They are what I turn to when I’m making 3-D items, like goodie boxes, altering items, covering chipboard with fabric or paper, making pockets or envelopes, and when I want a nice clean, crisp line of glitter.

Redline adhesive is available in a variety of widths including 1/8, 1/4, 1 1/16 inches wide and 6×8 sheets. There may be more sizes out there, but those were the ones that came up most often in a Google search. Generally the rolls are five yards (15 feet) long.

Stampin’ Up’s Sticky Strip is a 10-yard roll that is 1/4 inches wide.

Scor-Tape is available in 27 yard rolls in 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 1/2, 2, and 2 1/2 inch widths, as well as 6×6 and 8.5×11 sheets.

At first glance, you might think the prices for the two are comparable. Redline is about $3.25 for a 1/4 inch roll while Scor-Tape is $5 for a same width roll. But, the redline roll is only five yards, meaning cost per yard is 65 cents (or 69 cents per yard from Stampin’ Up). In comparison, the Scor-Tape roll is 27 yards, for a cost of 18 cents per yard. Big difference, especially if you’re using a lot of tape.

Here you can see the difference in how much tape is on a fresh roll of each. Scor-Tape is the white roll on the left.

Yea for cheaper prices and more tape on the roll (which means less trips to the store, or fewer online orders).For my comparison, I used a 1/4-inch wide roll of each.


First thing I noticed when adhering a piece of tape to my sample sheet was how easy it was to trim off a piece of Scor-Tape. In fact, there was no trimming involved; I could TEAR it.


Oh my word, this made me happier than tape should ever make a person. But I’ve had an ongoing struggle with cutting redline adhesive. Anybody else find themselves juggling a project, a roll of tape and a pair of scissors?
Scor-Tape is backed with paper, hence why you can tear it. Redline is backed with a plastic, film-like substance. There’s no tearing that stuff.

Next little thing that made me ridiculously happy–the Scor-Tape backing didn’t stick to me; I could get it straight into the garbage can without looking like a gesticulating fool. Thanks to good old static cling, the backing from redline adhesive is like a second skin.

I also found it was slightly easier to remove the backing from the Scor-Tape, once I had the tape in place, although it had its moments of frustration.
But how about performance, you know, does it stick? First up, I tried ribbon and embossing powder. Once I’d burnished the ribbon down, there was no moving it (at least not without damage to my paper and ribbon) with both the Scor-Tape and redline adhesive.
The embossing had some slightly difference results. I found that Scor-Tape had a smoother finish the more I heated it. No matter how I heated the redline adhesive, it never really lost the bumpy texture.
In the close-up below, you can see the difference better. I did hold the heat gun purposefully on the bottom section of both for about 15 seconds, seeing if I could damage the tape. My paper scorched, but neither tape melted or lost its shape.

I did notice when I picked up the paper, that both lines of tape cracked.

I then tried some gold leafing and glitter. Both tapes grabbed on well. I love using glitter with these tapes — it sticks really well and makes for a nice clean line of glitter.

One of may favorite uses for Scor-Tape is constructing fun 3-D items. Here I made a quick 2x2x2 little favor box. They’re so simple–start with a 6-inch square of cardstock; score at 2 and 4 inches.

Cut four slits, two on each side, up to your score mark.

Add Scor-Tape to the flaps like so:

Adhere the sides of your favor box. So cute and small.

Use Scor-Tape to add a handle, and add some decorations. You’re done! And with Scor-Tape, there’s no worry your favor boxes will come undone in the middle of your dinner party/birthday/wedding.

Next up, I made a card, putting in to use some fun glitter strips made with Scor-Tape. One think I learned while making this card — do your brightest colors of glitter first. I had some red seep into my yellow. But no worries, I layered another strip of Scor-Tape over the first yellow/red-glittered one, and added more yellow glitter. I was doubtful it would stick over the glitter, but it did great.

I also love my Scor-Tape for altering items. I had this mini MDF board clipboard in my stash. I thought it would be perfect to hold my menu planner in my kitchen, but it needed to be beautified.

When I use Scor-Tape to cover something with paper or fabric, I always make sure to put the tape right on the edges, so the paper or fabric won’t lift up. Here’s my clipboard with Scor-Tape in place.

And here’s my finished project, ready for this week’s menu.

Overall, I didn’t notice too much difference in the adhering properties of Scor-Tape and redline. The redline did have a bumpier texture when embossing powder was added and heated. But if that’s the look you want, great. I also only used one layer of powder, so it may smooth out with more layers.

It was really the little things like the ability to tear it and no backing static cling, not to mention value, that for me puts Scor-Tape at the top of the list.The only downside is that it’s harder for me to find Scor-Tape in my area; redline is readily available in the Big Box craft stores. But, Scor-Tape is easily found online through Scor-Pal and also Amazon.com.

Pros:

  • Both tapes are super sticky, double-sided and acid free.
  • Both can be used on a variety of surfaces.
  • Scor-Tape comes in more widths, a bigger roll and is cheaper.
  • Scor-Tape can be torn and the backing paper doesn’t stick to your hands.

Cons:

  • Scor-Tape can be tricky to find in a brick and mortar store, but it is readily available online.
  • Redline is more expensive, and comes in smaller rolls.
  • Redline cannot be torn, and thanks to static cling, the backing paper sticks to everything.

Which super-sticky double-sided adhesive do you prefer? Leave a comment and let us know!

CHA Scrapbooking: SMASH by EK Success

Reported by Sarah Moore, Founding Editor

It’s time to share something that we’re all really excited about! SMASH is an exciting new product line from EK Success. We’re so excited about it that we’re sure to prattle on and on, so we’ll let their catchy introduction video do the talking.

How adorable was that? Now on to even more eye candy. Here is the Mod SMASHfolio. We love how the SMASHstick fits right into the side of the book for easy access.

There are 4 different styles of SMASHfolio: Mod, Pretty, Doodle and Retro and these are just a small sampling of the awesome pages throughout them.
They had some great samples of finished SMASHfolios in the booth, and it was really fun to see them in action!
Here are some of the bits & bobs from what is sure to be an awesome product line. The SMASHpad is ideal for carrying around wherever you go so that you can jot down funny conversation, lists, songs you want to download and anything else you might want to SMASH into your book so that they stick with you.
The date SMASHstamp looked like a really big hit. With the fun phrases in addition to a date stamp you can’t go wrong.
The SMASHmarks will help you keep your place in your SMASHfolio or mark something you want to remember to show a friend.
Another product we were all oohing and aahing over is the SMASHtape, a designer washi tape that provides you with another neat way to add things to your SMASHfolio.
These metal SMASHclips are a great combo product; a way to mark your place in, and attach a memory to, your SMASHfolio. I mean, c’mon, that mustache one? Awesome!
Plus, there are flagged SMASHclips, SMASHpockets, SMASHtabs, SMASHstickies and SMASHbands to hold your SMASHfolio closed when it’s filled to bursting with all of your special “moments and musings that stick.”
We have a million possibilities running through our heads, but we’d love to hear what you would SMASH into your SMASHfolio!
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