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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!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: We R Memory Keepers Heart Attack (1 of 2)

Reported by Morgan Novak

We R Memory Keepers really does make some of the best scrapbooking and cardmaking tools out there, so I was excited to get my hands on this little guy; the Heart Attack Distressing Tool. I am not a super heavy distresser, but I do like to dabble when distressing fits the feel of a project. For this review though, I vowed to try a more heavy handed approach on my projects, and I was excited to play!


The Heart Attack comes with the Heart Attack tool itself, along with 3 adhesive-backed sandpaper sheets. To get yourself ready to go, you simply pull the back off one of the sandpaper sheets, apply it directly to the Heart Attack tool, and you’re good to go!

The Heart Attack also has a built in retractable blade for scraping your paper. To expose the blade you just push a little button up and it stays out. When you are all done, you just flip the button back down and you don’t have to worry about having a loose blade kicking around in your craft space.

For my first project I wanted to try out some plain ol’ sanding on a piece of embossed paper with a coordinating paper core. I slipped my finger into the little ring on the back of the tool and found that I really liked how well the size and shape of the Heart Attack fit into my hand. I also loved that you can switch the direction you are holding the tool, so that the bottom point of the heart is at the top allowing for a smaller section of sandpaper if you are working in smaller areas. I sanded away at my paper and was able to quickly sand the embossed portions of the paper down to the core very evenly while only applying a small amount of pressure!

I was so impressed with how easy it was to get a completely even level of sanding on a card front sized piece of paper, that I decided to try again with a larger, 12×12″, piece of embossed paper. I found that I was just as pleased with the result on the larger piece!

After I was done sanding the embossed pattern down, I thought that it would be fun to try out the scraping blade next. I pushed the button up, exposed the blade and scraped it along all 4 sides of my paper. I have to admit, I was pretty timid at first, but once I saw how nicely the blade was scraping the paper, and how easy it was to control the amount of distressing, I got a little heavier handed and scraped evenly again and again until I reached my desired look.

Next, I stashed the blade back away using the button, and went back to the sandpaper. This time I used it to lightly distress the edges of the We R Memory Keepers cardstock that I wanted to use as my layout base. This was my first time using WRMK cardstock, and I really liked the texture! The edges sanded very nicely!

Here you can see all 3 sanding and scraping levels that I used; flat sanding on an embossed cardstock, scraping the edges of the same cardstock using the blade, and lightly distressing the edges of the WRMK cardstock using the sandpaper.

I liked using the blade portion of the tool to scrape the edges of paper and then rolling them up a little, so I decided to also use the same technique on the edges of my patterned paper, which is all from the cute “Family Keepsake” collection!
All in all, I really liked how the Heart Attack tool worked for my uses. I also like that it comes with re-fill pieces of the adhesive backed sandpaper so that, although I barely noticed any wear on the sandpaper after my projects were finished, I don’t have to be worried about wearing through them and can happily distress away!
Pros:
  • Gives you great control over what area you are distressing and how heavy handed you want to be.
  • Very easy to maintain even pressure with not a lot of effort.
  • The blade housing seems to be very tight, as to not allow paper scraps in to gum up the works.
  • At $5.99 MSRP, I think it’s well worth it.

Cons:
  • The blade can get caught up in lighter-weight papers if you don’t slow down your distressing pace.
  • Adhering pieces of paper after sanding can be a little tough because of the paper “dust,” but that’s a general hazard of distressing, not the Heart Attack’s fault.

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at We R Memory Keepers are giving away a Heart Attack Tool and the Fiesta paper collection and Family Keepsake paper collection to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the  comment section of this blog on either of the articles about the Heart Attack Tool to be entered:

How much distressing do you like to use on your paper crafts projects? Do you think you would benefit from the easy control and maneuverability of the Heart Attack? Are you using it already and loving it?

You have until Friday, April 15th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Scor-Tape vs. Redline adhesive

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!