Top

Tag Archives | Paper Trimmers

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: The Ultimate Tool by Crafter’s Companion

Reported by: Rachel Johnson
When a product bills itself as “The Ultimate Tool,” it grabs my attention! I was very curious to try out the many different paper crafting functions of the Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool, including scoring, trimming, envelope making, card making, box making, and embossing. However, when I received the purple plastic “suitcase” that is the Ultimate Crafter’s Companion, I was overwhelmed by all of the grooves, compartments and tools. Thank goodness it came with a full-color instructional booklet and DVD!
In addition to the booklet and DVD, the Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool comes with the carrying case, which is also the card and envelope scoring surface, an inner plastic “page” used for box folding and embossing, an inner plastic “page” used for shape embossing, two scoring and folding styluses, a cutting blade, a paper trimming ruler and three plastic pins used for the bow making function. All of the accessories are made from the same thick, sturdy, purple plastic and can be stored within the carrying case.
The instructional booklet taught me how to quickly create folded cards and envelopes, but without it I am not sure if I would have been able to figure out all of the functions and folds. There is basically no measuring involved for creating bifold and trifold cards if you start with a standard size sheet of paper or card stock. You simply line your card stock up to the top edge of the Ultimate Tool and then choose a scoring line depending on what size card you intend to create. It is very easy once you have folded a few and figured out the different lines!
Creating envelopes is nearly as simple as folding cards. I made envelopes of all different sizes using the envelope scoring lines on the Ultimate Tool and the handy chart in the booklet, which tells you how large your starting paper sheet needs to be for each envelope size. All of the envelopes and liners seen in the photo above were created within a matter of minutes once I figured out the simple process (I especially like the smallest size envelope because it is the perfect size for an Artist Trading Card and I enjoy making and trading those). Even though I have store-bought and handcrafted envelope templates that I have used in the past to make my own envelopes, I much prefer using the Ultimate Tool. It is a much quicker process with almost no measuring or intricate cutting. I think that the envelope function alone is reason enough to love the Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool… but it does much more!
Before attempting one of the more complicated projects on the instructional DVD, I tried embossing a few raised patterns on a few envelopes and cards. You have to be careful not to press too hard and rip the paper and you may have to make quite a few passes, but other than that, embossing is incredibly simple and produces a very pretty and unique result.
I also tried out the bow making function. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the little pegs that you can use to make bows on the Ultimate Tool. I mean, how hard is it to tie a little bow, right? Well, I was really surprised by how easily you can make PERFECT bows using those pegs and the technique described in the booklet. I sound like I am over-hyping it, but really the bows are so simple it almost seems like magic… and I didn’t even think I needed a new bow-making technique!
After trying out all of the simple Crafter’s Companion functions, I decided to try out one of the more complex projects on the DVD. I chose the “Pop-Up Card with Box.” It is a house-shaped box with a card that springs out when opened. Following along with the tutorial on the DVD was fun and easy (although, I did watch the tutorial twice just to make sure I knew what to do). The host walked me through how to make the inner pop-up card, then the box base and box top.
Constructing the elements was the easiest part of the project — decorating the card and box took a bit longer!
The end result is a really fun and uncommon birthday card – and this was just my first try! I am eager to make more of these three-dimensional cards. I really like how the Ultimate Tool has different scoring lines for the box top and the box bottom. It ensures that the top will always slip easily on the box. I also really loved the simple “magic ruler” technique that is taught on the DVD. It allows you create perfectly sized boxes without measuring. It is a time-saver!

The Ultimate Tool DVD is very helpful. It not only has twelve very original and complex project tutorials, but it also has tutorials for all of the more simple functions (card and envelope folding, bow making, etc.), as well as a great “Top Ten Tips” section with helpful info. I definitely would not be able to get the full use out of the Ultimate Tool without the DVD. In fact, there are many more projects I want to try, including pop-up cards, accordion books and envelope boxes.
The Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool has so many uses, I feel that I have barely scratched the surface. I am really impressed that so many different functions could be incorporated into one tool — it is a feat of engineering! Plus, there are additional plastic “pages” that you can purchase to augment its selection of embossing shapes. You can learn more about the products at CraftersCompanion.com.
Pros:
  • Numerous and extremely versatile paper crafting functions: folding, scoring, cutting, embossing, etc.
  • Reduces the amount of measuring required to make cards, boxes, and envelopes.
  • The booklet and DVD teach ingenious techniques for making very quick envelopes, bows, and boxes.
  • Everything you need for paper crafting can be stored and transported in the sturdy Crafter’s Companion carrying case.
Cons:
  • Learning curve – it takes some time to get comfortable with all of the different functions.
  • I prefer to use my table top paper cutter over the trimming ruler and cutting blade included with the Crafter’s Companion.
  • You need a fairly large surface on which to use the Crafter’s Companion. It is nearly two feet wide when fully open!
Have you ever used an all-in-one tool like the Crafter’s Companion Ultimate tool before? Do you like the idea of having all of your paper crafting tools in one portable box?

GIVEAWAY!
We’re giving away one Ultimate Tool to one of our readers… just leave a comment on any Crafter’s Companion Ultimate Tool (there will be 2 today) and tell us what you’d use it for. 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!

Vendor Spotlight: Clevercut 5-in-1 Paper Trimmer and GIVEAWAY (2 of 2)

Reported by Cassandra Darwin

I jumped at the chance to review this all in one paper trimmer from Crafter’s Companion, because every paper crafter is always looking for the holy grail of paper trimmers.

The Clevercut 5-in-1 Paper Trimmer arrived at my doorstep in a larger than expected box, and, sure enough, it is bigger than all of my other paper trimmers. When sitting on my desktop, it measures 18.5″ long, 9″ wide, and 3.5″ tall… I still haven’t figured out where I will be storing this beast!

Clevercut sitting on top of my green desktop cutting mat.

One of the things that excited me most about this paper trimmer is that it has 4 different blades in one cartridge, so you don’t have to switch them in and out as you’re working on different projects. Here is a run down on the Clevercut features:

  • All in one paper trimmer able to accommodate paper up to 12×12 inches
  • 4 cutting styles in one blade cartridge: standard straight blade, skip (for tear-sway sections or a stitched look), wave (like a scallop cut), and a score “cut” for folds
  • Guide lines to cut paper at 15, 30, and 45 degree angles
  • Built in corner rounder with waste collector
  • Extra cutting mat included

I started out by reading the one-sheet manual that was included with the Clevercut.

It was easy to learn how to operate the trimmer blade and switch cutting styles. To switch cutting styles you simply rotate the orange dial clockwise.

Something that was missing from the instructions however, was a note about where the blade will actually cut in relation to the guide rail. I tried to figure out where the cut would be with the straight blade and with a number of different papers and cardstocks, getting mixed results. I was disappointed after following the instructions and only making cuts from top to bottom – I got an uneven cut that was wider and the top and about 3mm more narrow at the bottom. But after using the rotary trimmer the opposite way – cutting from bottom to top – I got much more consistent results with a cut line almost flush with the guide rail.

After I got a better handle on the straight cuts I decided to test out the multi-sheet capacity. According to the manual, the maximum capacity for a straight cut is 5 sheets, 3 sheets for the other 3 cutting blades, and 3 sheets for the corner rounder. However I had a hard time cutting through more than one sheet of cardstock and two sheets of thin paper. The problem I ran into was if a small section didn’t get completely cut you couldn’t go over it again because the blade may cut in a slightly different position.

Trying to go over a cut again usually gave me this type of result.

I went on to test the wavy and skip cuts as well as the scoring blade. Overall I really liked “extras” on the paper trimmer. They offer something that none of my other paper trimmers do, because all I had to do was turn the dial to switch between blades. As long as I was using the rotary from bottom to top I got nice, even cuts for all three of these blades.

From left to right: wave, skip, and score blades were used.

And a birthday card made using the wave, score, and straight blades.

One of the other exciting aspects of this paper trimmer is the built-in corner rounder. I find myself rounding about half of the corners on my projects so it was a genius idea to build one into a paper trimmer. I loved that it was right there, ready to use without getting out another tool. The built-in waste collector for the corner rounder was very easy to operate. I will note that the round is pretty minimal in comparison to most typical corner rounders, so if you’re looking for something dramatic you’ll need another tool.

Close-up view of the rounded corners in relation to inches/centimeters.

Pros:

  • Very little pressure needed to cut one sheet of paper or cardstock
  • Loved the guide lines to be able to cut at 15, 30, and 45 degree angles – none of my other paper trimmers offer that
  • Switch cutting styles with a quick turn of the dial
  • Extra cutting mat/strip included

Cons:

  • Couldn’t always get a straight cut line when using the rotary to cut from top to bottom – sometimes off by as much as 3mm
  • Can’t go over a piece twice because the cut is sometimes in different places
  • If you need to replace one of the blades then you have to replace all of them since they are all housed in one cartridge
  • Website didn’t offer any tips, tricks, or advice for this particular product

The Clevercut Paper Trimmer retails for $49.95 and the replacement blade cartridge retails for $14.95.

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 you’d use it for. 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!

Vendor Spotlight: Westcott Multi-Purpose Trimmers

Reported by Susan Reidy

In the scrapbooking/papercrafting tool arsenal, probably the most used (besides adhesive) is the paper trimmer. For a crafter, finding the ideal trimmer is like finding the Holy Grail.

My tried and true trimmer was starting to cut wonky, so I was more than willing to try out three of Westcott’s multi-purpose trimmers. I affectionately call them Papa Bear (12 in. trimmer), Mama Bear (9 in. trimmer) and Baby Bear (9 in. trimmer that fits in a 3-ring binder).


All three are a lovely shade of aqua blue and are titanium bonded, which Westcott says adds to the performance of its cutting products. Compared to stainless steel, Westcott says titanium is three times harder, stays sharper longer and resists adhesives better.

Let’s start with Papa Bear (12 in.). First off, I like the size and sturdiness of the trimmer. It has a fold out ruler that extends all the way to 17 inches. The ruler locks in place when folded in so you don’t have to worry that it will swing out at an inconvenient time (say like in your bag on the way to a crop).

I also like that the swing out ruler is equally sturdy and stayed straight. The ruler on my previous trimmer would bend too far back, sometimes leading to uneven cuts and measuring.

Speaking of measuring, you can get rather detailed with the Westcott trimmer. Both the cutting arm and swing out ruler are marked in 1/16th increments. The surface of the trimmer is marked with a 1/2 in. grid.

One minor annoyance — the promo material inside the package was taped to the surface of the trimmer. When I lifted it off, some of the tape residue stayed behind. A quick spray of glass cleaner took care of it.

But, it’s a trimmer you say, so how does it cut?

Well, I ran into some difficulty there. I found the blade does not glide smoothly down the track. After a few cuts, I noticed that where there hadn’t been paper while trimming, the blade had actually cut the plastic of the bottom track.

This happened repeatedly, so I have several cuts, and even a few slivers of plastic, out of the track. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have impacted the trimmer’s ability to cut a straight line. However, I do believe it is part of the reason the blade is a little hesitant going down the track.

I tried the trimmer on several different weights and brands of cardstock including Georgia Pacific, Stampin Up! and Papertrey Ink. It does equally well with all three, making a clean, straight cut.


I like that it cuts accurately, meaning that it cuts where it is supposed to cut. Sounds basic, I know, but I have had other trimmers that cut just a tiny bit left or right of where it looked like it was going to cut. I think it helps that the cutting blade is on the far edge of the cutting arm instead of running down the middle.

Accuracy is especially important for trimming photos. I have piles of school/professional photos that have to be cut apart. The cutting arm holds the slick paper firmly so the blade cuts exactly where I want it to.


The Papa Bear trimmer made it easy to measure and cut these 2.5 in. x 3.5 in. elements and photos for the page above from my Week-in-the-Life scrapbook.


Let’s move onto Mama Bear. It’s appropriate I designated this as the female trimmer, since I think it works best of all. The cutting surface is 9 in. long with a swing out ruler (which also locks in place) that extends to 12 in. Measurements are also in 1/16th increments.

Unlike Papa, the blade glides very smoothly and doesn’t take cuts out of the bottom track. She can slice her way quite nicely through the various types of cardstock and photo paper, just like Papa. Although the cutting arm is smaller, it still holds paper in place so my cuts are accurate.

However, it can’t handle 12 in. x 12 in. paper, a standard scrapbooking size, nor is she big enough to cut an 8.5 in. x 11 in. sheet of paper lengthwise.

Both Mama and Papa come with a scoring blade, which is conveniently labeled as such. It’s also the same shade of blue as the rest of the trimmer, while the cutting blade is green, for instant identification.

Scoring on both sized trimmers works well — both make deep enough indentations for a good fold for card making without cutting through the cardstock. Here’s a card I made, utilizing both the Mama and Papa trimmers.

I found there is enough room to keep the scoring and cutting blades on the trimmers at the same time. However, it is easy to remove the blades and snap them back on, if you’re afraid you’ll cut when you want to score and vice versa.

After a few cuts, I did notice that both Papa and Mama created a tiny lip of paper at the cut line on the back side of the paper (the side that touches the trimmer surface). It’s not big enough to cause me any issues, but it is there.

Last but not least is Baby Bear. This little guy measures 9 in. long and has no swing out ruler. It does have holes so that it can be added to a 3-ring binder for maximum portability.

Baby comes with two cutting blades (bonus!) The cutting arm only lifts about a quarter of the way, which seems odd, but doesn’t make it any more difficult to use. You wouldn’t want to do any significant, detailed measuring on this one because the ruler on the cutting arm is only marked in 1/4 in. increments.

I like that it is big enough to handle an 8.5 in. x 11 in. piece of paper width-wise, which means it can still cut apart those aforementioned piles of professional photos. It also does a nice job cutting some 4 in. x 6 in. photos into wallets.

Don’t let its compact size fool you — this little guy cuts smoothly and is just as accurate as his parents. I like the small size so I can keep it handy in my junk drawer (we all have one, right?) for cutting photos and other quick household stuff (coupons, anyone?).

Overall, I like the Westcott trimmers. In the three plus weeks I used them, the blades didn’t dull, cutting just the same as they did fresh out of the package.

For crafting purposes, I find myself reaching more often for the Mama Bear (9 in.) trimmer. It is big enough to suit my purposes, can handle whatever cardstock I throw at it and cuts smoothly.

Pros:

  • Accurate cutting; sharp blade that lasts
  • Cuts through several weights of cardstock, photo paper and patterned paper.
  • Smooth cutting on the two 9 in. trimmers.
  • Sturdy swing out ruler that locks in place when not in use.
  • Scoring blade included with the 12 in. and 9 in. Two cutting blades with the 9 in., 3-ring binder option.

Cons:

  • The 12 in. trimmer’s blade did not move smoothly and actually cut the blade track.
  • The 9 in. trimmer isn’t large enough to cut an 8.5 in. x 11 in. sheet of paper lengthwise.
  • All trimmers left a tiny lip of paper at the cut on the backside of the paper (the side of paper that touches the trimmer surface).
Westcott’s multi-purpose trimmers are available at major retailers such as Costco and Target.

GIVEAWAY!
Westcott is giving away a prize pack filled with $150 in products to two lucky readers.

To Enter
Leave a comment on this post or any Vendor Spotlight: Wescott and answer one or all of these questions…

What trimmer are you currently using? What do you love or hate about it?

You have until Sunday, May 16th 6pm CST to enter. One entry per person, please.

Disclosure

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