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Review | Fiskars 8″ Amplify Mixed Media Scissors

Reported by Patti Sokol

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

Like their bigger sibling the 10″ Amplify Mixed Media Scissors that Deena looked at yesterday, the idea behind the new Fiskars 8″ Amplify Mixed Media scissors is that they are premium shears designed for cutting extra-thick mixed-media materials.

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Fiskars’ brand name is synonymous with quality and these scissors live up to that and more.  Sculpted thumb and forefinger loops fit the shape and the natural movement of the hand and allow you to cut through many types of media without your hand tiring.  The patented technology, which causes the blades to sense separation,  and then transfer the energy to a torsion bar, which adjusts the blade and allows it to shift to its optimal cutting angle is quite ingenious.  All of this essentially means that you can pick up any kind of mixed media item that you can envision and use these incredible scissors to cut it into the shape required for your project.

The scissors come with a lifetime guarantee which is fantastic reassurance.  The protective sheath that comes with the scissors fit them perfectly and the button that is designed on the side of the scissors prevents the scissors from slipping out.

I put the scissors through my own mixed media test.  I tried to think of something quite tough and hard to cut through that I would use in making my everyday mixed media collages and then tried to make it very challenging.  Here is what I came up with:

First, how well can they cut through an entire magazine?

This is an art magazine with 80 pages and a front and back cover. And here is how the scissors performed:

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They cut through it effortlessly!

And next up is a piece of cardboard:

Once again, these scissors lived up to their reputation with a nice clean cut:

I can honestly say that these scissors are worth every penny for my crafting needs.  And with the lifetime warranty and included sheath to protect the blades, it’s even harder to say no. For crafting and mixed media enthusiasts hoping to make their next project their best, nothing on the market outperforms Amplify Mixed Media Shears.

Fiskars 8″ Amplify Mixed Media Shears have an MSRP of $29.99, but are currently available on Amazon.com for only $10.99.

Review | Xyron Mini Sticker Maker

Reported by Chel Micheline

Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay this site a commission when a purchase is made after a click.

I’m a big fan of Xyron products – my husband bought me the Xyron 510 (now known as the 5″ Creative Station) about eight years ago as a surprise gift for Christmas and I’ve pretty much worn it out. I use it to make stickers out of everything– from die cuts to vintage postage stamps to mailing labels.

One caveat to the 5″ machine is that if you are just making a few smaller stickers, you waste a whole lot of adhesive in the process.

That’s where the smaller Xyron sticker makers come in. The one I used for this project is the blue Mini Sticker Maker, which retails for $4.99.

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The package includes just one thing: an “X” shaped adhesive dispenser that you feed your paper shapes into.

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As far as ease of use, the Mini Sticker Maker is completely simple and intuitive. Just choose an item you’d like to make into a sticker, feed it face-side-up into the top of the Xyron machine, and pull on the paper adhesive strip on the side of the machine, and the sticker is made for you. The machine “pulls” the soon-to-be sticker inside of it and sandwiches it in between an adhesive strip and a clear cellophane top layers. Simply tear off the completed sticker, peel off the cellophane, and voila!, instant sticker.

First things first – let’s talk about the size. While it’s lovely to have a smaller Xyron to make smaller stickers with, the one issue with the “Mini Sticker Maker” is that it’s almost a bit *too* small. Most punch-outs, die-cut shapes, and letters are about 1″ wide/long at the smallest, and the adhesive tape in the Mini Sticker maker is only 1″ wide.

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However, sequins, enamels dots, and smaller letters/die cuts are all  very trendy at the moment, and this Mini Sticker Maker is perfect for those applications. Pocket scrapbooking is not going away anytime soon, and new, smaller embellishments specifically designed for that style of memory keeping are being released constantly. The Xyron Mini Sticker Maker allows you to turn a handful of sequins, dots, or tiny die cuts into ready-to-apply stickers. (If you have slightly larger items, the Xyron 250 or the new 3″ Disposable Sticker Maker by Xyron might be more your style.)

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I decided to go ahead and make some tiny embellishments for a pocket page I am working on for my scrapbook. I grabbed a punch that I love, but that doesn’t get much use because of it’s small size – the Martha Stewart 3-in-1 Butterfly punch- and see how the Xyron did with that. I also grabbed a pad of 6×6 patterned paper (MME Indie Chic in Citron), which is the perfect size for punching things out of.

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After punching out a bunch of tiny butterflies, I fed them into the top of the Xyron.

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And then I gently pulled on the adhesive tape at the bottom of the machine to reveal the sticker.

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I tore off the paper with the attached cutting strip, and peeled away the cellophane coating, and the sticker was ready to go.

Within literally seconds, I created a bunch of perfect tiny embellishments for my Project Life-sized projects, and they were all ready to be attached to the page without the muss and fuss of liquid adhesives. Plus, the “dry adhesive” nature of the Xyron means that once the sticker is applied to the page it doesn’t shift, which makes it perfect for being slid instantly into a snug page protector.

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All in all, I love this little gadget and I know it will get a ton of use. It’s easy to use, and it allows me to make use of some of the supplies I love to purchase but rarely get to use because of the “fuss factor”. The Xyron Mini Sticker Maker makes it easy to create custom stickers from any flat item up to 1″ wide (and it’s also good for those Thickers that have lost their stickiness – simply feed the letter into the machine and you have a fresh, sticky letter that will not fall off your page!)

Pros:
– very easy to use
– perfect for adhering smaller embellishments
– enables you to create custom embellishments for smaller size projects with supplies you already have on hand (scraps of paper, punches, etc.)

Cons:
– adhesive is non-refillable
– the machine does not come apart (some Xyron uses prefer to use the adhesive rolls *without* the machine because you can save on adhesive that way, but this machine comes pre-loaded and there’s no way to get the adhesive tape out of it.)
– very, very small.

The Xyron Mini Sticker Maker retails for $4.99 at major crafts retailers.

Review | Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paint

Reported by Patti Sokol

Disclosure: This site participates in the Amazon.com affiliate program. Some links in this article may be affiliate links that pay this site a commission when a purchase is made after a click.

I am a big fan of Ranger’s products and use a lot of different items from their extensive product line in my art journals. I also follow a number of crafting blogs and have seen many of my favorite artists demonstrating the effects and looks that they can get with this new line of paints. So, I am excited to post my review of the Tim Holtz Distress Paint that was new earlier this year, and how I think it can best be used.

The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Paints are available in 30 of the Distress palette colors, plus 3 metallics. For this review, I worked with a sample in Forest Moss.

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First: I love the packaging! Anything that makes it simple and fast to get right in and get messy (or in this case not so messy) is a big plus in my book. According to Ranger’s website: “Distress Paints have a convenient dabber system for easy and mess-free application.” After you remove the outside protective plastic covering and then the big plastic cap on the top you have to slightly depress the sponge dabber on the top until you hear it click. This allows the valve to open up and the paint to flow from the bottom and into the sponge top. You need to shake the bottle up and you will hear a metal ball inside the container that helps to keep the paint mixed and helps it from drying out. The paint is a fluid matte finish acrylic and is water based so that means it washes up with soap and water and should not stain your hands or clothing.

Second: The sponge dabber top means that it is perfect for painting with stencils, on stamps, and directly onto your project, all without the need for a paint brush. This is another big advantage of these Distress Paints – fewer items to clean up after you craft!

A very important fact to know when using Distress paint is that the blending ability you are used to with Distress products lasts only until the paint dries. Once the paint is dry the results you’ve created are permanent. It seals everything underneath, but you can add layers over it. I feel that this is an advantage as it will not interfere with additional layers compared, for example, to Distress stains which will continue to react and mix with further layers of color that you add to them. So I consider this a third advantage. But you must work a bit quicker (it dries in 3-5 minutes) with this to get the effect you want and have a bit of a plan or you might feel otherwise.

The paint also acts as a resist when using it with Ranger’s Distress Inks or Stains. For example: I use the paint and dab it onto a stamp and then apply the stamp to my project. I allow the paint to dry completely. I get a very detailed clean look as if I used ink. I even have the option of using it with embossing powder when wet. I dry it with a heat gun or allow it to dry itself which should take 3-5 minutes. Once it is dry I can go back over with my distress stain or ink and the two mediums will not interact at all. In fact, the paint will resist the ink or stain to create a beautiful and layered effect.

Stamped Image with Distress Paint

If I want a watery or mixed color background, I shake the bottle up, turn it over, dab as much as I want out to cover the area and then use either a spray bottle with water or a paintbrush filled with water to flick as much or as little water as I want. I can allow the paint to flow, mix with another color, or use a paper towel to dab in certain areas and or a dry stamp to pick up paint with a ghost image or an object to get cool effects.

Any fluid acrylic paint will give you the same effect, but the easy-to-use dispenser and the coordinating Distress product line set Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress paint apart.

Pros:

* Convenient packaging

* Easy to use

* Widely available

* Coordinates with other Distress products

Cons:

* Price

The MSRP of Ranger’s Tim Holtz Distress Paint is $4.99/bottle. It is widely available from local and online craft stores, such as Simon Says Stamp, Scrapbook.com, and Amazon.com.