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Clip It Up by Simply Renee

Reported by Stephanie Wheeler

After hearing rave reviews from my friends, and reading tales of organized embellishments across the world, I thought I’d take the plunge and buy a Clip It Up, what I think is one of the most innovative and practical ways to store scrapbooking and crafting supplies.


The Clip It Up is a vertical organization unit made up of one central column with an attached rotating metal ring. It comes in three sizes: a 18.5″ base unit, a 9.5″ upper tier and a 6″ mini tier (each sold separately). Each unit comes with a set of clips that slide on to the metal ring, allowing you to clip up your supplies. This makes them easily accessible as well as visible, allowing you to organize and flip through your stash of embellishments such as stickers, die cuts, ribbon, rub-ons and even brads and eyelets.

When ordering my Clip It Up, I decided that more space is always better, so I opted to order the base unit and the upper tier, giving me room for small embellishments on top and taller items like stickers on the bottom. The assembly was a snap. It probably took me a total of five minutes to get mine put together. Everything simply screwed together, no tools were necessary.

After a day of organizing and purging, my pile of supplies went from this:


to this:


making my scrap room much less insane.

For such a simple object, the Clip It Up provides a lot of practical organization in one spot. The fact that it’s vertical makes it perfect for storing on the floor, on a table or on a shelf. The rotation of the metal ring makes it really convenient as well, eliminating the need to shove supplies in a box where some might never again see the light of day. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s ready to get those embellishments out of a box and into view where they will be used and appreciated.

Although I would consider the Clip It Up to be one of my most favorite organization tools, it does have its drawbacks. For the price of $65+ for only one unit, it is disappointingly made of plastic. I would much rather have a unit made of metal that I know will last for years. It is also only available in single units, making it costly to expand.

Pros:

  • Super easy assembly, consists of very few parts
  • Base unit comes with 80 clips and 25 tabs and labels for organizing
  • Once assembled, makes embellishments easily viewable and accessible
  • Holds lots and lots of product

Cons:

  • Made of hard plastic, not metal
  • Only holds a 90-day warranty
  • Price is high for a single unit
  • Each tier is sold separately
  • Tends to lean if not organized properly

Where to Buy:

Rating: 8 out of 10

The Clip It Up retails at $65 for the base unit, $38 for the upper tier add on, $55 for the mini tier and extra supplies like clips and zipper bags vary from $4-13.

So tell me what you think! Do you own a Clip It Up? Do you love it? Hate it? Has it changed your life?

Crop-a-dile by We R Memory Keepers

Reported by Erika Martin

I’m always looking for new ways to create altered art or 3-D projects, but sometimes it’s hard to find a tool that will punch through odd materials (think: book covers or CDs). I had looked into purchasing a Japanese screw punch, but the cost had always deterred me. When the Crop-a-dile came on the market, I knew I had found just what I needed.Not only does the Crop-a-dile punch through some of the thickest crafting materials, but it also doubles as a silent eyelet and snap punch and setter. If you’re one of those crafters that likes to stay up late at night (when you get your best crafting mojo), but you don’t want to wake the rest of the house with those noisy hammer/punch/setter tools, the Crop-a-dile is a great alternative and much easier to use than the passe hammer/mat sets that first debuted on the market when eyelets were all the rage.

Depending on where you look, you can find new Crop-a-diles anywhere from $14 to $30. It’s a hefty tool to hold in your hand, but the weight of it is indicative of its sturdy construction. A look over the mechanisms of this tool and you know you have a durable tool that will last a good, long crafting liftetime.

The Crop-a-dile has dual purposes – to punch holes and to set eyelets/snaps.

To use the tool to punch holes, you have your choice between a 1/8 inch and a 3/16 inch hole. You can also set the little slide rulers on each of the punches as a guide for up to 1 inch in depth – meaning, your punch can go up to 1 inch in on the surface you’re punching. Simply slide the punch part of the tool over your surface and squeeze the handles together. You’ll be amazed at how effortless the punching process is. The sharp pointed tip of the punch makes it go through the surface like a hot knife through butter.

The eyelet/snap setter part of the tool works for both mini and regular size eyelets/snaps. Just as the punch part of the tool is clearly labled with size and measurements, the setter is also clearly labled as to where to put the base of the eyelet/snap and where there top of the eyelet/snap should be placed. The setter and base both swivel out easily by pulling on them to move them around as you choose which size you’d like to use. As mentioned before, using this setter is virtulally noise-free and just as effortless as punching the hole. If you’ve been holding off on using snaps and eyelets because of the noise and hassle of all the different tools, the Crop-a-dile eliminates those problems. You don’t need a mat or a hammer….the Crop-a-dile will do the punching and the setting for you, with the ease of just one tool.

As I’ve tested this tool out, I’m amazed at how many surfaces the Crop-a-dile will punch through. I love to create altered books, but finding a cost conservative tool to punch through book covers was a problem. The Crop-a-dile will easily punch through most book covers with ease. I’ve also punched through a small stack of book pages without any trouble, even after I’ve glued many of them together. My Crop-a-dile has been used by quite a few high schoolers during altered book courses and it still looks and performs like it just came out of the package. It’s seen a lot of love and some abuse, but this tool holds up to even the most forbmidable of users (scores of high school freshman boys).


I recently completed a class using old CDs and used the Crop-a-dile to create holes that were used to thread book rings through to make a mini album. Even with something as potentially brittle as a CD, the Crop-a-dile was able to make holes in the CD without cracking, bending or breaking the CD. It seems this tool is not only strong, but gentle as well.

Thick coasters are also something I use quite often for crafting projects and a regular hand held punch only made a dent in the surface, but was not strong enough to go through the entire coaster. The Crop-a-dile punches through the coasters with no difficulty at all. Besides being able to punch with ease, I really like the fact that there are the sliding rulers on the sides of the tool. When creating a project that needs at least two or more holes punched in a straight row, the sliding ruler gives you a stable guide and eliminates the need to measure out and eyeball your punches and hope that you got them straight.


I am always finding new surfaces to use my Crop-a-dile on and I’m sure you’ll love yours as much as I love mine.

Pros:

  • Virtually silent punch and eyelet/snap setter. Great for late night crafting or to eliminate all the “extras.”
  • Clearly labeled/measured sliding rulers to use as stable guides when punching mutiple holes in a straight line.
  • Will cut through a multitude of thick and hard surfaces, which most hand held punches can’t handle.

Cons:

  • Range of depth into a surface only extends up to 1 inch with the sliding rulers and eyelet/snap setter. If you’re punching or setting, you won’t be able to reach further into your paper/surface more than an inch.
  • Only two sizes of hole punches (1/8 and 3/16 inch).

Where to buy:

I find that even with the cons of this product, the pros are what bring me to take this tool out again and again. With all the bizarre and unqiue surfaces I use in my crafting, I would find it very hard and frustrating to work without my Crop-a-dile. I recommend this tool as an all-around necessity for your crafting stash.

So, what kinds of things have YOU punched through with your Crop-a-dile? Any tips or suggestions you’ve learned along the way that you’d like to pass on to other Craft Critique readers?

The Scor-It by Hammonds Group

Reported by: Kristine Fowler

If you’re a regular Craft Critique reader you might recall that as reporters, we get to publish our crafty themed holiday wish lists right here on the blog – announcing to everyone, exactly what we’d like to see under the tree and why. This past year, on my list was (among other things), the Scor-It by Hammonds Group.

Now, you’d think that publishing my ‘wish’ to cyber space, printing the article and leaving it on my hubby’s desk, and then even going so far as to email him a link to the Scor-It product page at an online merchant he’d get the hint to grab one and put it under the tree……..but ah no. Unfortunately for me, while he claims he ‘got’ the hint, he left his shopping way too late (as always) and there was just no way it could be delivered in time. So I got pajamas instead. Now don’t get me wrong, pajamas are great, but let’s face it, I can sleep naked (Honey, if you’re reading this thanks for the PJs, I love them! Hugs!).

So, what would any serious crafter do in this situation? — The answer is simple, buy it for herself. And that is exactly what I did. (Yay Me!)

If you’re not already familiar with this product, you can find a ton of information about it at the product home page: http://www.scorit.com/, but to summarize, the Scor-It is a tool for making crisp, professional quality score lines in cardstock and other materials (more on that later).

You might think at first that a score board is a luxury that only the frivolous crafter would invest in, but take it from me that assumption is oh so wrong. You cannot imagine how much cleaner and crisper your folds can be until you’ve used one — and it’s a time saver, absolutely!

According to the manufacturer, with the Scor-It Board, you can score a wide variety of surfaces. In addition to scoring with and against the grain of cardstock and paper, you can score board up to 24 pt. weight (light chipboard, shirt cardboard), Mirricard and other coated cardstock that would crack with any other scoring method, lightweight papers like vellum and mulberry paper, many transparencies and films, and more. So, because this is Craft Critique, I took some time to play, and put a bunch of materials and the Scor-It to the test. Suffice it to say I was, for the most part, not disappointed.

While it takes a bit of practice to get your pressure right (heavier weight paper requires more pressure) – the Scor-It did an exceptional job once you got it figured out. I personally have never had much success scoring vellum in the past – I either used too much pressure, and it pierced, or I wind up with a cracked, spidery looking seam. The Scor-It eliminated both of these concerns. Here are some pictures of the inside and outside of my test fold.

The other material I thought worth photographing was cardboard. Now, I don’t know the weight of it specifically since it was just laying around in my craft room, but I suspect that it might be backer board from a paper packet or something similar. The inside of the fold is perfect – nice and crisp, but the outside…..well quite honestly was a bit disappointing. The paper covering on the backer board tore a bit – you can see in the photo it’s a bit scratchy looking. It didn’t tear when I scored it, but it did when I actually went to fold the piece along the line. Perhaps this product was a bit heavier than the tool was designed to handle, or perhaps it just wasn’t of great quality to begin with.

Despite the challenge with the cardboard, the most important thing that I can tell you about my tests is that scoring each and every product was effortless with the Scor-It. I got a great fold each and every time and the tool stayed on the track where it should, without gliding off.

A complete review would also not be complete without mentioning how I ‘scored’ before Scor-It came into my life and how these methods compare. I used 2 methods (well 3 if you count simply folding cardstock without scoring at all – don’t try this at home, it’s not often pretty). Before Scor-It, I used either a bone folder (with a ruler), or a bone folder (or embossing stylus) in my paper trimmer track.

  • Bone Folder with ruler: A cumbersome method to say the least. Accomplishing a nice ‘straight’ crease involves first measuring the paper and determining with your ruler the correct position of the crease, ticking it off at both the top and bottom, and then repositioning the ruler to line up with the tick marks. At this point, you need to back off the ruler just a bit to compensate for the thickness of your scoring tool else your crease will be ever so slightly off centre. Then, run the bone folder along the ruler’s edge, applying pressure. Because you are measuring and ticking and making manual adjustment for your tool, there is considerable margin for error using this method. With the Scor-It, finding the exact centre of your paper is simple because the 12″ ruler runs in both directions from the scoring rail. Simply position your paper so it’s even on both sides and you’re good to go.
  • Bone Folder (or Stylus) in Paper Trimmer track: Although not entirely dissimilar from the process described above – by using the paper trimmer track as your scoring guide instead of a ruler you can eliminate the initial process of measuring/ticking to find your project’s centre. Instead you can use the ‘ruler’ on the paper trimmer to align your paper and help you find your centre. You still should however make a manual adjustment to compensate for the width of the track/tool though if you want your crease to be exact. I also find that tool slippage is also a big problem here – as the tool sometimes ventures out of track. If you have a trimmer like mine, it came with a scoring tool which replaces the blade and is to be used exactly the same way as I use my bone folder. I have to admit though that I never use it. Quite frankly, it’s a pain to take the blade in and out. Most often when I score, I simply leave the blade in place and push it to the bottom of the track out of the way.

With either of these methods, it is also worth mentioning that you do need to be careful that the bone folder/stylus/scoring tool doesn’t pierce the paper if too much pressure is applied. Again, the result is not pretty, and can be very frustrating, especially if you’ve just spent time creating a number of accordion folds and it’s the last one that pierces through, requiring you to start your project over again. Also, despite best efforts you often still end up with a fold that looks ‘cracked’ and can be more than just a wee bit crooked.

So you might be wondering at this point what makes the Scor-It so different and why it is so effective. I definitely was wondering, so I jumped on their website to see if I could find the answer and lo and behold I did. While the answer is pretty technical and there’s a whole downloadable document explaining it, it can be summarized like this. Instead of pulling a ‘male’ ended tool through a ‘female’ channel (like the track of your paper trimmer), the Scor-It uses a ‘female’ tool pulled along a ‘male’ or raised rule. As a result, when pressure is applied it raises a ridge inside the fold creating a proper hinge (you can see this pretty clearly in the photo of the cardboard above).

Pros:

  • awesome product support on their website including a project gallery, training videos and presentations, a newsletter archive and so on.
  • you don’t need to figure out which way the grain of your cardstock runs, the Scor-It scores equally well with and against the grain
  • 2-way ruler makes centering your paper, and thus your fold, a cinch
  • the surface upon which you lay your paper for scoring is made of a rubbery material that grips your material and won’t let it slip
  • the board is not tray-like, thus does not have stops on the sides – this means you can use any size paper on the Scor-It board – your paper would just extend over the edges (centering a larger paper might be a bit tricky, but it’s great that the makers of Scor-It considered this and made it doable)
  • because there is only one fixed scoring rail in the centre of the board, you can score at any increment – you simply pick up and move your paper along to the desired spot
  • the scoring tool is attached to the board (at either the top right, or top left, your choice) with a chain so you don’t lose it (this is a great idea considering I myself have seriously spent hours looking for my bone folder – which is still missing by the way).
  • a mini Scor-It board is available, it features a 9″ centering ruler and a 6″ scoring rule – so it’s the perfect size for the cardmaker and is less of an investment (available for around $30)
  • the board comes with an optional paperstop that you could employ if you were mass-producing folds for say a group of greeting cards or wedding invitations

Cons:

  • price – it’s definitely useful and does a great job, but if you’re like me it may take saving your craft budget $$ for a couple months before buying
  • unlike the Scor-Pal, you need to pick up and move your paper each time when making a series of creases (check out this Craft Critique review of the Scor-Pal if you’re making a comparison)
  • not a biggie, (and I’m really grasping here) but Scor-It scores in only one direction – you need to rotate your paper to score horizontally

Last but not least, here some pictures of a recent project I’m working on. The Scor-It board made it soooo easy to create the accordian spine, and also to create new ‘designer’ flaps for my envelopes:

{All paper & stickers used in this project are CTMH Emporium Creative Basics Collection. The ribbon and the vellum are of unknown origin.}

These are my designer envelope flaps.

This is a picture of my scored spine before I glued it in.

In summary, the Scor-It is the first scoring board I have ever owned, and unless something catastrophic happens to change my opinion, it will be the last. It ROCKS! I totally love it! My rating is a 9 1/2 out of 10 – with price being the only factor marring a perfect score (pun totally intended!)

The Scor-It retails for around $60, and is available at numerous online and brick and mortar scrapbook, and specialty paper/craft stores. On their website, there is a link (with a great little map) to help you find retailers in your local area, but here’s a couple of sites that I visited to verify pricing.

Have you used the Scor-It? What’s your opinion? Leave us a comment or drop us a line and let us know!