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Vendor Spotlight: Sakura

Reported by Jessica Ripley

When I first started crafting and scrapbooking, one of the very first things I bought was a set of Sakura Glaze Pens. They were so pretty in their packaging, and I loved the idea of being able to journal on a layout in several colors. Over the course of using them they quickly became a favorite tool in my crafty arsenal. I found they had many more uses than just journaling alone, and I was absolutely thrilled to be able to participate in a review of Sakura products so I could try out even more of what they had to offer.

And oh my goodness, when I received my package I had never realized just how much they had to offer! There seems to be a type of pen for just about everything, from the 3D Opaque Souffle Pens, to the Glaze, the Metallic to the Moonlight set which glows under a black light (how cool is that?). Sakura has truly developed a product line that has something for everyone. Knowing my main use for their products would normally be for paper projects, I set to work testing every one on both black, textured cardstock and white, smooth cardstock. I knew this would give me a good idea of both ink flow from each type (Gelly Roll vs. Souffle for example) and how I could expect them to look on dark vs. light projects.

Here’s my test piece:

All inks showed up well on the white side, with the exception of a few of the lighter colors such as the 3D Opaque Souffle in yellow. All were also extremely easy to write with on the smooth cardstock, though I was happier with the flow of the ink from the Gelly Roll pens vs. the Souffle. The Gelly Roll just seemed to write more like a traditional pen to me, and the result was much neater and allowed for a little more flair in my handwriting (which can use all the help it can get!). I starred the black 3D Glaze to remind myself that I loved how it wrote and looked, I frequently journal in black when I hand-write, and this may be my new pen to do so with!

Not all inks came through well on the black side however. A few did really well, such as the Souffle 3D Opaque, Gelly Roll Moonlight, and the white Pen-Touch (shown at the very bottom). Those that did not were the Gelly Roll Stardust, Metallic, and also the 3D Glaze. The Glaze actually does not show up at all, even in the lighter colors. Still, I was pleased with how those three looked on the white side and now know they will only be used on lighter colored projects. All inks also performed great on the textured cardstock, and I didn’t find it made a noticeable difference in how easily the ink flowed.

Now that I had my “cheat sheet,” I set off to create a few projects, including different surfaces to see how I could stretch my craft room staple into new uses. I’ve listed them below in order of my least to most favorite in performance and overall result. Please don’t get me wrong though, the quality of all of these is excellent and it was very hard to choose!

Starting with my least favorite, the Quickie Glue Pen:

I really, really wanted to love this one. It seems like such a wonderful thing to be able to use a pen to add glue to an embellishment that has fine detail, but I found that this was not exactly what this product is best used for. The glue just really isn’t sticky enough to use it for gluing down things, and it doesn’t dry quickly. That said, this pen is excellent for adding glitter to a project in fine detail. It literally writes glue, and goes on in a light blue color so you can see where you are placing it. The slow drying time also allows you ample time to complete your design before applying glitter. It dries in a slightly puffy way as well to add some dimension. I think part of the reason this was my least favorite to try was that I had very high hopes for its uses, but I can’t think of many more than this. Still, if you use glitter quite a bit, this pen is for you.

Here’s a card I made using the Quickie Glue. The flowers were hand-drawn with it and then glitter was applied.


Pros:

  • The light blue color of the glue makes it easy to see where you are applying it.
  • The pen tip is a great idea for detail work with glitter.
  • The glue flows very well.
Cons:
  • The glue doesn’t stick well when it comes to adding embellishments or paper.
  • I’m not sure what other uses it would then have other than adding glitter.
  • Slow drying time.

Next is a product that I would have loved to have in college. Loved I tell you! The Gelly Roll Moonlight Pens not only look brilliant and bright on paper in normal light, but actually glow under a black light.


Black light… college… when we were cool and had awesomely decorated dorm rooms right? These pens wrote wonderfully and are vibrant and fun. Personally, they are low on my list because I couldn’t think of what to do with them. With Halloween around the corner however I decided to try them out on a mask and see how the black light effect worked. Here it is in daylight:


And under a black light:

My husband was a semi-willing model.

Writing on the mask itself the pens worked well… better on smaller details rather than on coloring in the large areas. Going over the same areas again to try and thicken the color just proved to scratch off a bit what was already there. I was impressed with how well they did actually considering the fabric of the mask was not only textured but slippery. What other uses can you think of for these? I’d love to hear in the comments and even see some projects if you’ve given them a try.

Pros:

  • Vibrant and bright color!
  • Ink flows very well, easy to write with.
  • Looks pretty darn cool under black light.
Cons:
  • I’m not sure what I would really use this set for.
  • Didn’t allow for a second coat very well, just scratched off what was already applied (but that could have been my surface of choice).
  • Ink flows better on smaller details, and that may play against its black light coolness factor.

Coming in next were the Clear Stardust Gelly Rolls in Clear.

As you’ll see in a bit down the list the Stardust pens in colors were one of my favorites to use, but something about the flow of the clear versions wasn’t as great. It may have to do with the fact that the tip on the Clear Stardust pen is .5mm (the colors have twice that at 1.0mm), and though that allows for great detail work and writing, the fact that they are clear meant that I needed more of that flow a larger tip would allow to add a good amount of ink to whatever project I was accenting. I don’t think this had an effect on the overall result however, which I found really fun. Here’s a card I created where I used the pen to fill in the star as an accent:


It is a little hard to see in the photo, but the pen has a silvery glitter effect.

I think it would be great if these came in the pack with the other colors as an accent, but it definitely has some potential.


Pros:
  • Great idea to add sparkly detail to projects.
  • Ink flows well.
  • Easy to add detail with.
Cons:
  • The fine tip is just a little too fine, and restricts the surface area it covers quickly.
  • Doesn’t come with any other colors.
  • The sparkle isn’t as brilliant as the pack that has color to it.

Sakura was also kind enough to send a product I’ve seen in stores but never picked up, their adorable Sticklers.

The Sticklers come complete with foil stickers and a set of pens to color them in and create customizable accents. These are really fun, and the designs very cute. On the package they show them being used on an Ipod and cell phone, so I got curious and decided to try them out on my old Nano.

This was incredibly fun to do, and I love the result. The 3D Souffle Pens that came with the package worked extremely well writing on the smooth surface, and the stickers had just enough of a ridge to keep the free flowing ink contained until it dried. I let it dry overnight just to be safe, and testing by rubbing my thumb over the designs hasn’t done any damage at all. This is a really cute idea for customizing things. It’s a little lower on my list simply because I am honestly not a sticker girl and the designs aren’t quite to my taste, but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist playing with these again in the near future. The packs also only come with three colors, so to really make the most of them it would be good to have a full set of the Souffle pens on hand.

Pros:
  • Very easy to work with.
  • The stickers stick well, and have just enough ridge to hold in the ink from the pens.
  • The Souffle pens that come with work great on Ipods, just like the package suggests.
Cons:
  • The designs of the stickers are a little to “cutesy” for my taste personally.
  • The packs only come with 3 colors to play with.
  • Permanent Drying time may be long (I didn’t chance it under 8 hours).

Rounding out the bottom 5 is the Pen-Touch White Pen.

I am always on the look out for a good white pen, and this one works pretty well. This is the only “pump to work” pen that I had to try, and once I followed the instructions to get the ink flowing, it worked great. In fact I’ve gone back to use it since and haven’t had the need to pump it again. I decided I’d try it on what I most often use white pens for: journaling on black cardstock. I was disappointed at first… only at first however… as the writing didn’t show up well. In fact I had pushed my layout aside a bit frustrated trying to think of how I could save it, until I noticed that I just had to be patient and wait for the ink to dry.


After a few minutes the ink from the Pen-Touch does dry and become completely opaque and bright. It’s not an immediate result, but I was happy in the end.

My wish is that it had a finer tip for journaling, and also the ink is just a bit runny, but any white pen that gives me a bold and bright line against a dark background is one that I’ll definitely reach for again.

Pros:
  • White ink shows up great on black cardstock once it dries.
  • Pumping was necessary only at the beginning.
  • Ink flows wonderfully
Cons:
  • Ink flows a little too wonderfully and can be runny.
  • The tip isn’t fine enough to allow for extremely neat handwriting.

Now onto my favorites, the first of which is Gelly Roll Metallics.

The package says these are “ice cream smooth,” and they aren’t kidding. They write beautifully! On my test papers above even though they didn’t show well on black (which was kind of a surprise) I love the way they look on the white. The sheen is beautiful. I decided to try them out on a photo, to see if they’d smear at all. On the photo they worked wonderfully.

I also decided to try them on an acrylic coaster, but this led to a tiny craftastrophe. Even though I let the ink dry for about half an hour before touching it, when I did is smeared way too easily. Me and my impatient crafting I suppose, but even going back another hour later, it still smeared in the same way. (And I tried again after it had set overnight as well… still smeared).
But that’s ok, just a test. And what they can do in other ways made up for this little mistake. I have big plans for these come holiday card making season.

Pros:
  • Beautiful color, the sheen is perfect.
  • Ink flows amazingly well.
  • The tips are just right, allowing for fine handwriting.

Cons:

  • The inks definitely didn’t dry on an acrylic surface.
  • Can’t think of any more!

Now come the three pen packs which were very hard to pick and choose from as to one’s performance over another. Though it was very hard to choose, my least favorite of the three are the 3D Glaze Pens.

When comparing them to the other two, I had to take into account that on dark surfaces these didn’t work at all (per my test page above), though I still love to use them for adding accents or journaling to a scrapbook layout or card. The ink flow is great, and the color on the right background is wonderful.

Here I used them to add detail and a little pop to the patterned paper in this heritage layout:


They are still and will always be on hand when I’m crafting and need to add just that extra something.

Pros:
  • Ink flows extremely well and they are easy to use.
  • They can add just the right unique touch to many project possibilities.
  • Great color variety to a pack.
Cons:
  • The ink doesn’t show up well at all on very dark surfaces.
  • Ink is just a little runny and a lighter hand is best.

As you can see in the test above these come through brilliantly on both dark and light surfaces. In fact I very much prefer their look on the black over the Gelly Roll Moonlight set.

They are wonderful for adding embossed type detail, as I did with the stamp on the card below:

The flow is fabulous, and my only wish is that I could be light-handed enough with them to write a little clearer. The ink flows so well, my letters tend to run together a bit. But still, love these and the effects I get.

Pros:
  • Ink shows up on both light and dark surfaces very well.
  • The opaque look once it dries is very pretty and adds a great touch.
  • I can see myself reaching for these again and again for several types of projects.

Cons:

  • Ink flows very quickly, and that can lead to very detailed designs slightly running together.
  • Takes a minute or so to dry to its full opaqueness, so there is a bit of a guessing game as to what the final design will look like until it does so.

The biggest surprise out of the products I reviewed were the Permapaque Paint Markers.

I did not expect to love these as much as I did, but they are really brilliant. Dual tipped with a chisel point on one side and a fine point on the other, the package states that there is no pumping, shaking, odor, or mess. They deliver! I decided to go all out and take a stab at a metal project since they stated it was suitable for it, and it was so easy I couldn’t believe it.

I was able to get great coverage using the chisel tip of the black marker in two coats, being able to apply the second coat within 10 minutes of the first due to the quick drying time. I did coat the final result with a bit of Sparkle Mod Podge just to be sure it didn’t scratch off when being packed away for the Halloween Season. There literally is no odor, which I believe is huge when it comes to paint markers, and I never once had to shake it to continue the ink flow. These markers are amazing! I will be completing a color collection of these very soon!

Pros:
  • Excellent paint coverage with absolutely no odor (trust me, I got some on my nose checking).
  • The dual tip makes it possible to use them for a variety of projects.
  • Amazing ink/paint flow that never required pumping or shaking – even writing consistently at an angle.

Cons:
  • It took 2 coats to cover my project (but that’s it!).
  • The ink did scratch off a little bit if it wasn’t completely dry before adding the second coat.

Finally, a set that I didn’t know I needed until I had it: the Gelly Roll Stardust Galaxy set.


Once again the package states “ice cream smooth” and it really is. These write so wonderfully I wish it was acceptable to use them at work. Not only are the colors great, the ink contains just the right amount of glitter to shine through without being too glittery. Does that make sense? It’s a classy, subtle sheen that adds pop without over-doing it. I was having way too much fun with these and went all out with using them on this little wooden witch:


They wrote just as well on the wooden surface as they did paper, and dried quickly too. Within 20 minutes I could touch the surface without getting any ink on my fingers. Loved, loved, loved these!

Pros:
  • Gorgeous result, just the right amount of sparkle.
  • Ink flows just like a normal pen, wish I could use it at work! (maybe I’ll try and see if anyone notices…).
  • Great colors to a pack.
  • Worked great even on wood.

Cons:
  • I honestly can’t think of any… other than I don’t have every color!

Sakura has a wealth of products for every use imaginable, and I had a wonderful time trying out all the above. It’s such a wonderful thing to have tools in your crafting stash that not only deliver on performance, but that can be used for multiple projects again and again.

My overall impression:

Pros:
  • Adding detail work in whatever way you see fit to a multitude of mediums to enhance any project.
  • The number of products available makes it easy to find just the right one for your use, but the more you own the more uses you will run across!
  • These products are all high quality, and deliver what they promise.

Cons:

  • Not all products are able to be used on all surfaces.
  • Some packs don’t include many colors, it’s always nice to have a full set.
  • Some products may only have one or two uses for you when it comes to your personal taste.

Overall Sakura has been, and still is, a manufacturer that I know will deliver on quality when I’m looking for a good pen or marker to add to my collection. I have had a wonderful time seeing how I can stretch this standard favorite, and look forward to experimenting even more.

How about you? What’s your favorite Sakura product, and what have you made?

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

Vendor Spotlight: Sakura

Reported by Erika Martin

I’ve had a blast trying out the huge pile of Sakura products that came my way for review. Some of these products were brand new to me, while others have been on my wish list for a while. Needless to say, I was very excited to try these products out and I’ve created some video tutorials along the way to show you how to put these products to use. I had a large variety of Sakura products to try out and I really put them to the test.

PERMAPAQUE

The first product that I tried out was the Permapaque markers. These markers come in 20 colors, including 7 metallic colors. I was given 4 colors to work with, and they reminded me of a sunflower, so I took out an empty bottle that I had washed out and saved for a future project and got to work with some free-hand drawing.

The marker glided smoothly on the glass, though I did find that I could see the marker strokes on the surface when I finished with the drawing. The colors were vibrant though, and dried quickly. Once the paint dried, it was very easy to go over one color with another in order to add detail.

The Permapaque markers work well on a number of surfaces. It’s pretty much an all-around marker. It can be used on glass, plastic, cardstock, vellum, canvas, metal, ceramic, pottery and wood. They are waterproof, archival-quality and fade-resistant, as well as shake- and pump-free. You can open the cap and start writing without any prepping of the marker.

I received the dual-point markers, with a broad chisel on one end, and a bullet point on the other, but fine point markers are also available on the market. One of the best things about these paint markers is that they are odor-free. For people that are chemically sensitive, including myself, this is a huge plus. No headaches from the chemical smell!

STICKLERS & SOUFFLE PENS

Next I experimented with a Sticklers kit and some Souffle pens.

Sticklers come in packs of just the stickers, or you can get a kit, which comes with three Souffle or Glaze pens. The kit that I received included the Souffle pens and gold stickers (they also come in silver). The kit was very easy to use, though I used a few extra colors that didn’t come in the kit, but in a pack of the entire line of 10 Souffle colors.

Simply peel off a sticker, apply it to your surface, then use the pens to color inside the sticker outline. It’s that easy!

The pens have a very thick ink in them, so they do take a little longer to dry than most gel pens. Be very careful not to touch the ink until it’s dry or it will smudge or leave finger prints in the ink. It’s not meant for lengthy writing because of the thick ink and longer drying time, but I did use it on my scrapbook page (below) and really like the end result.

While the Souffle pens are not recommended for cardstock or paper, I took a chance and tried it anyway. It worked well when drawing in a slow line, but for filling in larger areas, the ink and ball point can tend to wear the cardstock away a bit. I’ll definitely stick to non-porous surfaces, as the packaging suggests. Smaller areas of cardstock, though, do hold up well and leave the 3-D impression that the pens promise.
The packaging recommends using the Souffle pens and Sticklers on non-porous surfaces for the best results. Surfaces like glass, plastic, coated paper and acetate.

I decided to try them on my cell phone to dress it up a bit. I applied the stickers and then colored inside the raised lines of the stickers. The pen was very smooth across the surface of the phone and there were no pen stroke marks when I was done. The ink took a little while to dry, but gave a beautiful raised and shiny look when it was done. I only wish I had more room on my phone to fit more!
Here’s a quick video tutorial to show how I used the Sticklers on my scrapbook page (above).

PEN-TOUCH & GELLY-ROLL METALLIC

I then moved on to the Pen-Touch marker and Gelly-Roll Metallic pens.

I’ve tried a few gold markers but have to say that this was the easiest of them that I’ve used. The color was bold and the tip of the marker was sturdy.

The Pen-Touch comes in 3 different colors: white, gold and silver. They also come in three different widths: extra-fine, fine and medium points.

I used the medium point for my card (below). I found that the medium point is great for giving cards and paper crafts a gilded edge. You can use the markers on plastic, glass, paper, metal, wood and porcelain. A few quick pumps of the tip and you’ll see the ink start to flow into the tip. You’re all set to go from there. This marker had a very low odor considering that it’s a paint pen, which great for people with sensitivities to chemical odors.

In my tutorial video below, I show how to create the look of a metallic cardstock mat with just the simple use of the marker.

I added some metallic highlights to the trees, as well as some shadowing to the greeting on my card using a blue Metallic Gelly Roll pen. The finish of the Metallic gel pens gives a pearlized look that adds a subtle hint of sparkle to your project. As seen in my card below, the pens work great on both dark and light cardstock. The Metallic Gelly Roll works well on glossy cardstock, as well.


QUICKIE GLUE & STARDUST PENS

I was at a retreat last month where we did a project that used the Quickie Glue pen, and it was then and there that I found a new love when it came to precision glue placement, especially when it involves glitter or embossing powder. I was ecstatic when I saw the pen in with the Sakura products I received to review.

I created a video tutorial to show you how to use the Quickie Glue pen to adhere glue to fine detailed areas, such as the antlers of this stamp image.

Also included in the video is a tutorial of how to apply the Gelly Roll Stardust-Clear pen to your card projects (though this pen can be used on other media, as well). The Stardust-Clear pen is a clear gel base ink with Stardust sparkle so that it doesn’t tint the color of whatever you’re working on, but still gives the twinkle that you’re looking for.

After trying out all of these products, I know they won’t be sitting on my shelf. I’ll definitely be using them again and again on different projects. I’m really looking forward to trying some of them out on my canvas work. My daughter has also been eying these markers and pens and wants to experiment with them as well.

Pros:

  • Fantastic range of products.
  • Can be found in most craft stores and artist supply stores.
  • Very reasonable price points.
  • Most of the products can be used on a large variety of media and surfaces.
  • Bold, vibrant and beautiful colors.
  • Diverse finishes.

Cons:

  • I would like to see some of the product lines include more earth tones. Most of the colors are bright, but I tend to do a lot of muted earth tones in my work and would like to have more diversity in the color line.
  • Some of the inks require a longer drying time so you need to be extra cautious to not touch the inks so that they dry properly.

What have you done with YOUR Sakura pens and markers? What is your favorite type of surface to work on? What’s next on your wish list of Sakura products?

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

Vendor Spotlight: Sakura

Reported by Christine Ousley
When I was a child, I was very interested in many art forms. My parents were always supportive of my creativity, and if I needed art supplies to create something they usually would get it for me. I drew a lot when I was young, and I remember getting a special set of crayons to use with my drawings. They were CrayPas, a combination of oil and pigment; they glided along my paper so smoothly. You might be surprised to hear that they were created by Sakura in 1924.
Sakura has been a long-time leader in the art market. They have time-after-time created new forms of writing and drawing media which continue to make a difference in how we create.
I was thrilled to be included in this vendor review of their products. Along with CrayPas, they discovered and formulated the first Gel Pen, and have recently developed dimensional ink products that give textures as well as color to your favorite art project.

The first thing I did was take a piece of white paper and started testing each product. The first product that I tried was the Souffle 3-D Opaque Ink pens. These pens are brightly colored and go onto the paper smoothly. It is easy to build up the ink to create a more dimensional look. The ink dries to a perfect matte finish, and can be used on light and dark paper, as well as metal and plastic. I used these pens to decorate a little round metal box that could be used to hold jewelry or tiny items.
The Sticklers are also a fun product that you can use with your Souffle pens. Just color them in, peel, and stick to just about anything. You can also see that the pens working really well on plastic too. I stamped the flowers with Staz-On Ink and then colored the image with the Souffle pens.

My next project uses another type of Sakura product, Permapaque. These are opaque paint markers that completely cover your project with color. I first painted all over my star with the blue paint pen. It dried very quickly, so then I stamped small snowflakes and the Happy Winter sentiment with white pigment ink all over the blue star. Next, I used the Metallic gel ink pens to color my clear buttons. This type of gel ink is actually less opaque than the Souffle pens, so the background color showed clear through the buttons. Then, I used a blue Stardust Jelly Roll pen on the buttons to give them some sparkle. The Stardust Gelly Rolls pens are definitely my favorite Sakura product. They are so sparkly. I didn’t want to stop with just making the buttons sparkly, so I used the Clear Stardust Gelly Roll pen to put some silver sparkles on the die cut snowflakes and around the edge of the star ornament. Sakura also makes a pinpoint roller glue pen which was perfect to attach my tiny diecut stars to my ornament.

Pros:
  • So many colors and types of ink to choose
  • They glide on various surfaces smoothly and easily
  • Can be used on all kinds of materials such as metal, plastic, and paper
  • Creative and innovative products that can be used in all types of crafts
  • Great fun for kids, teens and adults
  • A perfect stocking stuffer
  • Quickie Glue pen reaches and puts glue into small spaces not easily reached by other adhesives
  • Easy to find in local craft stores
  • Prices of products are very reasonable
  • Packaging was designed so that it could also be used as storage after opening


Cons

  • Dry time for the Souffle pens was longer than expected and ink would drip and pool on project if tipped while working on different areas (but I later read on their website that this would happen and it is just how the product works)
  • Matte finish of the Souffle pens was flat and chalky looking.
  • The fine point tip of the white paint marker was not as small of a tip as one might need to create highlights on some of the more popular stamps used by card makers.
If you click on any of the above links they will take you directly to the Sakura website where you can see all of the colors that are available in each type of product as well as more information and details. I learned so much from their website, so make sure to stop and look. I can tell you for a fact that Sakura has something for every crafter out there.
What is your favorite Sakura product? Have you used Sakura products before? We would love to hear from you.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!