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Vendor Spotlight | Spellbinders Presto Punch

Reported by Maria Del Pinto
The Presto Punch is one of many interesting innovative products for scrapbookers and crafters from Spellbinders.   I saw coverage on this machine on blogs and YouTube.  The reviews have been pretty great. It retails around $69.00 depending on where you purchase it.  I have found some pretty good deals at local scrapbooking shows and online.  The Spellbinders Presto Punch is about 7” x 5″ x 4½”.  The size makes it super portable because you can easily fit the machine in your average insulated lunch bag along with some templates be ready to craft on-the-go.
Spellbinders Presto Machine Box Contents
The great news on this product is that the company took into consideration that some of us face the challenge of using various punches due to arthritis, hand injuries, carpal tunnel, hand strength issues, and other similar problems.  You now have a choice between the familiar push down type of punches and a punch that works with the push of a button. The Spellbinders Presto Punch is an automatic punching and embossing machine, that works with the simple touch of a button. 
Spellbinder Presto Punch Battery Case
Additionally, the Presto Punch works on either batteries, or you can purchase a power adapter that is sold separately.
Presto Punch Power Adapter
To use the adapter, you have to remove the battery case and then plug the adapter into the back of the machine.
The Presto Punch comes with the machine itself, an assortment of templates, and two folders (one for punching and one for embossing) to get you started.
The size of the templates is significant compared to traditional punches, when you consider the challenges of storing a large collection of punches. 
In the picture above you can see that the four traditional-sized punches take up significantly more space than the four Spellbinders Presto Punch templates do.
Below is a small sampling of some of the other templates for the presto punch that you can purchase from their website or  your local craft/scrapbooking store.  The prices varies from $9.99 and up depending on the template set you decide on.
Holiday Punch & Embossing Stencil Templates
The Presto Punch templates can be used to punch, emboss, and stencil.  They vary in size and are thinner than chipboard which means they do not take up a lot of space to store, unlike traditional punches.  The Presto Punch templates take less space than a credit card to store (once out of their retail packaging).  So if you are challenged for storage space the Presto Punch may offer you a solution with their vast line of templates.  
This is what the template looks like face up, note the cutting ridge on the outside edge of the template.  
The Spellbinders Presto Punch templates are really simple to use.  To punch out a die cut, you need to place the template face down onto the card stock and then place it into the cutting file.
Once you  have placed the folder into the Presto Punch, then press the down button which is on the left.
To cut press down button on the left.
The machine will made some funky noises that let you know to stop.  That is the signal that you are done.  Then you need to remember to press the up (on the right)  button to be able to remove the folder.
If you want to see a demonstration of how the machine works and some cool ideas of things you can do with the punched pieces, I recommend going onto “YouTube” to watch one the Spellbinders technique videos that demonstrates how to use the templates and/or the machine.  The video below shows how easy the Spellbinders Presto Punch machine is to use. 
So once you have removed the folder from the machine, you will then remove the die cut from the machine and put into the white embossing folder.
Run it through the machine like you did with the cutting folder. 

If you look closely, you can see how well the machine embosses these little templates.

Then if you want to stencil, just leave the die cut piece in the template and paint.

I used a marker but you can use ink pads, chalks, etc.  I like that these templates are multi-functional.
I tested the machine’s ability to cut fun foam, sparkle foam, handmade paper, watercolor paper (cold press), parchment paper, and glossy card stock.  The fun foam worked great which I was a little surprised about.  The sparkle foam did cut but you can see that it did not cut as cleanly as it did the other materials.  I am assuming that this is because the sparkle foam is a little denser than the other materials I tested. It also worked on craft foil, sticker paper, thin clear plastic crafting sheets and various handmade papers.
My favorite was the parchment paper die cut because the embossing really shows up on this paper.
Parchment Paper Die Cut Sample
The real surprise was that it cut through aluminum.  I had a empty can of my favorite energy drink and decided to cut it up to see if it would work.  I cut a piece to fit and it did a perfect punch.  Even the embossing function did not have any trouble embossing the leaf marks onto the recycled tin can materials.
Recycled Aluminum Can Die Cut Sample
As for what did not work, well I tried a piece of heavy card stock.  It did cut but not completely.  I ended up tearing the paper trying to remove it from the template.  On the other hand, regular card stock works just fine in the Presto Punch machine, you just need to cut it to fit within the folder. 
I have to say this little machine survived my experimentation fairly well.  I really enjoyed cutting a variety of materials with the different punches.  One of my favorites is the heart mini punch.  I used it to make a gift tag.
Spellbinders Presto Punch Heart Template Card 
There is no waste with these templates because I was able to use both the punched out heart and the paper I punched it from.
Spellbinders Presto Punch Heart Template Card Inside View
I also really liked the leaf template.  I used the recycled aluminum tin can punched pieces to make a pair of earrings.  I sanded off the sharp edges so they would not nick or catch on hair.
Recycled Aluminum Can Earrings
I also decided to punch out the little red bull animal images on the can and use them to make a pendant.
The templates make it easy to target specific items on paper and other materials.  These are just too much fun.   Note:  The template folders will get all funky looking after a bunch of uses, especially if you try to cut metal with it.  You may want to keep it in mind if you decided to run a few tests on your own machine.  You will have to replace the folder faster testing it on the non-traditional materials than if just stick to punching with traditional materials.
Presto Punch Template Cutting folder does get funky looking.
I did have some issues.  First of all, the machine opening is small .  So take that into consideration when it comes to what materials you choose to put into the folders to cut or emboss.

Second, I want to take a moment to address the sound that the machine makes during use.  Some folks may find it a little annoying.   Since I have a hand injury at the moment, I think the ease of use (just a press of a button) more than makes up for the sound that the Presto Punch makes when cutting and embossing.  I was still able to craft even though my hand movements are pretty limited (which why the jewelry designs are simple so my daughter could help me by working the jewelry making tools).  I also found that I could use my other Spellbinders die templates as long as they fit inside the folders.  Overall, I think this is a pretty cool machine and look forward to making more fun things with the punched out pieces.

Pros:
  • Offers the crafter portability by using either batteries or a power adapter (sold separately).
  • The templates are multi functional.  They cut, embosses and can be used as stencils.
  • The Presto Punch and the Presto Punch templates are easy to use and store.
Cons:
  • Works on batteries which can lead to waste.  Consider using rechargeable batteries or purchase the adapter (sold separately).
  • Only comes with one set of folders which will get trashed with consistent use.  However, they do sell replacements on their site for $5.99 for three (which isn’t a bad price).
  • Sorry, it was hard to come up with any when I am having so much fun with the machine.
We would love to hear from you and find out what your favorite punches are and how do you use them in your crafting?
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Company Feature and Giveaway: Spellbinders

Disclosure

Founded in 2003 by Stacey and Jeff Caron, Spellbinders is a leading innovator in manual die cutting tools.

An avid crafter, Stacey noticed the lack of detail in the dies available for paper crafting.  She decided to change her longtime passion for paper crafting and her vision of exquisitely detailed and sophisticated dies into a business.  In 2003, Stacey and her husband, Jeff,  invested everything, including their life savings, into the business.  Together, they decided to create a universal die-cut system with die templates that are the most detailed on the market.

The first 2,500 Wizard™ die cutting and embossing machines and 10,000 dies were hand made.  They were known as Geometrics and are the inspiration of the famously popular line of Spellbinders™ Nestabilities®.  From the start, Stacey committed to bring the best possible dies to market, offering good value at a fair price.   There are no other dies on the market that offer the intricate, sophisticated details that Spellbinders offers.

Spellbinders’ mission is to develop and provide exquisitely detailed, quality craft products that offer value and versatility.  The goal is to design crafting products that cut, emboss and stencil to inspire the creation of beautiful, professional projects.  Equally important are Stacey’s core values of providing opportunity and fostering innovation through partnerships and working together in harmony.

Spellbinders has partnered with companies and licensed designers that are endorsed and approved to develop products that coordinate with Spellbinders’ patented die templates.  Stacey has partnered with and mentored a number of small and start-up companies, providing business guidance and sharing her vision.  Through these partnerships Spellbinders continues to strengthen the crafts community.  The synergy between the companies allows customers to understand the unlimited creativity together they can provide for inspirational crafting.

What makes Spellbinders unique is unlike any other company in the crafts industry, Stacey sponsors her design team, bringing them to Phoenix, and educating them in the company culture and the Spellbinders brand. This process has empowered the design team, which is key in today’s social media network, to become knowledgeable Spellbinders ambassadors for creative and inspirational use of all Spellbinders’ products.

Those interested in becoming a Spellbinders Design Team Member must submit projects and write an essay on why they want to be a Spellbinders Design Team member.  There a two rounds of project submissions. Call for Design Team members is announced the beginning January every year.  New Design Team members for the year join the team in April.

Among the most popular products Spellbinders carries are their Spellbinders™ Nestabilities®.  These delicate dies cut and emboss and are sold in nested sets of multiple sizes.  Visit the Spellbinders website to see the full collection of dies.

Most intriguing from Spellbinders are the new Edgeability Dies.  These new dies create delicate edges for your projects as well as intricate designs. Each set comes with an edge and two designs that can be mixed and matched to create different looks.


You can purchase Spellbinders products from their Website, or your local craft store.

Follow Spellbinders on Twitter.

Like Spellbinders on Facebook.

Be inspired by Spellbinders on their blog.

View a collection of “How-To” videos for Spellbinders Products.

Read reviews of Spellbinders products on Craft Critique.

One of our lucky readers will win a set of Edgeability dies.  Just leave a comment and let us know if you have used Spellbinders dies yet, and which designs are inspiring to you!

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Vendor Spotlight and GIVEAWAY: Sizzix Big Shot

 

Lately, it seems like every craft show I attend has someone demonstrating and/or using a Sizzix  “Big Shot” at their booth.  I have seen people use such a variety of materials with this machine that it never ceases to amaze me.  Even beyond that, is the projects people make with their die cut pieces.  This tool appears to be one of the “must haves” for an avid crafter and recycling junkie.
At the “Unique LA” show I attended recently, I watched my friend Stefanie Girard
 (author of Sweater Surgery), demonstrate how to use the big shot to cut shapes out recycled felted wool sweaters and make fun jewelry.  These were popular workshops and the folks in attendance just loved being able to use the “Big Shot” to cut up the sweaters to make cool jewelry pieces like the ring below.
Seeing all these cool demonstrations, has made me want to own a die cutting machine of my own.  I have a very limited crafting space so I had to do a little research to figure out which machine would do the most for the price, size, and cost.  The Big Shot retails for $99.00 on the Sizzix website.  I did a google search and found the price varied depending on the retailers and the specials they were holding on line.  Also, I have seen it sold with accessories in kit form at various scrapbooking and craft shows (ex:  beginners kit, advanced kit, etc.).  So the price can vary.  Needless to say, I was more than thrilled to get the the opportunity use and review the Big Shot.
The Big Shot itself comes with:
Big Shot Machine (14 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ x 6 1/2″)
Multi Purpose Platform
Directions imprinted right on the platform so you wont lose them (unless you misplace the platform)
Pair of standard Clear cutting pads
They also sent me:
A Suitcase die (#657124)
An extended length cutting pad set
A scallop Circle 3-D Pop-Up Die
Little Sizzles Mat Board Pack
My first question upon opening the box, was “what is this multi purpose platform for?”  It looked a bit odd so I did the smart thing and read the instructions.   I love the fact that the machine is so easy to set up.  The cool multi purpose platform itself has flaps called tabs.  Each tab gives the directions for using various dies, embossing and texture sheets printed right on it. The multi purpose platform is important because it shows many of the Sizzix products and how they are compatible with this machine. If you shop at the Sizzix website it has a button that leads you to all of their products that are compatible with the big shot.  Additionally, the platform allows you to use other company dies, embossing, and texture sheets with this machine.
The base of the big shot is sturdy which is helpful when trying to use the extra long dies like the “Suitcase” die (#657124).
Upon reading the directions, I realized that the Big Shot cuts and embosses a wide variety of materials.  Since I had a limited amount of dies to test out, I decided to take advantage of my local craft store sale on dies and pick up a few to help me test out the machine’s capabilities.  Once I was armed with enough dies, I had a field day running different materials through the machine and trying out the dies.
I tested an wide assortment of materials including, acetate, card board, corrugated card board, card stock,
  plastic, fabric, felt, foam, thin leather, hand made papers,tin, sticker paper, rubber,
and more using the Sizzix Dies.  I have listed below some of the different materials that I tested on the Big Shot.
Aluminum Cans
I started with some rinsed soda and energy drink cans then using an old pair of scissors, I cut up the cans.  I wore my leather gloves to protect me from the sharp edges that I was bound to encounter while cutting up the soda cans. This was a smart move, as I ended up with quite a few sharp edges.

I flatten out the piece of a aluminum and then ran through the “Big Shot” using my butterfly die (#654996 ).

The finished piece was very cool and since this die is a butterfly and I could fold up the wings to give it more dimension.
Burlap
I decided to test a nice orange burlap place mat that I had on hand.  I put a small piece through the big shot and used my Flowers Layer (#654982) die cut.   It did cut the burlap, but the burlap started to unraveled fairly quickly.  So I decided to try the old stand-by Modge Podge on the burlap.
I used the my favorite gloss-lustre because it gives everything a little bit of shine.  I applied it to both sides of the burlap (allowing it to dry between applications). Once the material had dried, I ran it through Big Shot machine.  This time it cut the burlap without any unraveling problems.  The dried Modge Podge also made it easier to shape the petals.  I added a bit of glitter to the petals,  then attached a pin back to make it into a flower pin.
Cork Board
I tried a round cork board drink coaster in the machine that was a little thicker than 1/8″.   I found that it was too thick to run through the machine.  So I decided to try a thinner piece of cork board (less than
1/8″) and then ran it through the Big Shot using my butterfly die (# 654996).  It worked just fine.

Aluminum Can and Cork Project:
I combined the aluminum can pieces that I had cut earlier with the cork board pieces to make some fun butterflies.
Then my girls mounted them onto some plant sticks for one of many teacher’s aide gifts that we have been working on.  My daughter added some sequins onto the butterflies to catch the light and make it fun.
I love that my girls can join me in using the things we die cut from this machine, as well as its applicability to kids crafts.
Felt Craft Sheets – Self Adhesive
I wanted to use one of my “Hello Kitty” dies that I had on hand, so I decided that one of those self adhesive felt craft sheets would be fun to test the “Big Shot” on.  I tried a single thickness and it worked very well.
Hello Kitty Die Cut in Felt
I decided to try a double thickness and it did not cut as cleanly as the single thickness did…so I think I will stick to a single layer of the felt for future reference.
Second Project – Hello Kitty Tote
Since the felt is flexible, I decided it would be a great accent on a tote bag for one of my girls.
Hello Kitty Tote Bag
Foam Sheets
I received a really cute suitcase die cut that I was curious to try out and see if it would work with the foam sheets you can find at the craft store.  The suitcase die is very long and requires using the longer clear pads to run it through the Big Shot.  The felt sheets were a little less than 1/8″ thickness.  I cut the sheet to fit the die and ran it through the machine.  Needless to say, it worked great and the thickness of the foam made the suitcase a little bit sturdier than if I had cut it out from card stock paper.   Note: the felt did not fold as easily as paper and it did need to be worked a bit to stay in the suitcase shape. It was worth the little bit of extra effort.
Foam Suitcase
Plastic 1 liter bottles
I washed out the bottle, then using very sharp scissors I cut the top and bottom from the bottle.  Then I cut down the center and laid it under some heavy books to flatten it out.  Once it was flat enough, I cut the plastic to fit the die.  I ran the die through the machine and it cut it out quite nicely.
It was very sheer so I decided to paint the petals before I put them together to create the flower in layers.  I used the Plaid Enamels to paint the plastic and they worked really well together.  Once the paint dried, I shaped the petals by pinching the ends and then put the flower together.  Since it was  plastic, I realized it would be great to use to decorate a pin wheel for the garden.
Plastic Bottle flower attached to pinwheel
Plastic Place mat
I had a plastic place mat made from a harder plastic than the 1 liter bottles.  The animal print just screamed to be used in some type of fun flower.
I cut the plastic to fit the Flowers Layer die cut (#654982) and put it through the “Big Shot” using the extra long clear plastic pads.  I was glad to see that it worked well cutting out the petals without leaving any sharp edges.
Third Project – Animal Print Flowers
Using the plastic flowers I cut out from the animal print place mat, I took the pad from my pergamano set so I could use a stylus to give the petals some shape.
I glued the pieces together, added a brad in the center, and then glue them to pin backs so they could be used as pins.
The animal print flowers were so cute that I decided to add them to a gift bag to decorate it and for  the receiver of the gift to be able to use the wearable pins later on.
I also made some cute barrettes from some of the many flowers we had cut from the placement (it was a very large place mat).
Rubber Shelf liner
I picked up some the non-slip rubber shelf liner and put it through the machine using my Flowers Layer (#654982) die.  I was able to run 2 sheets at a time with out any problems.  It probably would have done 4 but I only needed a few flowers for this test.  It did cut the through the rubber without any problems.  I tried putting the petals together to make a flower but the rubber was too thin to hold its shape well.  So I decided to coat the rubber with the Modge Podge and glitter to see what would happen.  I let it dry overnight and it stiffened it up the petals so I could attach them to some flip flops to make them a little more decorative.  They came out cute!
Self Adhesive Plastic Shelf Liner
This is a little thicker than most shelf liners, however,  it cut without any problems.
The girls used the cut outs to decorate journal pages and an old tag I had left from a trade show.
decorated tag
Competitor Dies
According to the information on the tabs, you can use the wafer thin die and other competitors dies on this machine.  So I decided to give it a try. I had a set of the “Spellbinder Nestabilities” frames in my craft box to try out. These are so versatile and it would be fabulous if I could use them with the Big Shot.
I placed one of the clear pads on top of Tab Number 2 (which means both tabs are under the pad).  Since the Spellbinder frame die is considered to be fairly thin, I followed the directions on the tabs for wafer thin dies.
Then I placed the die face up on the pad.  I put a piece of paper stock on top of the die followed by a piece of foam and the second clear pad.  It cut clean without any problems.
Using the impression part of the die, was a little trickier.  I put Tab Number 2 through the machine first to hold the platform in place.  Then, I placed the Spellbinder Nestibilities die face up directly on top of Tab Number 1.  Then placed the paper.  I covered the die with some pieces of foam, and the clear pad I ran it through slowly.
When I removed the pads, the die had left an impression perfectly,
however it did leave some cuts on one of the pieces of foam.
I checked the Sizzix website and found that this problem is easily fixed by using the sizzix silicone pad and by following the directions on that packaging.  However, for now at least I know it works with what I have on hand.
Next I tried the Sizzix die “Shells & Starfish” (1/8″ thickness).  This is a fun little die with a summer beach theme.  The shells and starfish on this little die are so cute!
I put it through the big shot and using card stock and it cut through cleanly.
I decided to try to cut another piece of soda can tin and I was surprised to see that it cut through the tin cleanly.
Texture and Embossing
The tabs on the multi-purpose platform indicated that you can use texture sheets and embossing tools with the Big Shot.  I do not own any embossing tools, so testing those were out.   However, I did have some texture and embossing sheets to test.  I decided to try one of the Cuttlebug embossing folders (Provo Craft) out in the Big Shot.  I used a piece of
aluminum can that I had cut from an energy drink.  Using the enclosed platform, I made sure that tab
number 2 went through the machine first.  I placed the clear cutting pad with the “Cuttlebug Emboss Sheet”
(Victoria) sandwiched between the top and bottom pad.  I laid them on top of Tab number 1.  I ran it through the machine.
I carefully removed the aluminum from the embossing sheet.  The design embossed beautifully and looked great on both sides of the aluminum piece.
I then tried one of the “Makin’s Clay Plastic Texture Sheet” and a Shade-Tex rubbing plate (Scratch Art) which are significantly thinner.  I put a piece of foam down onto the platform, then I placed the texture sheet on it.  I put a piece of parchment paper on it and then a piece of foam followed by the top pad.  I ran it through the machine.  The texture sheets are not made of the same material as the Cuttlebug sheet and they did not work well on this machine.  Both did leave a slight impression on the paper but it was not much of one.  I think the texture sheets you use on this machine need to be made of sturdy materials to work well, instead of the more flexible plastic or rubber.
For the money, this machine is a great investment because of its versatility and portability.  My friends and I enjoy having outdoor crafting parties and often there is no electricity available.  The Big Shot offers a tremendous potential for both my crafting needs and my upcycling projects.  The fact I can use it too cut so many different types of materials is a real plus.  I often switch between fabric projects and paper projects; to be able to use the machine for both is a not only a space saver but a money saver too!  Also, having seen some my favorite recycling gurus out there utilizing this machine to create some really cool art is inspiring as well. I would highly recommend this machine, for its many great qualities and affordable price.
Tips:
  • Always use the right platform or cutting pad board with the appropriate die.
  • Carefully place die or texture plate facing the correct direction (according to manufacturers directions).  If you are new to using these types of machine, just know that the clear plastic pads will get scratched and cut over time.  The die cutting process does leave its mark behind on those, so try to remember to rotate and flip the clear pads to get even wear on them.
  • Local craft stores do not have a large selection of these dies in stock, they are trending toward the electric die cut machines, which I think is a mistake.  There is a need for both types, especially if you want to take your die cutting machine with you somewhere where there is not electricity readily available. Anyway, you can find a great selection of dies online.
  • The Big Shot comes wrapped in a huge plastic container.  If you cut it carefully, you can use that same plastic and run it through your big shot to die cut it and use it for craft projects or mini books.
Pros:
  • Comes with a very helpful multipurpose platform that has pre-printed instructions on how to use other company dies (tab 2) and texture plates (tab 1) with the Big Shot.
  • You can use other companies dies with the Big Shot which is helpful on the budget.
  • The instructions are easy to follow.
  • Since the Big Shot does not need electricity, you can take it with you to use it anywhere.
  • The Big Shot does not take up much space in my limited craft area.
  • The dies are very affordable, especially if you wait for them to go on sale at various craft and scrapbooking stores.
  • The machine is well made and a time saver when making multiple projects.
Cons:
  • The longer dies are harder to crank through the machine, but have patience and it will go through.  If you put a rubber anti-slip mat under the big shot while using those longer dies it helps keep it from moving.
  • It is heavy, however, I think the portability more than makes up for it.
  • Make space, you may find yourself buying too many dies.  It is easy to get excited with all the cool dies being sold today.
GIVEAWAY!
It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you can read about in upcoming reviews. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:Do you have a Big Shot?  If so, tell us how you feel about it!  If you don’t, which features make you want to buy it?

One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!