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Vendor Spotlight: Stampendous Glitter

Reported by Susan Reidy

Some of my first, and favorite crafting memories, involve glitter and glue. It’s rare to find something so basic, so easy to use, that can add so much to a project, not to mention good for all ages.

While the act of glittering hasn’t changed much since my childhood, the glitter sure has. Stampendous recently sent me a box of their glitter goodies. The variety in textures, colors, and sizes are simply amazing!

They have just about every type of glitter you could possibly want. Do you want a bright, shiny, jewel color? They’ve got you covered. Or maybe some shimmering crystal is more your style? They’ve got it, in three different grain sizes: ultra-fine, fine and medium.

Here’s a rundown of the five types of glitter I tried. I’ll also show you later the difference in three sizes.

First up is the Crystal glitter, available in ultra-fine, fine and medium grain. This glitter is translucent, so the underlying color shows through. I like to mix the different sizes to make snow, but more on that later. It has a great sparkly shine.

The Pastel glitter also is translucent, and adds a hint of its own color. It’s available in five colors, all ultra-fine. Stampendous says it’s best used over similarly colored surfaces.

If you’re looking to add lots of color to your project, the Jewel glitter is perfect for you. It has a great sparkle, and deep, rich colors that in general will cover up the underlying color of your project. It’s available in 24 colors in the ultra-fine grain size. As Stampendous explains on its web site, this opaque glitter will add a metallic shine to projects.

Now for those of you want the super shiny, bling-bling, the Halo glitter variety is for you. It’s available in gold and silver in ultra-fine, fine, and medium grain sizes. This glitter is holographic, so it picks up a rainbow of colors. Stampendous says it can be mixed with embossing powders. I give that a try later on in the article, so stick with me.

The Pearl glitter is another opaque variety, available in 13 colors and the ultra fine size. It’s a polyester glitter, and I found that while it has a shine, it has more of what I would call a matte finish. It’s best in thin layers, over similarly colored surfaces.

Phew, now after that glitter primer, I bet you all want to know how to use it.

First up, I tried out this lovely Jumbo Pine Drift tree stamp and stamping block that Stampendous sent me with the glitter.

Check out the size of this stamp; it’s perfect for a card or even a scrapbook page.

I wasn’t sure if I would like the Jumbo Perfectly Clear Handle. I was worried it was too thin, and would get all inky. You can see the thickness here; it kind of reminds of a cutting plate for a die cut machine.

Oh, how wrong I was. The size and thickness of the handle made it so easy to get a nice clean image of the jumbo stamp. I don’t know if it would have worked as well with a traditional stamp block.

To bling out my tree in some yummy glitter, I used an EKSuccess 2-Way Glue Pen, also sent by Stampendous. I highlighted certain areas of the tree’s needles, and dumped on Jewel moss green glitter first.

Then I added more glue in different areas and dumped on Jewel sea green glitter. I love that the Jewel glitter has different shades of the same color, so you can add a little more interest, shading, or highlighting to your projects.

I also used some Pearl glitter in cherry on the ornaments. Here’s my finished tree.

But then I decided I wanted my tree to look like it was out in a snow storm. For this, I mixed Crystal fine and medium, and dumped it over strategically placed globs of Scotch Scrapbookers Glue with 2-Way Applicator. I wanted the glue to stay dimensional.

My tree needed a home, and clearly, it needed to be just as sparkly. I decided to mix Halo Gold in medium with Halo Silver in fine with some Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE). Here’s my special little mix.

I stamped the swirl stamp from the Stampendous set with embossing ink, dumped on the mix and heated it up. I was concerned that it wouldn’t work, especially with the larger crystals of UTEE, but it looks great. I like the slight shimmer the Halo glitter gives to the embossed image.

And here is my finished card:

Next up, I put together a gingerbread garland for my kitchen this Christmas. I started with a chipboard gingerman mini book from Michaels. I covered four pieces with patterned paper, then outlined each with my Scotch glue before adding ultra-fine Crystal glitter. I wanted it to look like icing.

Every gingerbread man must have buttons. I added some 3-D Glue Dots.

And then glitterfied them with Pearl glitter in cherry.

Oh, they look like tasty little gum drops.

I added some brads for eyes, and used my Scotch glue and Pearl glitter for the smiley mouth.

For his jaunty holly, I used my Vagabond to die cut the leaves, ran them through my Xyron Create-A-Sticker 150 for overall adhesive coverage and added moss green Jewel glitter to one and sea green Jewel glitter to the other.

Check out the great, sparkly coverage.

Here’s my girl gingerbread woman. Her buttons are in moss green, and she got Pastel pink glitter cheeks, courtesy of some Glue Dots.

I needed some accent pieces for my garland. I took some plain wooden spools from the craft store and wrapped them with Scor-Tape.

I removed the paper liner, and spread on some moss green Jewel glitter. Love this! I know I’ll be doing this again. By the way, after all the use of the moss green glitter, I still have 3/4 of a tube left. A little truly goes a long way.

Look at those towers of glittery goodness.

But I didn’t stop there. Gingebread men/women are cookies, right? So naturally, I needed to add some cookie cutters. I didn’t want them to be jealous, so of course they got glittered too.

For this job, I decided to use Glossy Accents. I used Halo Gold and a mix of ultra fine and medium Crystal. Here’s the Cyrstal mix.

And here’s the Halo. I think I like this one better.

Here are some glamour shots of the finished banner. Phew, that took a while.

By the end of my crafting sessions, I was covered in glitter and so was my craft area. But it was so worth it. I loved all the variety of the Stampendous glitter, and then it could be used on so many different surfaces. It also worked well with different adhesive, whether it was liquid, tape or glue dot.

Stampendous glitter is available individually in small jars (4.5 grams) and large jars (15 grams) as well as glitter kits.

Pros:

  • Lots of variety in color, type and size of glitter, whether you want opaque coverage or something more subtle.
  • Can be used on multiple surfaces and with multiple types of adhesives.
  • Adds a great sparkle to all projects.
  • A little goes a long way, so even with the smaller jars, it will last you awhile.

Cons:

  • Like all great crafts, it can get a little messy.
  • You’ll want to glitter anything that sits still long enough.

Have you tried Stampendous glitter? What’s your favorite type? What do you like to glitter?

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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: American Crafts Stamping Markers

Reported by Susan Reidy

I’ve amassed quite a large acrylic stamp collection in the last few years. While I’ve found stamp pads that work well, I had yet to find markers that could handle clear stamps without terrible pooling and smearing.

When the chance to review American Crafts Stamp Markers came available, I was more than eager to give them a try. The markers come in 25 colors and are available individually or in sets.
American Crafts sent me the brights pack which includes grape, cricket, aqua, mustard and taffy. They also sent me some paper goodies including Thickers, two clear stamp sets (Sing Along and Courtyard) and patterned paper from some of their newest lines including Margarita, Confetti, Campy Trails, and Peachy Keen.

Each marker has two tips — a brush tip, ideal for covering larger areas, and a medium point for finer details. They are made for coloring directly on stamps, which is a great technique when you want multiple colors on one image. You can also use them to color in images once you’ve stamped them.

Here’s a close up of the brush tip.

And here’s the width of line it can make, with a little pressure. It has a nice give, so you can do some typical brush techniques with it, like starting with a thin line and growing to a thicker line, or dotting it on its side to create flower pedals.

Here’s the medium point, a nice sharp point for detail stamps or for writing.


And here’s the width of line it can make.


One little thing I noticed — it’s easy to tell if the cap isn’t on all the way. If it’s not fully closed, a bit of black shows through, like below. I found this quite handy; I like the visual cue.

Here’s the marker fully closed, no black exposed.


I was eager to try these out on clear stamps, so I opened up one of the American Crafts sets, Sing Along. I love this bike image. Before coloring the stamp with the marker, I used an eraser on the stamp to remove any residues.


The color went on very nicely, as you can see below. There was some pooling of the ink, but it wasn’t too bad. I do recommend coloring one nice even layer. The more you color, the more the ink will pool in certain areas.

Here’s a nice little row of bikes I stamped in different colors. It was super easy to clean off the marker in between colors with a baby wipe. The images aren’t perfect, but clear stamps don’t give super crisp images, no matter what kind of marker/ink you use.

In comparison, I decided to ink up the same stamp using a Stampin’ Up marker. Wow, it totally didn’t work. The ink pooled and beaded on the stamp, as you can see below, no matter how many times I colored over it.

And here’s how that looked when stamped. Totally not acceptable.


I did notice that after coloring in a few stamps, my American Crafts marker started to pill, with little stands of the tip coming off. I simply removed those with my finger. It didn’t seem to effect the marker’s ability to color, but I don’t know what would happen over the long haul if pieces kept coming off the tip.


The markers did equally well stamped on vellum as they did stamped on cardstock. I did allow for some extra drying time.

Here’s my completed layout with some of the yummy American Crafts paper and Thickers. I scraplifted this layout design from Nichol Magouirk at www.TwoPeasinaBucket.com. One bonus of the American Crafts markers is that they coordinate so well with all of the other American Crafts products. I love how my stamped bikes pick up all the colors in the Margarita paper.

Next, I wanted to try the markers on some rubber stamps, specifically solid images. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the marker’s blending ability. Below I added my first color to this Stampin’ Up ice cream stamp.


I then added my second color, overlapping slightly so the colors would blend, just like they would on a real ice cream cone. Color did transfer to the tip of my second marker, but I just wrote with it on scrap paper until the true color was restored.

I was very pleased with my blending results, and how the markers performed on rubber stamps. I did notice that the ink stayed wet, even when applying two colors, that I didn’t need to “huff” before stamping.

For the cone, I used the mustard American Crafts marker for the base, and then added a Stampin’ Up brown marker to highlight the lines (I didn’t have an American Crafts brown). The markers still blended well, even though they’re from two different companies.


Another benefit of using markers for stamping is the ability to selectively add color to a stamp. Here was the sentiment stamp that came with this stamp set. For this image, I just wanted to use the word “sweet.”


So I just used an American Crafts marker to ink up the “sweet,” leaving the rest of the stamp uninked.

I stamped it next to my cone.

I was having so much fun making ice cream cones, I couldn’t stop. Here’s three in a row. This time, I used two different marker colors on my sentiment to highlight the sweet. So easy, but such a nice touch for a card.


I used some more American Crafts patterned paper on this card, which matched perfectly with the taffy marker. Yummy!


Next, I wanted to try the markers on a more solid clear stamp. I love the little bird from the Courtyard set. It was tricky to add the marker without getting streaks, but the coverage was much better than other markers I’ve tried on clear stamps. Plus, I think it kind of looks like feathers.


I realize these are probably quail, but the stamp plus the vibrant marker colors immediately had me thinking of the intro to a certain 70s sitcom…”Hello world here’s a song that we’re singing, Come on get happy. A whole lotta lovin’ is what we’ll be bringing, We’ll make you happy.”

Maybe I should send this card to David Cassidy?

Overall, I was very pleased with how these markers performed, especially on clear stamps. I love the versatility that stamp markers provide, and I’m so happy to find some to use on my vast clear stamp collection.

They’re relatively inexpensive, so it wouldn’t take much to amass the whole collection. I think they would be good for newer stampers, who might be overwhelmed by a whole lot of color choices.

Pros:

  • Juicy markers that work well on clear stamps.
  • Two tip sizes make it easy to color in detailed stamps or to selectively color certain areas.
  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other markers designed for use with stamps.
  • Blend well with each other and markers from other companies.

Cons:

  • Some pilling of tip after usage.
  • Limited colors compared to other stamp markers.
  • Not refillable.

GIVEAWAY!
Our friends at American Crafts have provided a prize pack for one of our lucky readers! Just leave a comment on this post answering the following questions to be entered:

Have you tried American Crafts Stamping Markers? What do you think of their coverage on clear stamps? And, did you watch the Partridge Family? It’s okay, you can tell us!

One entry per person, per American Crafts’ article, please. And be sure to check out the articles from Monday… they’ve been edited to add this giveaway info, so get to commenting! 

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Tim Holtz Vagabond by Sizzix

Reported by Susan Reidy

When it comes to die cutting, I’ve tried it all — the old school lever Sizzix machine, a Quickutz Squeeze, a Sizzix Sidekick, a Cricut and a Big Shot.

Now, I finally have the machine that can do it all — Tim Holtz Vagabond by Sizzix. Unlike my other die-based machines, this baby is electric. There’s no squeezing, cranking, pushing, cursing, etc., just a simple push of a button and it cuts or embosses.

Photo from Sizzix.com.

And because it has a super strong motor, it can handle lots of materials — chipboard, Grungeboard, fabric, felt, vinyl, patterned paper and more. I found in my testing that I had the best results with the original dies when it came to thicker material.

The Vagabond comes with everything you need to get started, the machine, two cutting pads (which eventually need to be replaced), platform and removable shim.

The shim is a thin piece of plastic that you use with thin dies like Sizzlits with thin materials like cardstock or patterned paper.

It attaches to the platform with these handy clips.

I’m glad this is included in the box vs. something that you have to buy separately. I found it to be rather handy. By the way, the directions on when to use/not use the shim are on the shim itself, so it’s easy to figure out what you need, no scrambling for the instruction manual.

Sizzix also sent me some cool dies to work with. Including this so very handy and useful Tim Holtz Alterations Tiny Tabs and Tags Die.


This super cool Tim Holtz Alterations On the Edge On the Fence die cut. It will add a decorative edge to your projects, or you can cut off the bottom of your material and have a fence die cut.

And my personal favorite, the Fringed Flower Die, which will be available starting in July, according to the Sizzix web site.

Photo from Sizzix.com

The Vagabond looks as cool as it functions. What else would you expect from Tim Holtz? It looks just like an old-fashioned suitcase that has been around the world a few times, complete with id tag and carrying handle. You can also add these cool, vintage looking stickers to the exterior. (I’m holding onto mine for another project).

Photo from Sizzix.com.
All of the utilitarian parts are cleverly disguised as part of the suitcase. The power cord is tucked away in its own hidey hole.

Here is the Vagabond closed.


Just slide this latch.

And down come the wings. This is where you feed in your die sandwich for cutting/embossing.

Here are the directional buttons — just slide it in the direction you want your sandwich to move. Press down on the power button to move it through the machine. The motor only moves when you’re holding the power button down.


Since it does have a motor, there is some noise when it’s operating, but I didn’t think it was too loud. At 14 pounds, it’s also heavier than other Sizzix machines including the Big Kick which weighs 7.7 pounds and the Big Shot which is 7.5 pounds. I don’t plan on moving mine around too much, so that wasn’t an issue for me.

As for operation, I think the Vagabond is super simple to use. There’s no A, B, C, or X, Y and Z plates. You just decide if you need the platform (for thin dies and embossing folders) and if you need the shim (cutting thin materials with thin dies).

Here’s my die sandwich with a traditional Sizzix die.

Slide the sandwich into the machine and squeeze the sides of the guides to make sure everything is aligned.


Decide which way you want it to move and hold the power button while you give the sandwich a little nudge. When your die comes out the other side, let go of the power button.

I really liked the directional button for a few reasons. First, it made it super easy to run something through twice. No need to remove the whole sandwich, just flip the direction button and go. It also alleviates problem I also seem to have with the Big Shot — which way to turn the handle.

So what can the Vagabond die cut? If you’re using a traditional, thick Sizzix die, the answer is just about anything. I started with this Die Cuts with View chipboard, which is basically chipboard sandwiched between two pieces of white cardstock. This stuff is seriously thick.


I ran it through with the tag die. It cut beautifully, everything had a crisp edge, even the tiny circles.


It also cut right through some embossed Grunge Board.

And corrugated cardboard.


I moved to softer materials including fabric, wool felt and craft felt. Both types of felt cut perfectly, including the tiny circle in the middle of each flower piece.

Here’s the wool felt.

And the craft felt.

I had so much fun cutting all these flowers. I love this die because there are so many possibilities for making flowers, you can mix materials or keep them all the same. You just attach the layers together with a brad, eyelet, button or anything else you can dream up.

Here I ran some fabric through with the flower die. It did pretty well.

There were a few spots attached that I had to snip with scissors.


It did such a good job with heavy materials, I felt silly cutting one sheet of patterned paper. So I accordion folded my paper several times and sent it through.


The Vagabond had no trouble cutting through all those layers. I folded over the tops of the tags to make a banner for my yarn-wrapped wreath.


I also added some of the fringed flowers. I love it on my front door, welcoming summer.


I also used a flower to make a quickie headband for my youngest daughter.


Oh, and I added some to this Disney memory tray. I just couldn’t get enough of these fringed flowers.


I also added some of the die cut white chipboard tags and Grunge Board tags. We’ll record memories from our trip to Disney on those tags when we get back. I used some older photos as placeholders.

Next up, I wanted to try the edge die on the white chipboard. It had some trouble, cutting through two of the three layers. I don’t know if the fact it’s an edge die makes a difference, since it’s not as wide of a die.

Some of the chipboard wedged really deep into the die, and I had to use my paper piercer to pull it out.


I tried it on some regular chipboard, about the weight you get on the back of a pack of paper, and it cut right through.

I wanted to add the edge to a page in a mini-book, and I wanted the decorative edge on the patterned paper as well. I adhered the chipboard and paper together, and then ran it through the die. I created my own shaped paper.

I broke open my collection of Sizzlits to see what the Vagabond could do with thinner dies. This was my only disappointment with the machine. Even with the shim and running it through a few times, it had hard time cutting thicker materials like chipboard and felt.

Here’s the craft felt.


And here’s the chipboard. I do like the embossed look it gave the chipboard, and plan on using these pieces for a project.


I tried this Sizzlit with Stampin’ Up cardstock. It mostly cut through, but then I ripped the delicate die cut trying to get to get it completely unattached.

I had the best luck with this flocked paper.

It also did great with vinyl. Look at these cute summer die cuts.

I added a little bit of bling, and used them to dress up a plain glass candleholder.


I found the Sizzlits need to be reserved for thinner materials.

As the last part of my review, I tried out a Tim Holtz Texture Fade. If you’re using cardstock in an embossing folder, use the shim. Since I had thicker materials, I removed the shim. Look at this deep embossing I got on that thick white chipboard.

Next I tried some canvas. I really liked the great impression I got on this fabric. I added some mists and Distress Inks to really define the impression, and used it as a back drop for a quick wall hanging.

The Vagabond is an impressive machine — it can cut and emboss the heavy stuff, and it’s cute! It did have some trouble with the Sizzlits, but with the right material, it will work. Even better, die cutting is so quick because the machine is motorized. Also, it saves your arm from all that cranking.

I know this machine will get a lot of use, especially with that fringed flower die!

Pros:
  • Adorable suitcase design and vintage looking stickers.
  • Cuts through heavy material including chipboard, Grunge Board and felt.
  • Motorized, so it’s fast and saves your arms.
  • Compatible with all Sizzix dies, and dies from other manufacturers (with the additon of some cutting pads).
  • Includes a removable shim for thinner materials and thinner dies.

Cons:

  • At $250, it’s a little more than your typical die cutting machine.
  • It has some trouble cutting Sizzlits without thinner materials.
  • Heavier than other Sizzix die cut machines.
  • Cutting pads will eventually need to be replaced, and additional cutting pads are needed for other manufacturers dies and extended dies.

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:

Now that you’ve seen what this baby can do, what would YOU use it for?

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!