Top

Tag Archives | Xyron

Review | Xyron Mini Sticker Maker

Reported by Chel Micheline

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

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

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

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

IMG_2264

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

IMG_2265

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

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

IMG_2280

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

IMG_2260

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

IMG_2267
IMG_2269

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

IMG_2271

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

IMG_2273

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

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

IMG_2274
IMG_2278

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

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

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

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

Xyron 9″ Creative Station

Reported by Christian Tamez

Laminating has always been one of those mysterious crafting entities that I have always admired, but stayed away from. Mainly because most of the laminating machines I came across were fairly expensive and did only one thing, laminate. That is until the Xyron 9” Creative Station came into my possession.

 What I immediately liked about this machine was that it needs no electricity to run, which means you can use this machine anywhere, anytime and did I mention that it’s quiet? A simple turning crank on the side of the machine, (yes there is an arrow so you don’t get confused which direction to turn), and you can use this little machine with all of its different refills. Another bonus: with 9 inches of laminating width you can laminate a complete piece of 8″ x 11.5″ piece of paper! 

Refills are the different cartridges that you can use with the Creative Station. Five different options, including three different acid-free adhesives, two-sided laminate, and a magnet material. The machine comes with a Permanent Adhesive cartridge already installed, so I picked up the two-sided laminate and the magnet refills to go with my machine.

So the first thing I wanted to do was laminate, and preserve some of the memories I collected when I tagged along with Craft Critique to go see Martha Stewart. I printed some of my pictures, and to keep them from getting all smudgy from being touched, laminated them. You just put your item to be run through the machine on the little platform, press it gently against the rollers and turn the handle, simple, fast and easy. I made a quick video overview of the Xyron 9” Creative Station, take a look!

The second cartridge I purchased and was so excited to use was the magnet refill. I love magnets and love making them even more. I took one of my favorite pictures from that trip to Martha and turned it into a magnet so every time I go to the fridge, I get to see me with Martha. I also took some pictures and turned them into magnets for my family so they could think of me always. For my sister, I took a picture of her little baby girl, slapped some text on it, ran it through my Xyron, and like magic, an adorable magnet! 

Each refill cartridge was easy to trim; I was a little hesitant about using the removable trimmer for the magnet material but it did just fine and cut through cleanly on the first swipe. Scissors, craft knives, rotary cutters all easily trim away any excess Xyron material, leaving you with fun personalized crafty goodness. There’s a score mark on the removable cutter that lets you know where the blade will cut, very important so you don’t accidentally cut right through what you were laminating! 

All in all I would say the Xyron is a great tool to use. I had a great time decorating my fridge with all of my projects!

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to use
  • Multiple uses for the machine – I love that this does not exclusively laminate.

Cons:

  • Removable trimmer occasionally comes out of the machine
  • The magnet material could be a stronger magnet
  • Small items tend to use excess material, that cannot be reused

Do you have a favorite laminator? Do you have the Xyron 9″ Creative Station and love it? What about other Xyron products that you love?

Disclosure

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

Wishblade by Xyron

Reported by Kristine Fowler

In a number of my posts here on Craft Critique I have mentioned my Wishblade digital craft cutter by Xyron, but I just realized now that I had never actually reviewed it officially. So, since a number of our readers have asked questions about it, I figured that it was time to do just that and give you my two cents on the subject. Since I’ve owned it for a few years and use it quite frequently, I won’t spend a great deal of time telling you how much I love it (and I do!), but instead I’ll try to stick to the how-to and the what-for of the little pink machine.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the Wishblade, it is a digital craft cutter that connects to your computer via simple USB. Using the included software (or any other program that will draw a vector image) you can draw practically anything and send it to the machine for quick and easy cutting. The machine houses a swivel blade that cuts your image one line at a time while the paper is passed forward and backward across the machine’s platform.

What’s in the box?

  • Wishblade Digital Craft Cutter machine
  • All necessary power and USB cabling
  • Wishblade “Create and Cut +” Software
  • Wishblade 4.1 Software
  • 1 Blade Pack with Pen Holder and Plunger Tips
  • Instruction Manual and DVD
  • Cutting Sheet
You might be thinking that the Wishblade sounds and looks very much like the Silhouette by QuickKutz that our own Julia Stainton reviewed on Craft Critique back in April of 2009 (click here to read Julia’s article). If you are thinking that – you are absolutely correct. In fact a little online research tells me that they are actually manufactured by the same company (Graphtec, and they actually make the Craft Robo as well). The machine’s functions are identical and in fact they look almost the same both inside and out. There are slight differences though and they are:

  • software bundle
  • compatability
  • price
  • availability

A few words about the Wishblade software bundle:


I mentioned earlier that I’ve had my machine for quite some time, so the software bundle the ships today is a bit different that what I originally received. Here is the description from Xyron on what you can do with each of the included pieces:

“The standard Wishblade software offers Print and Cut technology, drawing tools, create outlines and shadows for images and allows for the cutting of any True Type Font. The new exclusive Create and Cut software enhances Wishblade functionality to include welding word and creating outlines (shadows) for text and images with the click of your mouse.”

“Create and Cut Plus adds further power for your crafting projects an Advanced Autotrace feature, Print & Cut, Outlining, Word Welding, Shadowing Distortion and a host of other function will bring life to your art!”

{I don’t currently have Create and Cut Plus – but after reading about it at Xyron.com I just bought the upgrade! It includes a few features never before available like twain compliant scanning capabilities allowing you to scan an image and then cut it, and also allows for the ‘vectorization’ of bitmaps (think cutting computer clipart images). It also brings forward many of the features I love about the original Wishblade design software (like Auto Trace and Print and Cut) to the Create and Cut foreground. I would much prefer using only one software design tool instead of two.}

So what does all this mean – let’s see it in action.

Here are just a few of the MANY things I’ve done with my Wishblade!

Created a page title for a scrapbook page by ‘welding’ a font. Welding means that you can take separate typed letters and ‘connect’ them to form a continuous shape. This can be done with any font, but works especially well with ‘scripted’ or ‘cursive’ letters.

Create custom text complete with a coordinating shadow like the one I used for the title of this scrapbook page.

And here, I cut letters for a title – then embellished them with stamps, ink, ribbons and a flower before adhering them to my page.

For fun, I auto-traced (using the original Wishblade software) this dragon from a coloring book image cut it out and assembled it. How fun is that?

And, I cut vinyl letters for my bedroom wall.

I have also used it to cut basic shapes like circles of ANY size almost instantly like I did for this card. Because you can scale your designs, you are not limited to the sizes of shapes dictated by templates or other traditional die-cut systems.

So what if you’re not interested in designing your own shapes – do you still need a Wishblade? I say yes! Even if you never design a shape yourself there are tons available for purchase or to even download FREE online.

There is a bunch available from Xyron at http://www.xyron.com/enUS/Categories/Wishblade_Shapes.html
each for just 99 cents. Here is a sample of what you’ll see there.

Or, check out these sites for literally thousands more to choose from.

There are also a ton of generous folks out there who post FREE cutting files to their blogs/sites all the time – just Google Free Wishblade files to see what’s out there!
There are also a few groups on Yahoo where Wishblade users can connect, ask questions and share.
So….by now I would guess that the difference between traditional die-cutters and the Wishblade is pretty clear, and you’ve probably figured out that the biggest difference between the Wishblade and a cutter like the Cricut is that the Wishblade doesn’t require cartridges, but you might be wondering just what exactly is the difference between the Wishblade and the Silhouette?
Well, the truth is that the Wishblade and the Silhouette are indeed the same machine. In fact, a little web surfing made me realize that they are actually both manufactured by the same company Graphtec (and they make the Craft Robo too!) The Wishblade is then branded/sold by Xyron, and the Silhouette branded/sold by QuickKutz. There are differences though if you look beyond what you see – the biggest differences being the included
  • Software Bundles
  • compatability: the Wishblade is both Mac and PC compatible

Pros:

  • Unlike the Silhouette, the Wishblade is Mac and PC compatible (including Windows Vista)
  • Shapes purchased from Xyron are only $0.99 compared to the Silhouette which are $1.99 – but of course you can design your own for free!
  • Create Welded Words, Outlines and Shadows with single click.
  • Cut any True Type font – no restrictions to words/fonts included on cartridges
  • No cartridges to buy – if you can draw it, you can cut it
  • Weld words at the click of a mouse
  • Cuts any material up to 0.3mm thick (think vellum, cardstock, textured cardstock, vinyl, transparencies etc.)
  • Cuts items from 1/2″ to 8″ wide and up to 39″ long
  • Once you have a shape designed, it can be scaled and cut in ANY size (subject to the restrictions mentioned above)
  • Replacement blades, mats, cutting strips etc. available from Xyron.com for reasonable prices
    • Blades and Cap set MSRP $40
    • Cutting Mats (2) MSRP $22
    • Cutting Strip MSRP $20
  • {Note: I have used Cutting mats and blades designed/marketed for the Silhouette in my Wishblade without problems and these are available at my Local scrapbook store so that is a bit more convenient than ordering online}
  • easy to use once you get the hang of the design software
  • capable of cutting very fine intricate designs – nice crisp cuts

Cons:

  • A fairly hefty upfront investment MSRP $399 US – but this is it, there are no future cartridges to buy.
  • It’s not overly portable. While the machine itself isn’t that big (it’s about the size of many standard desktop printers), it needs to be connected to a computer to operate. So, if you have a laptop like I do, taking it with you to crops is a bit cumbersome, but still doable. If you use a desktop computer though – I think you’re out of luck when it comes to travelling.
  • It’s a bit noisy – this was a bit of a surprise initially, but I’m used to it now and don’t give it a second thought.
  • Sadly, it won’t cut chipboard – media can only be up to 0.3mm thick. Material closer to that 0.3mm maximum (e.g. textured cardstock) usually requires more than one pass of the blade to make a clean cut, but sending the multi-pass request to the machine is simple – so again no worries there.
  • To master it takes time. While you can use the machine quite readily out of the box to create basic shapes and cut letters, you need to spend time with it in order to appreciate just how functional this unit can be.
  • No pre-designed shapes are included with the software. That means that even to make a test cut, the user must first design something to send to the machine. Upon setup, the inclusion of pre-designed would give the user almost instant gratification as it would be super simple to see the machine in action within minutes of opening the box.
In summary, I think that the Wishblade definitely has more going for it than it does against it – and I’m glad I made the investment. It is a must-have tool for the die-cut-a-holic, and a handy addition to the tool chest for anyone who traditionally hand-cuts a lot of page elements. Just remember, only by taking the time to learn how to use it will you be able to fully appreciate the Wishblade’s power and functionality.

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