Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Product Round-Up - Paper Crafts Must-Haves

It’s time for another product round-up. Take a look at some exciting cool tools and innovative products you shouldn’t be without.

Rollagraph StamPress: Create quick embellishments for your artist trading cards, greeting cards and polymer clay projects. Using interchangeable rubber stamp wheels and different inks, the StamPress machine can apply rubber stamp designs to ribbon, foils, paper strips and more. I never seem to get consistent ink coverage when I stamp and I worry about slippage, too. No more of that because this gadget does the work for you. StamPress comes with an instructional DVD that includes a 120 minute demo. For more info, go to clearsnap.com.

Perfect Printing Pouch: Vellum and other specialty papers always seem to slip in my inkjet printer and I’m rarely satisfied with the results. I've had friends suggest that I iron vellum to freezer paper and run it through the printer, but that always takes too much time. The Perfect Printing Pouch allows me to print on more than just paper -- try it for printing on vellum, textured paper, transparencies, and twill ribbon. It will help you avoid that awful smearing or bleeding and your paper will dry faster, too. For more info, go to scraperfect.com.

Fiskars Squeeze Punch: Whenever I use paper punches, I have to guess where my design will appear on the reverse side of decorative paper after I punch. Even worse, sometimes I don’t apply enough pressure so the hole ends up half-punched. Fiskar makes "reversed" punches – you see the punch mechanism while you’re working – and because you squeeze the punches, you can use them while you’re sitting down. Now I see where my punch hole is lined up and whether or not I’m using the punch correctly. Plus, I don’t have to stand up, lean on the table and apply brute force to get a perfect punch, either. For more info, go to fiskars.com.

Words and Crafts Stamps: These sets of alphabet stamps have small individual handles, rather than bulky wood blocks. I hate those ghost shadows that appear from my rocking the stamp or from stamp rubber that's been trimmed poorly, so I was glad to find these. The stamps store away in a minimum amount of room and are better for positioning your stamp exactly where you’d like it on your project. No guessing! The sets come in several letter fonts: traditional, breezy, classic and smarty. For more info, go to wordsandcrafts.com.

Article Description: Here are more cool tools and innovative products that you night want to add to your crafts room wish list.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Project - Slip a Tiny Love Note Inside a Decorative Matchbox

For this Valentine's Day, tell a significant other how much you care by creating a miniature accordion-fold card nestled inside a romantic matchbox. Write your own sentiments on the hand-made insert or collage it with rubber stamps and paper scraps. Slip a tiny square of wrapped chocolate inside or tell a story with tiny photos.

Secret Lover Matchbox Valentine
Secret Lover Matchbox Valentine (click to enlarge)

Materials & Tools
· Empty cardboard matchbox, small pocket size
· Shimmering Metallic Acrylic Paint in Rose Pearl, by Plaid/FolkArt
· Small Foam Paint Brushes
· 2-inch square of gold metallic sticker paper
· Armada Corner Punch Set, scalloped with tiny heart punch
· 2-inch piece of Gold Metallic Fancy Ribbon, 1/8" Wide
· Craft knife
· Terrifically Tacky Tape, by Provo Craft
· Black solvent inkpad, like Jet Black by StazOn
· Scrap of gold metallic card stock
· Bone folder
· Good pair of comfortable, teflon-like coated scissors, like Velvet Touch Scissors by Armada
· Metal ruler or straight edge
· Two toned paper shopping bag from your Victoria's Secret purchase
· Face Set Rubber Stamp Set, Stamp #1, by Hampton Art Stamps
· Stampin' Words Rubber Stamp Set, Item #333 (Hold/Kiss/Thrill) by Rubber Stampede
· Heart shaped Rubber Stamp
· Scraps from paper sewing pattern
· White paper glue

The Steps
(Click to enlarge images. Click back button to return to article.)

1. Using the rose acrylic paint and a foam sponge brush, paint both the inside and outside of an empty cardboard matchbox. Let it air dry.

2. Cut a 2-inch square out of gold metallic paper. I used left-over sticker paper, but you can use any gold paper you like, including decorative paper or foil.

3. Using the corner heart punch, punch three corners of the gold paper. Save the small hearts. Cut one corner off (about 1.5 inch piece) Apply the gold paper at an angle to the top of the matchbox, pushing the loose ends under and inside. Apply two of the saved hearts, aligned underneath the heart cut-out.

4. Using a craft knife, cut a 1/8-inch slit in one end of the matchbox tray. Now fold the gold ribbon in half and push it through the slot from the inside. I used a coffee stirrer to push my ribbon through the tiny slit. Hold the ribbon in place on the matchbox tray bottom using tacky tape. Now put your index finger inside the looped ribbon to create a handle of sorts -- if your ribbon has a wire edge, it will hold its shape.

5. Using the black solvent ink, rubber stamp a face onto a small piece of gold card stock. You can emboss the image with clear embossing powder if you like to add some dimension. After the image dries, cut around it until the cardstock is about 1.25 x 1.75 inches. Adhere the stamped image inside the matchbox bottom using tacky tape.

6. After you shop at your favorite Victoria's Secret store, save the paper shopping bag. Cut a strip from the bag that measures 1.25 x 9 inches -- you'll use this as the base for your accordion fold insert. By the way, you can use any paper for the insert -- I like to recycle all kinds of paper and the VS bag seemed like the perfect fit.

7. Fold one end of the strip to create a 1/2-inch or less tab to fit inside the matchbox tray. Now fold the remaining bag scrap back and forth to create an accordion-style insert. Use a bone folder to crease the folds for best results. Finish off the card base using the heart corner punch.

8. Flip the accordion insert over and start decorating. On my insert, I stamped words and a heart in black ink. To create a light collage effect, I applied torn scraps of left-over sewing pattern paper on top of the words using white paper glue. If you collage, let it dry overnight. You might also consider writing a love note on the insert, using gel or calligraphy pens.

9. Attach a small piece of tacky tape to the short accordion tab and affix it inside the matchbox tray. Now slip the accordion inside the matchbox tray and slide the tray into the cover. Happy Valentine's Day!

Product Resource Guide
· Most project photos taken with a 5.0 MP resolution KODAK EASYSHARE DX4530 Zoom Digital Camera
· Metallic Acrylic Paint in Rose Pearl
· Small Foam Paint Brushes
· Small piece of gold metallic edged ribbon
· Bone folder
· Tacky tape
· Staz-On Ink Pad in Jet Black
· Browse for Paper Crafts Books at Amazon.com

Article Description: For this Valentine's Day, tell a significant other how much you care by creating a miniature accordion-fold card nestled inside a romantic matchbox.