Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Craft Product Review: Purple Cows Laminator

3.17.2010

I have previously owned a laminator made by Purple Cows and was quite happy with it for quite a while. It was a hot laminator and came with a variety of pouch sizes. I used it SO OFTEN, much more than I would have anticipated upon first getting it. But then, after 2 faithful years I put something into the feed crooked and the thing got jammed...permanently.

I was so sad that my Laminator died that I hopped online to replace it and, what do you know, they have a new model with better features and an anti-jam button! Woot! And it laminates both hot and cold. Seems great! So I snatched one up and started in. Here was my experience with this product.

Our family holds a weekly devotional called Family Home Evening.
I made and laminated this chart with movable photos as assignments change.

Supplies Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2, Tool: Purple Cows Laminator on Medium Heat, Ribbon: Bo Bunny, Other: Adhesive backed velcro
 First off, it can't get much easier to use. You plug it in, select the temperature you want...either cold, warm or hot. A green light glows when it's heated and ready to go (in 5 minutes) and you feed items into the slot. I did not find anything particularly complicated about this machine. My 5 year old could probably use it (on the cold setting of course).

Here's something which is also cool. The old Hot Laminator which had just one feature, laminating, cost the same as the current model with its extra features and improvements. I am really impressed that Purple Cows made it better without make it more expensive.

I made and laminated this personalized luggage tag in no time using Photoshop and my laminator.

Supplies Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2, Tool:
Purple Cows Laminator on High Heat, Ribbon: American Crafts

I laminated four different items with this laminator. I tried the cold setting, which had a few air bubbles. I am not really sure what one would use this setting for, unless it was to laminate old documents that were possibly heat sensitive. I tried the warm setting, which is recommended for one to layers of paper. It also turned out fine, with just a few air gaps around the edges of the paper. I ran it through again and those edges sealed. I also laminated thicker items with the hottest setting. This setting produced no air pockets.

It is NOT recommended that you use this product on items thicker than 1 cm. And I would probably say even less than that. I tried three layers of mid-weight cardstock and got a lot of air gaps.

Because we live far from family, I cook our Thanksgiving Dinner each year. I printed our favorite holiday recipes, organized them by which recipe should be started first (the Turkey) and laminated the entire thing. This way I don't have to dig through a recipe book and I can spill stuff on the recipes and then wipe clean.

Supplies Cardstock: WorldWin DoubleMates, Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2,
Tool: Purple Cows Laminator on High Heat, Other: clip art, binder ring


What I liked:

- I liked the convenience of having a laminator at home. I ended up using it a surprising number of times for various projects and home crafts.

- It is sleek and not too bulky, lightweight and portable if needed.

- I especially like the new features. They really improved this from the last version.

- The price is pretty good. I think for the amount of use I have gotten from this machine, how durable it seems and the additional features that $60 is pretty darn reasonable. Also, these are hitting JoAnns stores in your area as we speak and I am sure you could probably use a 40% off coupon to make it really affordable.

- I could really see myself using this a lot. This weekend my daughters are having a joint birthday party with a ROCK STAR theme and I am creating and laminating a back stage pass for each guest. It's so convenient to do it at home with so much else to plan.


What I disliked:

- There were some air pockets in nearly every project I made. This was easily solved by sending through the machine again, but should you have to?

- As with ALL laminators, some of my projects got a slight bow in them as they came out of the laminator feed. I sent them through again, upside down and that solved the problem. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I kind of wish they had included a sort of extender arm, like those that catch paper coming out of your printer. If they had one on the front and one on the back which could be retracted, it would solve the slight curling problem, but I think that may be asking a bit much from such a small and home use laminator.

- This product could have MUCH better instructions in the manual that comes with it. As previously stated, it IS very easy to operate, but I tried pushing the release button a few times (which is supposed to fix jams) and it didn't seem to be doing anything. I wasn't sure if that should be pushed while the machine is running or after you turn it off. They also don't give clear recommendation on which heat settings to use for which types of projects. This can be figured out based on experience and I will probably just rock the hottest setting every time.


Where and How Much
Product Name: 13" Hot and Cold Laminator
Manufacturer: Purple Cows
MSRP: $59.95
Currently only available at: purplecows.net or in JoAnns stores (I recently saw this at my local JoAnns in the clearance section for $19.99....go get one people...for real.

Okay, so I have not been a huge fan of all Purple Cows products in the past, so you know I am being straight with you, I really love my laminator. I have used it quite a bit, I love the convenience, the pouches come in a good variety of sizes and are reasonably priced and it works pretty well. I would definitely recommend it to a friend and have already recommended it to a Kindergarten Teacher friend of mine.

What do YOU think? Can you see yourself using a laminator very often? Do you think the price is reasonable?

Product Highlight: Xyron Create-A-Sticker

2.15.2010

It was probably 4 or 5 years ago when I first stumbled upon a Xyron Create-a-Sticker 250 for sale in my local Wal*Mart. I bought it wondering how I would ever end up using it. Little did I know that I would soon find my life impossible to live without it. And not just for scrapbooking. I have used it for all kinds of crafts, some of which I will talk about in this article.

First let's talk about what the Xyron Create-a-Sticker is. There are a few different models and the model number coincides the width of the sticker making option.

The Xyron 150 makes a sticker 1.5" wide.

I own the Xyron 250, which means that the widest option for a sticker is 2.5" wide.

Likewise, the Xyron 500 makes a sticker up to 5" wide.

They all work in essentially the same manner. You put anything in the slot, face up. Pull it through either manually or by turning a crank, and when it comes out the underside is completely covered with an even layer of adhesive. This process is shown below. And yes, my husband is totally digging his sticker.




Now, let's get to the fun part...
What can you make with your Xyron Create-a-Sticker?
The answer: anything.

The primary way I use the smallest model is for applying ribbon to a layout or other project where you want the ribbon to lay completely flat. Before I got my Xyron I tried ribbon glue, which always bled through my sheer ribbons and was a sticky mess. I also tried regular adhesive runner tapes, which are too wide for some skinny ribbons and didn't hold very well. Feeding your ribbon through the Xyron Create-a-Sticker makes it perfect every time.

I use my 250 Model the most often. Here are just a few of my applications.

Stickers for children. When my daughter was potty training I scoured the store for just the right stickers to fill her reward chart with. She declined every suggestion I made and finally I said, Honey, what kind of sticker would you like? And she answered A sticker of me. I immediately went home, printed pictures of her face, cut them into small 1 inch squares and sent them through the Xyron. She was completely thrilled and was potty trained in a week flat.




Last month this same daughter would not eat her potato. While she was sitting at the table regarding her potato with disgust I jumped up and found some quick clip-art and printed out a small picture of a cartoon potato, waving gleefully, and typed I ate my potato around it. I printed it out and made a sticker of it. The bribe worked like a charm. Once she finished her potato she got her sticker. Soon after, I made a compete set for future dinner table rejections. Including, but not limited to, I ate my carrots, I ate my peas and I ate my ham. My girlfriend begged for some for her picky eaters and declared this a million dollar idea.



Children's crafts. Last year we had our annual Pumpkin Carving Party. This was the first year we would have many children present and I wanted to make activities for them to do. The problem was all of the kids were under 4 years old. I grabbed my sticker maker, sheets of black foam and orange favor bags. I cut 16 various eye shapes, 8 various mouth shapes and 8 various nose shapes. I then ran these shapes through the sticker maker by category. The each child got to decorate the front of their orange favor bag (which was filled with candy and small toys) with a customized Jack-O-Lantern face. When they were finished I stapled the bag closed with a green leaf and vine. It was a huge hit, and after that party 3 of the attending moms ran right out that day and bought themselves a Xyron.

I have also used it to put sticky onto the back of pre-cut faom craft kits that were not already backed with adhesive.

Applying glitter to chipboard and paper. This project is truly great. The Xyron can take any item up to the width of a nickel, so you can run chipboard through it with no problem. Run your chipboard shape through once right side down, then run it through wrong side down. You should now have a chipboard piece that is on the waxy paper and sticky on top. Simply shake the top with glitter and peel off like a sticker and adhere to project. Or, cover both sides with glitter and punch a hole in the top to make an ornament.




I'm sure by now it's obvious that I am completely smitten with this product.
Have you ever tried it?