Craft Life Hack – DIY Magnetic Platform

Getting into card making, scrapbook layouts, or the Project Life series of documenting our daily lives can be over the top expensive.  Especially if you spend any amount of time watching craft videos on YouTube where every new tool or convenience is displayed for you to drool over and covet.

Die cutting is one such tool.  The machines themselves are over $100 and they come with the bare necessities.  Extra items are all add-ons and can destroy your budget quickly.  With the advent of wafer thin dies that serve dual duty, cut and emboss, the industry has been finding more ways to deplete your budget with these tools that we “Just Have to HAVE”.

Sizzix created a “Magnetic Platform” just for the wafer thin dies.  This acrylic pad with a magnetic top has allowed the paper crafter to do more with their dies.  That Magnetic Platform will set you back $30 or more.  The good thing about this tool is that you no longer have to fuss around with dies shifting on you through the cutting process.  You no longer have to tape everything down to get a good and clean cut without wasting a lot of paper while keeping track of where the die is before it goes under the pressure rollers.

I have not gotten into the wafer thin die aspect of paper crafting.  Mostly because of the initial cost of the die set.  These dies come in sets, or “Nested” sets.  Each die is graduated in height and width from smallest to largest and ideal for layering on your card fronts or your scrapbook layouts.  One set of dies will cost over $25 and it would be really easy to get to the check out with a total of over $100 just for three or four of these sets.  Add on the cost of the magnetic platform and your crafting budget will be gone in seconds.

Storing these wafer thin dies can be a challenge in itself.  Keep the packaging they came in or find an alternate storage solution.  One of my friends, Maureen Criss Mathis, told me about her purchase of Magnetic Vent Covers from her local hardware store to use for her die storage.  This was a few years back.

While in my local Lowe’s Home Improvement Center I went to the heating aisle and right to the section that sells the vent covers.

Vent covers at my hardware store

Vent covers at my hardware store

Magnetic Vent Covers are sold in this section.  When you want to block air flow over one or more registers in your home it can be accomplished with these covers.  The cost is $4.97 at my store for a set of 3.

Magnetic vent covers

Magnetic vent covers

These magnetic sheets cut easily with a pair of scissors.  So I had to see if I could make my own “Magnetic Platform” using this product on my three Sizzix machines.  The Big Shot, Original Sizzix Machine, and the Side Kick.

Sizzix Big Shot, Original Die Cutting machine, and the Side Kick

Sizzix Big Shot, Original Die Cutting machine, and the Side Kick

I was able to use the magnetic sheets on all three of my machines successfully.  The cuts I got using this home heating product were clean without any mistakes.

So, if you have been thinking about getting the Magnetic Platform from Sizzix for your wafer thin dies then head on over to  your local hardware store.  Spend your craft budget money on the acquisition of more wafer thin dies 😀

Here is my demonstration video for this new tool in my paper craft arsenal.

Leslie

YouTube Subscriber Question Monday – Original Sizzix Machine.

Last week I received a question from one of my YouTube Subscribers.  The question was regarding the “Old Sizzix Machine” and how to use it.  Mary Kim Nance’s question is as follows.

Hi Leslie, I love watching your videos.  They are inspiring!  I have a request to see how to use the original SIZZIX machine.  Lol…the big red heavy one your husband bought you.  I picked one up at Goodwill and I don’t know how to use it or if you can still buy folders/dies (?).  I thought I would give this a try before investing in a new model.  Any input would be appreciated. Thank you for inspiring me!  Take care.  Mary Kim.

It has been a long time since that, once loved, machine has seen the light of day.  Answering this question was an ideal time to get reacquainted with the old thing and get into my stash of dies.

Original Sizzix machine with some of my dies and embossing folders

Original Sizzix machine with some of my dies and embossing folders

Currently, many rubber stamp companies are making coordinating sets of dies and stamps.  They make it easy to be creative.  Stamp an image then use the appropriate die to cut the image out.   The dies for the stamp sets are all super thin, much like the Spellbinder dies.  In the photo above, the Spellbinder dies are above the Original Sizzix nesting together on a magnetic sheet that doesn’t work so great.  :/

I have created a 34 minute video showing how to use each of the dies I display in this photo.  I have included how to use the embossing folders which are to the top right.

Like many old “Work Horses”, they are put out to pasture when the newer versions come along.  :/

There are a few dies that will NOT work with the Original Sizzix machine.  The die body is too wide to fit through the throat of the machine, under the presser head.  Tim Holtz Alterations dies will not work on this machine.  His border dies WILL work with this machine because they are narrower, about half the size of his other dies.

I have used two cameras to create this video.  I found out that I can do “Picture in Picture” using my iMovie program during editing.  I have used this feature to highlight portions of the tutorial on making this old machine work for Mary Kim.

If you watch the video, keep in  mind that most of the time I don’t think things out very well.  Especially the portion using the Spellbinder dies and the “shimming” required to get the best use of the die sets.  I should have cut the shims to the size of the cutting plate making it easier to make the die work correctly.  :/

Oh, well…..at least the viewer will see what NOT to do when working with this machine.  😀

Leslie

Cheap Trick – Sliding Blade Trimmer.

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the US.  My wish for you is that you enjoy your family and friends on this special day.  Good family and friends, great food, and lots of love and laughter.

After you have risen from your nap after the bountiful foods and drink have a look at this video I have created.  I show you how to use a budget priced paper trimmer to cut a square hole in the center of two A4 size (4-1/4 x 5-1/2) pieces of card stock.  I show you how to get the scored frame around your cut.  I also show you how to use the paper trimmer to score lines along the length of the card stock.

You will see, in the video, that I make a 2 inch square cut out on the card stock pieces.  If you want a rectangle or larger square to feature one of your favorite stamped images or beautiful papers it will be easy for you to do.

Find the center, which I show you the center measurements in the video.  Measure your image or feature element.  Say for example you have a stamped image that is 1-1/2 inches wide by 3 inches tall.  Add 1/2 inch to the measurements to be 2 inches wide and 3-1/2 inches tall.  Your center line measurement will be 1 inch from the left of center and 1 inch from the right of center on the wide part.  For the tall measurement you would be 1-5/8 inches from the top of center and 1-5/8 inches from the bottom of center.

Mark you paper lightly with a pencil and then cut your “aperture” that will feature your stamped image.  There are so many variations you can make with this technique.  Cut out a diamond, square, or rectangle shape that will leave people asking how you did it. 😀

Have fun in your creativity.  Get to know your paper trimmer.  Most of all, if you are a beginning card maker and have limited tools, use what you have to create amazing things.

I hope you enjoyed this video and learned something from it.  I look forward to learning what you do.

Leslie

Vellum quotes and beer?

Yes, indeed.  Vellum quotes and beer.  Well….a beer bottle cap.

Digging through my stash of Sizzix dies I remembered I had a tag die.  Another discontinued one, sorry.  This is a “Traditional Tag” die that has three sizes.  I chose to use the largest of the three.

Sizzix Traditional Tags

Sizzix Traditional Tags

I located another sticker sheet that has been partially used.  Once again, circa 2005.  These are by Ever After Scrapbook Company.  Doing a Google search for the company that created these stickers produces a scrapbook store in Vista, California.  There is only a Facebook page for the Vista, CA store.  So I can’t tell you anything about these stickers.

Ever After Scrapbook Company

Ever After Scrapbook Company

I cut two chipboard tags from the Sizzix die.  I painted both of them with white acrylic paint, both front and back.  One tag features a tag sticker from the above set and one of the vellum quotes I’ve been trying to use up.  See my post from yesterday to see the vellum quotes.

I used a bit of rhinestone ribbon stuff I got from Michaels last year.  I thought it was just enough bling to not obscure the message on the tag.

A small bit of bling

A small bit of bling

“Where does the beer come in?” you may be asking.  Well….here is where it comes in.  Last year I asked Joe to give me his bottle caps.  He looked at me as though I had turned purple with lime green polka dots and sprouted a tail.  Then a look came across his face that I interpreted as “(eye roll) Whatever floats your boat”.  I tried to explain to him what I was going to do with them.  I think he heard “blah blah yadda yadda buzz buzz” because he shook his head and placed the cap in the palm of my hand and promptly walked off.

Bottle cap

Bottle cap

If you have not flattened a bottle cap before…there is a bit of trial and error involved.  The trick is to use a hammer in small sections of the ribbed edge.  Turn the cap upside down with the ribbed part standing up.  Flatten a little section at a time.  I’ve totally whacked the cap via some vigorous pounding.  All I succeeded in doing was rendering the bottle cap totally USELESS!  Finesse is not one of my qualities.  It is like patience.  Hard to come by.

Okay.  Once you have the bottle cap flattened properly paint the ribbed edge.  You can use acrylic paints if you wish to.  I used a very old Gold Pen that I’ve had since BEFORE 2005!  Surprised it still works.

Gold leaf pen

Gold leaf pen

The quote I’m using on this tag features the word “Kiss”.  An unsuccessful hunt (okay, not a very in depth hunt) through my stash of stickers looking for the image of puckered up lips.  Then I remembered I have an 8 x 8 pad of Graphic 45 papers that might have a couple embraced in a kiss.

Graphic 45 paper

Graphic 45 paper

I found a sheet that is filled with a couple locking lips.  The images are fairly small.  My 1″ hole punch was used to extract one image of the couple.

Graphic 45 and 1" hole punch

Graphic 45 and 1″ hole punch

The punched image fits nicely inside the flattened and painted bottle cap.

Image in bottle cap

Image in bottle cap

I am going to make this into an “Epoxy” like embellishment.  I’ll be using Glossy Accents to, first attach the image to the bottle cap, and then to totally cover the image inside the rim of the cap.

Glossy Accents

Glossy Accents

After applying the Glossy Accents you will see the image is milky.  Once the glue fully dries it will be clear, smooth, and SHINY 😀

Milky  until it dries

Milky until it dries

This is how I’m planning on creating this tag.  I think I need a flower or something to hide the glue oops coming out from under the Tim Holtz Adage Ticket.

Unfinished tag

Unfinished tag

Now, the next question I have to ask myself is this.  What am I going to do with these tags?!  I may be trading a load of stickers for a ton of tags and embellishments.  The good part of this is that I’m getting back into being creative and experimenting.  BONUS!

If you are a stamper and make cards….would you consider creating something similar to be attached to a card front when you are in a hurry to put something together?  Or save some for the time when your mojo takes a hike for a while?

Time to go through my discontinued Sizzix dies to see what I can come up with next 😀

Leslie

Scrap chipboard, paper scraps, and old Sizzix dies. Oh My!

I’m working on my craft room for about 15 to 20 minutes each day.  Being sick is just not for me!  It will be a month tomorrow.  Crapazoid!  Three days is long enough but 31 days is ridiculous!  Tuesday of this past week I went to our family physician because I was getting fed up with being sick and wimpy.  The upshot is, according to my doctor, the Sepsis infection is still not out of my body.  He prescribed more antibiotics for me since I was only given a seven day prescription from the hospital when I got discharged.  So now it will be two more weeks of further medicine.

Hey, I’m okay with that as long as this sick and wimpy stuff goes away.  SOONEST!

I’ve managed to get my work table cleared….well a small section of it anyway.  I did get all the stuff I took with me to Arizona put away.  Took a week but it is all put back.

Getting cleared up

Getting cleared up

Do you have a stash of something in your craft space that makes your guts get tied up in knots?  You look at it and have a knee jerk reaction like “I’m going to just chuck all of this crap!”  I have this mess of stickers.  What the heck was I thinking?  Why did I even buy this stuff?!  Most, if not all of it, is well over SIX YEARS OLD!

Box of stickers.

Box of stickers.

Another stash I have that makes me cringe is all of the chipboard scraps I have from other past projects.  It is ALMOST like having an avalanche of crap stuff when I open the door.

Scraps of chipboard

Scraps of chipboard

Now I’m not going to say…..”Old is the new _____ (you fill in the blank)”.  But I’m going to say just because something (or someone) is old doesn’t mean there is no further life in them.

Case in point:  My Sizzix dies that have long been discontinued.

Heart Border die from Sizzix.

Sizzix Heart Border die

Sizzix Heart Border die

Diamond #1 die from Sizzix.

Sizzix Diamond #1

Sizzix Diamond #1

Diamond #1

Diamond #1

Diamond #2 die from Sizzix.

Sizzix Diamond #2

Sizzix Diamond #2

Hearts die from Sizzix.

Hearts die from Sizzix

Hearts die from Sizzix

Frames, Stamp Combo from Sizzix.

Frames, Stamp Combo from Sizzix

Frames, Stamp Combo from Sizzix

A couple of Stampin’ Up!’s discontinued stamp sets.  I DON’T KNOW IF THESE ARE ACTUALLY DISCONTINUED.  I’ve had these for a number of years.

I {Heart} Hearts.

I {Heart} Hearts - Stampin' Up!

I {Heart} Hearts – Stampin’ Up!

Tiny Tags.

Tiny Tags - Stampin' Up!

Tiny Tags – Stampin’ Up!

Vellum quotes that I purchased in 2005 for one of our daughter’s wedding.  I think they are from Deja View.

Vellum quotes by Deja View

Vellum quotes by Deja View

Clear stickers from NRN Designs.  Also circa 2005 for the same wedding.

NRN Designs clear stickers

NRN Designs clear stickers

Acrylic “Jewels” purchased from Hobby Lobby circa 2006.

Acrylic "Jewels"

Acrylic “Jewels”

The “Newby” is from Bead Landing.  An assortment of different sizes of rhinestones.  This set was purchased last year.

Bead Landing rhinestones

Bead Landing rhinestones

Silk flower bouquet, circa 2005, I think I bought them from Michaels.

Silk flower bouquet

Silk flower bouquet

While I have been “convalescing” I’ve spent some time watching YouTube videos.  One of them I watched…..I don’t remember who offered this fabulous tip…..made me rethink my pitiful small stash of fabric flowers.  The fabulous tipster showed how to take the flowers off the stems and stash them for use on other things.  I tried that and it works.  I also changed up the color a little bit by applying a little bit of acrylic paint on the flowers.

Acrylic paint on fabric flowers

Acrylic paint on fabric flowers

The final item is my mounting stash of chipboard off cuts left over from previous projects.  I found the video!  Here it is.

Chipboard off cuts

Chipboard off cuts

So…..here are the results of playing with my old stuff.  Bet you are bored and about to go somewhere else by now. 😀  Now don’t judge me by my lack of finesse with the glue gun.  I can’t always see the stringy bits until I see them in photos. :/

Love that is true never grows old

Love that is true never grows old

Always kiss me goodnight

Always kiss me goodnight

Here in my heart, I give you the best of my love

Here in my heart, I give you the best of my love

Okay, now other people can crank out a gazillion of these in no time flat.  These three have taken me all week to do.  I’m getting back into my craft room and, virtually, starting all over again.

If there is anyone interested in having some, or any, of these die cuts on chipboard to create things from you own stash let me know.  All of the dies I have used were discontinued a long time ago.  You might be able to find them on eBay but you won’t find them at Sizzix.

Whoa! That’s not trash!

I have to confess.  I am a bit of a hoarder.  I keep things that other people would consider quickly tossing in the recycling bin.  Case in point….plastic packaging and product cardboard packing.

Plastic packaging

Plastic packaging

Product cardboard

Product cardboard

I’m going to make you wait until the end of this post to see the results.  Hopefully it will change your mind about keeping stuff you might otherwise throw away.

Let’s start with the plastic packaging.  A pillow box which held some Tim Holtz embossing folders. Cut off one side of the packaging.

Tim Holtz embossing folder package

Tim Holtz embossing folder package

Cut away one side

Cut away one side

I’m going to be using a Stampin’ Up! Top Note die on this plastic piece.  Use a small amount of tape to hold the slippery plastic in place when die cutting.

Stampin' Up! Top Note die

Stampin’ Up! Top Note die

Secure the plastic with a bit of tape

Secure the plastic with a bit of tape

Cool!  Acetate die cut

Cool! Acetate die cut

Now for the cardboard.  This is one of the end flaps from a box of FoodSaver plastic rolls I use.

Product cardboard

Product cardboard

The die I will be using is an old Sizzix die.  An old telephone.  With a curly cord and rotary dial.  I’ve had this die for quite a number of years.  You can use any die you wish, I’m just showing you what I used.

Sizzix telephone die

Sizzix telephone die

Die cut the cardboard, then die cut card stock in the color of your choice.  Then glue the card stock to the cardboard die cut.

Die cut the cardboard

Die cut the cardboard

Die cut card stock

Die cut card stock

Put the pieces together

Put the pieces together

Presto!  Chango!  *flash of bright light and a bit of smoke in the air*

 

Top Note acetate die cut with bling

Top Note acetate die cut with bling

Telephone cardboard die cut

Telephone cardboard die cut

Both of these die cuts are being used to  hold the photos in place.  The sticker tags are also being used as added grip to keep the photos from falling out.  I’ve used Glue Dots on the acetate die cut and Red Liner tape on the bottom portion of the telephone.

I hope this has given you a bit of inspiration for your creative day.

Now….go “Show someone how special they are”.

Leslie

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Two-Fer” Today. Sizzix Paddle Punches and more organization.

I thought about making two posts for today but decided not to.  So I will divide this post into two categories.  The first category will be about “Sizzix Paddle Punches”.

HOW TO USE A SIZZIX PADDLE PUNCH:  These little buggers are difficult to use.  When I began collecting my craft stash, long ago, I didn’t have any hand punches.  I had seen these Sizzix Paddle Punches and thought they would be ideal in place of hand punches.

Sizzix Paddle Punches

Sizzix Paddle Punches

They are, in fact, NOT EASY to use at all.  That is unless you know what you are doing.  These four had been chucked up on the highest shelf of the cupboard I am cleaning and organizing.  They have been up there since shortly after I purchased them over six years ago.

Now.  How to use the Sizzix Paddle Punch.  The tools you will need are as follows.

A Rubber Hammer and a prying implement.  I’m using a small screw driver.  The screw driver is to pry the lid open on the punch.

Rubber hammer and screw driver

Rubber hammer and screw driver

Position the punch on the paper you wish to use.  Have a self healing mat under the paper.  This is to protect your work surface.  There are finger grips on the handle of the Paddle Punch.  The grip will be facing upward.

Place the punch on the desired paper

Place the punch on the desired paper

Using the rubber hammer, you will WHACK away in a “Clockwise” direction around the punch.

Whack the top of the punch

Whack the top of the punch

Whack the side and bottom of the punch

Whack the side and bottom of the punch

Whack the left and top of the punch

Whack the left and top of the punch

The punched item

The punched item

Take a look at the punched item.  If it has not fully cut through the paper you need to give the area another good WHACK.  Using the screw driver, pokey tool, or pencil push the punched item free of the Paddle Punch.

Punched heart

Punched heart

I have punched out all of the designs.

Punch results

Punch results

End of Sizzix Paddle Punch demonstration.

ORGANIZATION continued.

Way  up on the top shelf of the cupboard I am working in I found many things that I had forgotten were up there.  Case in point….some “E-Z Water” used in diorama models, a set of number and letter punches, tins, and the Sizzix Punches.

E-Z Water, letter and number stamps, tins, and Sizzix Paddle Punches

E-Z Water, letter and number stamps, tins, and Sizzix Paddle Punches

The E-Z Water was to be used on a gift for our son’s birthday way back in 2011.  You can see the video and read the post HERE.  The E-Z Water was never used on the project.  I ended up having Joe use Glossy Accents for the water feature instead

I had ideas for the number and letter stamps.  That is as far as it went…..Ideas.

Number and letter stamps

Number and letter stamps

Tins I had purchased from Stampin’ Up! thinking I could use them for mini albums.  Problem is they are way to thin.  A gift card would fit in the tins, though.

A couple of tins

A couple of tins

All these things were chucked up on the shelf and forgotten.  Most of these items have wound up in the “Give Away” bin I have started.

Now, for what is actually going up on the top shelf of this cupboard?  Markers, pens, flock, chalk, and ink spots I located throughout my room and from my work table.

The pens have found a home in a store bought cookie insert.  This will work until I can find a suitable replacement.

Pens

Pens

 

Ink Spots

Ink Spots

The shelf is now organized and looks better.

Organized top shelf

Organized top shelf

Now each time I come into my room, and need some inspiration to keep going away at the organization project I have made for myself, I open the cupboard door and feel a rush of pure pleasure.

 

Neatly organized now

Neatly organized now

Oh, and I found more glue :/  on my work table.  Hidden under some other stuff.

More glue

More glue

From CRAP –

Cupboard above my work table

Cupboard above my work table

To FAB –

Neatly organized now

Neatly organized now

There you have it.  The “Two-Fer” of the day.  Now you can get on with the rest of your day after losing 5 minutes you will never get back :/

Leslie

 

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