Monday, 19 November 2012

Some Craft Equipment

This is my second blog post today, so to see my previous one – more cards from the Card Factory – please scroll down .

Now for this one. I’ve got a couple of very useful tools that I’ve had for a while, and thought you might be interested to hear about them.

Hot and Sticky

A few months ago I got totally fed up with my hot glue gun. It was just a cheap one which was actually on long-loan from someone, and I was returning stuff to him so thought I’d give it back to him, and take the opportunity to get a better one. I found what I thought looked like a brilliant one on Ebay – cordless (which I wanted, as it gives you a lot more freedom) but when it arrived, first of all it wouldn’t work at all, until I discovered that across the inside of the socket where the cord went into the charger, there was a little sprue of plastic which prevented contact being made. It heated up fine after I’d scraped this out. However, as soon as the glue was hot, it proceeded to pour out of the gun at an unstoppable rate! Total rubbish. Even worse than my original one! Managed to get my money back so that was OK.

I launched myself into an all-out search on the Internet for the Ultimate Glue Gun – most of them available in the UK seem pretty rubbishy, and then I found this:

Made by Bosch, it is a Rolls-Royce of a glue gun. OK, it set me back a bit, but it was Worth It! I managed to get it at a very good price online, actually, after a lot of shopping around. In this picture, it is sitting on its charger base. The small white disc just where the cable emerges is nothing to do with the glue gun – it’s a small plastic foot which has fallen off something, and I can’t find out what, so it’s staying there till I do!

Here it is, off the charger – it still stands up extremely well. you can see that there are some glue sticks stored in the base, which is very handy.

This gun has the finest nozzle I’ve ever seen on a glue gun. It is super-comfortable to hold and use (very well designed) and the most amazing thing of all is that it heats up in 15 seconds!!! When I think of the hours I’ve wasted, waiting for glue guns to heat up because I haven’t remembered to turn them on in time… this is super-efficient! I consider it a worth-while investment, as I do use hot glue quite a bit, especially for flower-making and other 3-D work.

Layer upon Layer

The other thing I’ve got, I was given months ago – I did some work for a friend’s mum ages ago, and she and her mum sent me a voucher from a craft supplier, and for some time I couldn’t think what to get with it. Eventually I decided on something that I knew would help a hopeless matter and layerer like myself! (The number of cards I’ve ruined with wonky matting and layering… well, we won’t go there!) It’s called “Perfect Layers” and it does what it says on the tin.

Basically you get three quite substantial clear rulers, about 12 inches long, complete with an instruction sheet. The one design flaw, I think, is that they do not have measurements on them – that would have been really useful! Each edge has steel embedded in it for cutting against, and there are steps along the length of each one, at a different measurement from the edge in each case, so you get 10 different measurements from 1/16 in to 1 in – 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 and 1 in. That’s a lot of different choices for matting and layering!

What you do is cut your top layer to the size you want, and stick it down onto the mat, not worrying about lining it up, as long as you allow more than enough around the edge for you to cut it down to size. You choose the ruler with the measurement you want, and if you are right-handed, you look for the measurement at the top-right of the ruler. (If you are left-handed, you choose the measurement at the top-left of the ruler.) You place the ruler onto your work, and butt the step against the top layer which is already glued down. Then you take a knife and simply cut along the edge! You repeat for all four sides, and you are done. You can then obviously add more matting and layering as you choose.

I think this is a really cool idea, and the first time I have tried it out for real was on my Dad’s steampunk birthday card back in June – it worked absolutely brilliantly – a perfect result in no time, no measuring, and no stress!

What a lovely gift from two very special ladies. I think of them every time I use it!

Shoshi Rules, OK

Today my hubby bought me a length of white guttering, with some brackets for it, and a couple of end caps. I am planning to cut this to just over 2 feet in length, and mount it on the inside of the solid upright of my work desk, and keep my rulers in it.

I’ve been frustrated for ages about ruler storage. They are too tall to store upright, and on the desk, they keep skidding about and getting in the way. Now I’ve got these three “Perfect Layers” rulers, it’s got even worse! I’ve got my normal 12-in ruler with 16ths all the way along, a Tim Holtz ruler with steel cutting edge, my 15-in ruler with steel cutting edge which I bought when I lost my Tim Holtz one (which I promptly found again, of course!) and a 2-foot metal ruler that I don’t use very often because it’s quite difficult to see the markings on it (and anyway, for my purposes, transparent is more useful – I only had it for cutting against, before I realised that steel-edged transparent ones were available). I shall keep it, though, because sometimes it’s useful to have a nice long ruler.

How does everyone else store their pesky rulers? Mine seem to have a life of their own, and I’m looking forward to taming them at last!


  1. I have those Perfect Layers Shoshi, love them ! I use them an awful lot and my layers are looking so much better and more professional. I occasionally have a 'slip' when I'm not paying enough attention so I have had to cut down a layer to a smaller size than planned - but they are a great tool.

    I like your storage idea, mine are in a tool caddy - meant for cutlery I think - and they're not too badly behaved in there.

  2. Hi Shoshi.
    Great post.... Especially as I have a life-long love affair with tools. Can't resist them. I like the magic things they do, allow me to do. I like looking after them and they respond by working well.
    The Bosch glue gun has my attention! I've had two or three shockers and this looks great. Even though it's a bit costly, the money spent on the other three would have paid for it. I like most things Bosch.
    The rulers sound good. Well designed jigs are great. In another century ;-) I used to run a therapeutic workshop for people with a disability. I designed jigs for some of the work we did, and made a few of them. Had a buddy who helped with the making too.
    It's nearly 10 AM here and a perfect morning. Warm in the sun, breezy in the shade, dragonflies are dancing, poppies are rioting. Dixie (my cat) is very chatty and soaking up the warmth on the brick terrace. Thank you for sharing.

  3. P.S. great storage idea. I have mine in a drawer but that won't take the long ones. I have a set square and protractor in same shallow drawer so that works quite well. I'll put up a pic on Wednesday.

  4. I have a stack of 6 rulers lined up against the side of my drawer, it's not ideal, but so much better than in a pot on my desk which used to topple over at the slightest knock. I'm not sure why I have so many but I do use them all, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!


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