Friday, March 24, 2017

GoPress and Foil Machine review

I have never done a product review before, although I have no problem telling people what I think of various products....especially art/craft products. lol

I received my Couture Creations GoPress and Foil machine yesterday and after much searching online the only information I could find was from Couture Creations. This product is REALLY new to the market so I thought I would share my first impressions.

Let me start with this, I purchased the Anna Griffin version from HSN on the March 8th all day craft day. (I told you in my last post that everything had not arrived yet lol)



It came with the machine itself, a heat proof silicone mat, the pick n' lift 3 in 1 magic tool (super cool tweezers) and 5 sample rolls of foil. 
According to all the sites I saw, the normal version only comes with silver and gold foil samples.

Also, because it was Anna Griffin and an HSN deal, mine came with 3 hot foil stamps as well. 




These are all Anna Griffin labeled metal stamps. A vintage rose, Happy Birthday and a frame. I ordered the additional stamps as well but they are still on back order.

So what makes this machine different from my Minc machine (which I still love BTW)?

For this machine you do not need printer toner images. It uses heat activated foil so you heat up the metal foil stamps then lay the foil and paper (or whatever you want the foil image on) on top and then run the whole thing through your Cuttlebug or other similar embossing machine.

You can watch the Couture Creations video here

I wanted to share with you a few of the things I have tried.

I started with the basic hot foil stamp on card stock.



I used the Happy Birthday stamp and pink foil.
My first impression? It applied the image beautifully! The pink and blue foils are not as shiny as I expected (Minc foil is super shiny) but it has a very nice sheen. I am really pleased with how this turned out.

I then tried the frame stamp.



Again the silver is not super shiny but does have enough sheen to be reflective and is a nice effect.

I encountered a couple issues while using the frame. 
Because you lay down the stamp first to heat it up and then lay down the foil and lastly the card stock it is difficult to line it all up and get it centered on the card stock. So far that has meant cutting the card stock a lot larger than needed and cutting it down after foiling. This leads to wasted card stock so I need to figure out a way to line stuff up.

I also found that, on this image, I did not get even pressure so the foil was not applied evenly.



As you can see, in the center of the image (on both ends even though that is not visible on the top image due to reflection) the foil is not even.
I'm not sure why. I had large shims that covered the entire plate, I don't have the problem when embossing with my Cuttlebug so I don't think that is the issue. I cannot see any visible 'dip' in the center of GoPress surface so I will need to just watch and see how often this happens.

My next experiment was with an embossing folder. Now this was something that really sold me on this machine. I have hundreds of embossing folders and to be able to use them in a new way is exciting.



You lay down a metal shim on the heat plate (I have one from Cottage Cutz called a Universal Shim plate and cost around $10)
You then put down your foil, then your card stock and finally your embossing folder (opened up and the 'bumpy' side down against the card stock). You top this with your Cuttlebug B plate and run it through your Cuttlebug.

It is a very interesting effect. But again, the center did not get even coverage. The center if fairly light  yet the edges are much darker. It is a background so most of the center will be covered with something else but still...



Again, I am not sure if it is a defect in the GoPress or something with  my Cuttlebug. I will need to play around more. Possibly see about using a thin rubber shim under the B Plate to help with pressure.

So, moving right along, thin metal cutting dies. I have TONS of them! How about you?
They work in this machine as well.....just like the foil stamps! Or so they say.



This is a rose cutting die from Anna Griffin. I think it was in one of her seasonal die sets from last year.
If you watch the videos from Couture Creations they say you can use these just like the hot foil stamps but they will add foil and not cut.
Well.....it definitely added foil but it also cut. It cut clean through the outer edge of the entire die. It cut partially through the inner pieces. Is this a bad thing? No, it actually is really cool! But not exactly what I was expecting. I think by reducing the shim thickness when running through the Cuttlebug I should be able to stop this from happening. But then again. I like that I have this really cool rose foiled die cut to play with now. :-)

And lastly, leather....yep Leather!

Online they say it can foil leather. The examples I saw were faux leather textured paper/card stock. You tell me leather I think LEATHER!



I have a bag of leather tags (and other scraps) I picked them up for a song at an estate sale years ago thinking that some day I would find a use for them. It is really high quality stuff. I have used a few over the years. They all have paper labels on the back from some upholstery place. Very cool.

So, I grabbed a butterfly die (probably not my best choice) and ran it through the machine. Voila! foil on leather. And this stuff does not scratch or scrape off!!!

Now here is my issue (and I think it has to do with the fact that these tags are super soft leather and a little over 1/16" thick) the foil applied to areas I didn't want.



Can you see it deeply embossed into the leather (which is so cool!) but at the top around the antennae it applied foil everywhere. I think because the entire die got pressed into the soft leather.

I tried cutting the foil down so it conformed more to the shape of the die.



It was better but still has issues. Due to the problem I listed earlier about not being able to see to line things up exactly, I can't cut the foil down much more. So I think if I want to foil more leather tags (and I think I do lol) I will need to stick to dies that do not have indented areas like this one so I can cut the foil down much closer to the actual shape.

So, would I recommend the GoPress and Foil machine?

Yes!

Do I think it has a learning curve? Sort of. I think it will take a few tries to get the shim pressure correct. But even my 'mistakes' are still usable (well maybe not those butterflies until I can figure out how to scrape off some of that excess foil lol)

This is a small, lightweight machine which makes it easy to move around and store.

It works with their hot foil stamps and my embossing folders and cutting dies which gives me hundreds! of images and patterns that can be foiled onto different media.

They say it even works with my Minc foil so I will have to test that out as well.

I think this machine is a great addition to my craft room. It is another way to add that little extra umpf to my projects and I am looking forward to experimenting with it even more.


UPDATE:

Last night while hubby was talking with a guy about putting a new roof on our house  I was playing (hiding) in the craft room.

I really wanted to see if I could remove the excess foil from the leather tags.

I tried using a stiff stenciling brush which did take off a bit of the shine but didn't really make a dent in the foil.

I then wondered if an eraser would work. No! Not my brightest idea but I had to try. lol

I then thought, I just want to scrape this stuff off.....bingo! I grabbed a craft knife and lightly scraped the surface. Ha! The foil began to disappear. I have no idea where it went because it wasn't on the knife or my desk but I don't care. It is no longer on my tags.


Was I able to remove every bit? No. Did I remove enough that you don't notice it any more. Yes!


I think these are really cool and would be great attached to luggage or dangling from the strap of your purse.  I am seeing more leather foiled tags in my future.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Has Almost Sprung

Spring is just a couple days away and yet the east coast is digging out from another blizzard! Wow! Such crazy weather!!!

And the entire world anxiously awaits the birth of April's baby. I have the feed running 24/7 at my house. My computer and iPad are always focused on April....I really don't want to miss the birth after all these weeks of waiting and watching but I have a feeling it will be at some time when I am away from home or asleep lol

And in case you are one of the rare people that hasn't heard of April the giraffe you can find the live feed here. (until she has her baby and then it will be gone)

Even with my eyes glued to my computer screen I still finished up a few projects to share with you today.

Let me first say, in case you missed it, March 8, 2017 was an all day craft day at HSN.com.  These are very dangerous days as they introduce amazing new products to millions of crafters who love to hoard new supplies and gadgets! lol


Anna Griffin introduced a set of edge dies called the Decorative Border die set. 

They are four gorgeous, lacy dies that cut just the edge or can cut the image on all sides so it can be used as a normal die cut. 

This card has one of the edge dies plus the Happy Birthday die from the Wishful Thinking die set and a butterfly from her Butterfly cut and emboss set.

I added an embossed strip in white (probably an Anna Griffin embossing folder lol), some sheer silver glitter ribbon and some jewels to the butterfly.

This is a super fast and easy card yet looks very fancy. 



Here is another card using the a different edge die from the set.

I added the dark teal border which I embossed with white ink. This folder is from Anna's Letterpress embossing folder set. 

The flowers are from a flower die set she featured a year or two ago. And the Happy Birthday stamp is from Close To My Heart.


This card incorporates 3 products from the March 8th show.

Anna had these wonderful Pocket cut and emboss dies. Four cutting dies that create gorgeous, intricate pockets to add to your cards and scrapbooking pages. I used the rose die for this card, cut in an olive green.

She also had a die cut embellishment set to go with the pocket dies. It is full of large flowers and backgrounds that don't get dwarfed by the large pockets. 

And finally, she had an incredible set of Coloring Cards and Rubber Stamps
You get a set of cards to color and even better, you get a set of matching rubber stamps so you can keep recreating the nine card images and add them to any project. 

For this card I stamped one of the rose images and colored with alcohol inks. I then layered it, using the same olive card stock to create a small note card to slip into the pocket.

Here is a close up of the note card.



I turned this whole thing into an easel card so my sentiment will be inside the note card.

So, yes, I bought A LOT of the new Anna Griffin products this time (and a couple still have not yet arrived) but what can I say, they were all too gorgeous to pass up lol


Unfortunately not all my time was for just playing around.
A friend lots 3 family members in a week. I cannot even imagine how much pain is in her heart right now.
The minute I found out I ran into my craft room and put together this simple card.
This is why I love having so many cutting dies around. I find that a lot of times I can create a card very quickly by just pulling dies out of the drawer. I love my Cricut but it can be more time consuming.

This is an off white card base. I then cut and embossed Anna Griffin's Flower Bramble for a background layer cut in cream. 

The flower is from the same AG flower set I used for the roses in the previous edge die card. The base layer is in the same cream as the flower bramble. The top layer is in tan.

The text is from the Diamond Press 17 piece card making set.  I cut it twice. the bottom layer is in the same off white as the card base, the top is in brown.



I also got to make a fun card!

My brother in law's birthday is next week (and I actually mailed his card in time for it to arrive BEFORE his birthday -- first time this year! Yay!)

He is a hunter and last year I made his this card. Which he loved.


There was no way I could top that card. So I went in a different direction.



Party animal birthday!  lol

I created this on my Cricut Explore. There are a lot of pieces on here but it went together fairly quickly.

Here is a list of where I found all the parts:
Elk: Outdoor Man
Party Banner: Life's a Party
Sunglasses: Party Photo Props
Banner on the antlers: Paper Pups
Boot: April Showers
Sock: Teresa Collins December 25th

I cut three equal strips for the background and ran them through the Cuttlebug using the Happy Birthday folder.

I love this card. It cracks me up. I hope he likes it too.



And of course, back to April the giraffe.

I have always liked giraffes. They have the most beautiful eyes.
So, like I said before, I have been on baby watch pretty much non stop. I only take a break to sleep (or when hubby makes me leave the house to run errands lol)

I felt a strong NEED to make something.




I started with a 9x12 stretched canvas. I base coated it in cream acrylic paint. 

I then added a vinyl silhouette of the giraffe. (I forgot to take a picture of that)

I then painted another coat of cream which kind of seals the edges of the vinyl so the next layer of paint doesn't seep under.

Next came the sky (a combination of a couple blue paints and some while streaks) and the ground (3 shades of tan and some drab green)

I then removed the vinyl leaving the image you see above.  (which is really kind of cool in itself)  It reminds me of something you might see in a kid's book....what am I? :-)


I then added the vinyl details. I purchased this svg from Etsy

After application I knew I needed to make the eyes black so I used the "hide contour' feature and hid everything but the eyes and then cut them out of black vinyl.

I LOVE how this turned out.
I don't use vinyl very often so I was nervous about getting it lined up on top of the cream background but I only had a couple very small issues which I was able to paint over.

Now I need to decide if I want to frame it or just hang it as is.....and where on earth I am going to find a place on my walls????? 


I hope you have enjoyed this post. I know it is unusually link heavy today. Sorry about that but unlike most times I actually know where I got most everything so I thought I would share in case you want to grab some of these items for yourself. (I have no association and receive nothing - unfortunately lol)

Have a wonderful week. If you are snowed in I hope you are crafting!

Thanks for stopping by!