Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Product Review: Xyron

Adhesive Madness

I'll admit it right up front and get it out of the way. I'm addicted to adhesive. Glue, glue sticks, glue dots, hot glue, spray glue, sticky tape, duct tape, double-sided tape -- it just goes on and on. I have one of the most ridiculously diverse collections of adhesive, containing all of the above and more.

You want to know what I use more than anything?

My Xyrons. Yes, that is plural. I have the classic X, the 250, and the 500. If money allowed, I'd have the 900, too. Since I don't, the specific review will only cover the first three.

I don't know how I ever lived without them.

At first glance, it may seem silly, not only to "need" a machine that makes with the sticky all over the back of something, but to own more than one. But each different machine has a different size range for use that make them more convenient than others, and the uses are limitless.

-- For starters, have you ever needed to stick down mulberry paper, or get vellum fully stuck to a project? Not easy to get them stuck without the adhesive being visible. And while there are special vellum adhesives, you're really limited to only getting corners stuck down which can be dangerous with delicate vellum that when it crinkles, creases, or folds, it's that way Forever. Little adhesive strips on mulberry paper also show through, which isn't a big deal if you're layering over it and only parts will show, but can be a trial if you're doing large sections that will be clearly visible.

Run vellum or mulberry paper (or really, any paper that has a translucent quality) through a Xyron, and you sticky The Entire Back evenly. No tape lines show through. With the even and full application made possible by a Xyron, you can't see adhesive at all, except on the most translucent vellum, and even then, it's not blatant. Subtle is good, when it comes to the sticky holding your world together.

-- And think about detailed die-cuts. Sure, you can cut the pieces out, and use teensy bits of glue to put all the pieces together, but you get a mess on your work surface from trying to make the pieces sticky, and then you have to get them onto the main die-cut without getting that sticky everywhere else.

Just run the paper through the Xyron first, then the die-cut machine. I don't know how well this works on the electronic die machines, but on the Sizzix and Cuttlebug, it is fantastic. No, it doesn't gum up the dies at all. And then you just peel and stick and the embellishment goes together fast with no mess.

Quick Tip: It's also a marvelous way to get glitter, sand, or any other fine and otherwise messy item onto a piece.

As an example, say you have a die-cut tiara that you want for a princess project. Run it through the Xyron normally, face up. If your Xyron gives you two layers, peel off the clear top that has no sticky.

The back is now sticky (and if you're using lettering this way, you have an entire sheet you can do at once instead of one at a time, making it faster). Turn it OVER, and run it through the machine again.

This time, the top/front is sticky. Peel the protective layer off the sticky top, and apply your glitter/sand/microbeads/metallic flakes to the top, while the back is still securely on the backing sheet. LIGHTLY tap the surface with your fingers, to make sure all the adhesive is covered, then tap off onto a folder or scrap page to return the glitter to the container, peel the item from the backing, and add to your page.

The glitter STAYS where you put it, and you have a completely unique and customized embellishment. This technique is fantastic with vellum, to give very subtle translucent shimmers across a project. If you use coloured vellum, and clear glitter ... the possibilities are endless, and the colour will show through.

-- Detailed pieces of embellishment are often a pain to get properly stuck down. Edges and corners come up -- it's a mess, especially when you're using some of the wonderful sparkle confetti shapes and laser cut hologram confetti that is available now. Not with a Xyron.

Run that otherwise aggravating bit through the Xyron, burnish it against the backing with your finger, not only to make sure it's well stuck but to remove any stray adhesive that is in the open cut spaces. Peel and stick, and it goes down and stays that way.

(BTW, the leftover backing bits are fantastic to use to resist other glues permanently sticking down. You can use them to arrange stickers and sticker bits into the shape you want before applying them to a page, as well.)

Important Tip: The permanent cartridges are perfect to use on items that will get a lot of handling and wear and tear, like covers of albums, keychains, light switch covers. With the full sticky back, there's much less worry about corners or edges peeling back due to handling.

Convinced yet? Then take a look at some of the specifics.

Xyron X

The X will sticky a shape up to 1.5" wide. Cartridge options are both permanent AND repositionable -- fabulous for masking uses. The size is perfect to make small stickers, for use on confetti shapes, and individual letters, without wasting any of a larger cartridge doing a small shape. It's also nice for ribbon, yes, RIBBON.

To use the X, you gently push the piece into the open top of the X leg until it catches on the cartridge, then pull out the other leg by the strip of tape sticking out, and use the serated cutting edge to remove the strip from the machine. Burnish to ensure full stick, peel off the top clear protective layer, peel from the backing, and use.

Xyron 250

Cartridges also come in either permanent or repositionable. The 250 makes stickers up to 2.5" wide.

The 250 has a hand crank, so you just feed the item in till it catches, and keep on cranking till it comes out the other side. Trim, and you're ready to stick.

Xyron 500

Like its smaller siblings, also holds permanent or repositionable cartridges. The 500 gives you up to 5" wide of sticky.

The 500 has a knob instead of a crank, but works the same way: feed in, turn, trim, and stick.

Why so many? Size matters. :D

The different sizes allow you to make different size stickers without wasting precious cartridge. Sure, you can arrange several on a larger one and try to get them to go through evenly without overlapping and thus missing sticky on some vital edge, but it's not the easiest in the world to get multiple items to go through a big one without some shifts in position, thus choose the size of your machine accordingly.

They're so easy, even kids can use them -- and do. My girls have their own copies of the X, and they see frequent use. The X is the perfect size to do labels for the IPod shuffle, and most other small MP3 players, so you can see how often it gets used around here. NOTE: For younger children, buy the repositionable cartridges. Trust me. It will make it so much easier to peel them off your furniture and walls later on.

The basic machines aren't too expensive, and are often on sale. Cartridges can get expensive, which is another reason why it's wise to choose by size -- and to have more than one. My X gets the heaviest use, since it's harder to stick down small items. And when the machines go on sale, the cartridges are usually included in that sale. 30-40% off is the most common sale price, and you can afford to stock up then.

Now, those are just the BASIC Xyron models.

The 510, 850, and 900 (9" of sticky heaven!) will ALL do not only stickers, but magnets and lamination. Each function just requires a separate cartridge. Multiple choices, one machine. Sweet, huh?

While I think the adhesive cartridges for the X could be a little less messy (you do sometimes need to rub the edges to make sure it's clear of glue before applying), on the whole, this is the way adhesive should be.

And while I love the idea of getting I disagreeorted body parts messy and sticky from glue, my PROJECTS should be clean. Xyron assures me that my projects will always be crisp, clear, clean, and free of sticky bubbles of glue.

Final Scores:

X: B+
250 and 500: A

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such a thorough and personalized review. I am planning to make my wedding invitations magnetic and/or sticky, and you have inspired me to incorporate a Xyron into my plan and into my life!