Thursday, September 17, 2009

NEW TECHNIQUE Clarification

Apparently, my long-winded self can churn out a gazillion word post and STILL leave people wondering what the heck I'm talking about! :) After re-re-reading it from the point of view of someone not used to the Cricut or SCAL, I don't blame them, as I think I left out a step or two.

So here's a few clarifications, including what the new technique actually IS. Hehe.

My angel wing books in the previous post were NOT cut from acrylic sheets from the craft store. They are cut from the plastic sheets I showed (in the first picture in that article) inserted into these special laminating folders and run through my laminating machine. (The company who makes them call them pouches, but they open like a folder, and that's what I'm going to call them from here on!) Penny called the plastic sheets acetate and that may be the correct description. NOT acrylic. Don't ask me what the difference is, though!

I place a single sheet of the acetate from Michael's into the laminate folder and then run it (fold first) through the laminate machine. The laminator looks like a printer and is apparently a low heat roller or something similar that rolls the folder through and it comes out laminated on the bottom. It goes from being a limp, floppy sort of opaque looking thing to perfectly clear and much stiffer, kind of like your driver's license. Someone asked if you could use an iron but I don't think it would be cool enough or could give even enough pressure. The plastic IS heat resistant and doesn't buckle if you use a glue gun on it, as I mentioned before. I don't know how an embossing gun would do. I think it needs pressure, too, to adhere correctly.

This is a picture of the box my laminator came in. I think I paid $23 @ Sam's Club. I wouldn't pay more than $30 for one unless you plan to use it in other ways! It came with 20 thermal laminating folders but I got more because @ $5.88 for 50, they seemed a bargain. You can see that package in the previous post.

Below, I attempt to show you what the folders look like, along with the transparent plastic sheets. It's rather hard to show how transparent something is! Anyway, the opaque whitish rectangle below is the folder, and a sheet of the clear plastic is on top of it. Really, it is! :)

I wanted to show how flimsy the plastic is before laminating. I'll call this the Flop Test! First shot below is the clear acetate sheet from M's.

This is the opaque laminating folder. Floppy as it gets! (Notice the dust? More about that later!)

I'm placing the clear plastic into the opaque laminating folder below.

Surprise! I decided to test my alcohol ink theory with this post. Worked like a charm! This photo shows the opaque pouch with the clear alcohol-inked plastic sheet inside. I'm holding it up to the sun to show how opaque it starts off being. I made sure it was totally dry before I ran it through the machine, by the way! I didn't want to start a fire or something!

Below is my laminating machine at work! Its funny how dark the laminate folder appears in the upper part of the photo. See at the bottom of the photo how the folder comes out clear - no longer white or opaque? Cool!

I've decided it really needs white behind it to show the true colors of the inks, but this was about trial and error! I know to add a sheet of paper if I use alcohol inks next time...of course that kind of takes the transparency away! But, you could have the white be on a page behind the alcohol inked one! Or use a white vinyl frame on the back...sooooo many possibilities!

Here is what it looks like now that it's been run through the machine. This one came out perfectly clear, no fogginess, yay! (The fogginess didn't happen THAT often but enough to be annoying!) However, in pursuit of Truth in Journalism, I will say that I chose not to show the giant HAIR that managed to ride into the folder before I laminated it! :P Let my mistake be your warning...dust is bad for this technique!!! It's also bad if you use vinyl on top of dust or hair later...nuff said!

And now that the sheets have been laminated, here's what the Flop Test shows:

Everything is much firmer, stiffer. And below is a shot of one of the $2 blue plastic coated sheets I got at my local craft store doing ITS Flop Test.

It's just about the same as the laminated one above it. The difference is that mine is FAR lighter in weight! Yes, it's also not as large (the blue coated stuff is 12"x12" and mine is 8.5"x11", remember), but even so, it's much lighter. This may not make a difference to most people, but if you mail one to someone it will save some postage!

The lamination process is quite fast, once you get set up. The machine takes a few minutes to heat up but there's a ready light and it takes less than a minute to laminate the sheet. I did a bunch of them at once and have them just waiting for a new idea to cut in SCAL or DS!

This technique is FAR less expensive than the nearly $2 a sheet craft store acrylics. 50 sheets of craft store stuff would cost nearly $100, but 50 sheets of laminated acetate is either $26 - or only $18 if you have 40% off coupons for M's...and this week they're 50% off, which would be about $16 for 50 8.5"x 11" pages! AND you can forgo the Michael's acetate altogether, and just use the laminating folders. I still haven't tried to laminate two folder laminated empty is not quite as sturdy as using the plastic sheet inside. But if you laminate two folders together, the cost for 50 sheets goes down to approximately $12!

Having said all that, online, you may be able to find 12"x 12" sheets much cheaper than $2 but I really haven't looked into it that much. If you find something cheaper than my idea, would you let me know???

So now my goal is to come up with some ideas for transparent books...I'm thinking dragonfly wings would be so cool! Even a butterfly? That would be fun to decorate, or maybe use the inks on! Maybe a baby bottle? Sexy negligee? :)

I saw one amazing site that has christening gowns...those were simply incredible! She used the page layers for different clothing there was a lace trimmed apron on front, the sleeves were pearl beaded on another page, etc etc. I'll see if I can find the link, if anyone's interested! (I wanted so badly to use my Martha Stewart lace punches with the angel wing books but couldn't figure out a good spot to place them! If I make something with straighter sides then maybe I'll figure out a use for it!) I also found a roll of strung pearl beads (from the ribbon department) in my stash but couldn't figure out a good way to attach them invisibly to the edge of the album...any ideas? I did go buy a little bottle of white pearlized paint for fabric that looked just like a tiny 3d pearl but that's a lot of dottin'! That might be a good way to attach the pearl strand though...

Any suggestions about anything I've written here? If so, or if you have any questions, please leave a comment below! Thanks for looking and Happy Cutting!


Carole N. said...

I think your angel wings are beautiful. You have so much patience explaining how you made them.
I have a Xyron and some pouches that don't have to be heat set so I am thinging this technique would work...just without the heat.

Thanks for sharing all the info.


Karma said...

Hi, Carole! Thanks so much! I haven't used the Xyron type laminate so I'm not sure how stiff they are when laminated. I have used the so called self-laminating pouch/folders before but they are too floppy to use for making books with. (I got them at Staples) But if you use the acetate from M's it miught be okay!Let me know how yours works out, okay? :)