Saturday, June 30, 2012

From the Archives: My Mini Album Process

Hi, everyone! I'm continuing to re-post older blog posts with useful information. I've chosen posts that answer some of my most frequently asked questions. This one is on how I store my scraps. This blog post was originally posted on June 12, 2009. This is the second in a three part series where I examine my creative process. This entry will focus on my process for creating mini albums. See the previous blog post for my process for creating layouts.

Like my layout creative process, my mini album process can be broken out into two distinct starting points as well:

1) Starting from a page kit. This is the process I use if I have a very specific idea in mind of what I want my mini album to be. I used this process in several of my videos, such as my Seaquarium mini album and my Christmas mini album.


2) Anarchy. This is the process I use if I have a general idea for a mini album, but not a specific plan on how to carry it off. I used this "process" in the creation of my Engagement mini album.

Okay, so what does this actually mean for my creative process? Let me see if I can break it down a little bit more.

The first creating process is very similar to that of my layouts. Since I have a strong idea in my head of what the finished product should look like, I choose photos and page kit and mini album and just get started. I still make decisions as I go ~ I don't usually use sketches, for example ~ but since I know what I want it to look like when I am finished, the decisions are easy to make.

The second creating process is quite a bit different. Usually when I am doing a mini album with the CHAOS process ~ like the Engagement mini album ~ I start with a vague idea & try to use all scraps if possible.

With the Engagement mini album, my idea was that I wanted a small book that was soft and romantic. That was it!

I had one picture & it was sepia toned, so I pulled all my cream-colored scraps and put them on my desk. Then I wanted some more color, so I pulled my pink and blue scraps and put them on my desk. Then I put any stamps and inks that worked with the theme/feel on my desk. I grabbed some brads and other embellishments and added them to the pile as well. I just kept grabbing stuff I might use until I had a huge pile of things on my desk. If you watch the first video in the Engagement mini album series, you can see the pile of stuff on my desk.

By the time I'm done making my pile, I have, essentially, created a page kit. So I an now sit down at my desk and start pulling papers together and pushing elements around until I like how it looks enough to glue it down.

I am equally happy with the creations from both processes ~ I like the Seaquarium and Engagement mini albums equally well, for example ~ but it is much easier to clean up after if I am using page kits!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

From the Archives: My Layout Process

Hi, everyone! I'm continuing to re-post older blog posts with useful information. I've chosen posts that answer some of my most frequently asked questions. This one is on how I store my scraps. This blog post was originally posted on June 11, 2009.

I wanted to take a little time to talk about my creative process since I've been getting a few questions about aspects of it: whether I use sketches, how I choose papers, colors, etc. So, I thought I would just go over it all. At least, I hope it clears everything up for you ~ it may actually just make everyone more confused! :D In this blog entry, I'll be focusing on layouts. I will do two more blog entries on this subject: one related to my process for creating mini albums, and one related to my process for creating cards.

I always felt that my creative process was a little bit backwards from what most people probably do. My assumption {which may be completely wrong, and probably is} has been that most people start with the pictures they want to showcase and build the page from there. I actually start with the paper I want to use {mostly} or layout design I'd like to try {sometimes} and think about the photos I want to use or the story I want to tell second.

So how does that work for me exactly?

When I do layouts, I scrap from kits I make ahead of time {2012 update: see yesterday's blog post for more info on how I make the kits}, so my process can go one of two ways:

1) making kits, choosing my story/pictures, and then selecting the kit I feel best matches the feel I'm going for with the story {more common}


2) making kits, deciding on the way I want the layout to look, selecting the kit I feel best matches the layout I want to create, and then choosing my story/pictures based on the idea of the layout last {less common}

In both scenarios, I'd already matched patterned paper to cardstock to embellishments when I made the kit, so when I actually sit down to scrap I don't have to worry about that. I also do not try to match my paper to the colors in my photos ~ that way madness lies. Almost all pictures look good with almost all papers ~ you'd really be surprised how little clashing there is ~ so I choose kits/pictures based on mood or emotion. Do I want the layout to be bright and cheerful? Subtle and understated? Serious? Scary? What reaction am I going for with this project? That's what helps me choose the right kit for the right project.

Once I'm ready to create, I just spread the photos out on my desk and start start playing. I grab different colors of cardstock and different patterned papers and just move things around until it look right to me. I am pretty decisive, so I just go with what feels good to me. I don't worry too much about the finished product ~ I just keep adding elements or taking them away until I love what I have left. That's when I know I'm done & it's time to start gluing stuff down ~ when I love it.

Very occasionally I get stuck for an idea. That's when I turn to my "Inspiration Notebook" which I keep in a basket by my desk with my idea books. This is just a cheap composition book here I glue layouts, magazine articles, etc., that catch my eye & I think will work for a layout. But that's a topic for another post, I think!

How do you create? What's your process? I'd love to hear from you!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

From the Archives: Making Page Kits

Hi, everyone! I'm continuing to re-post older blog posts with useful information. I've chosen posts that answer some of my most frequently asked questions. This one is on how I store my scraps. This blog post was originally posted on June 10, 2009.

Today I wanted to write a little about the page kits I use in my scrapping. Many of the questions I get about my videos have to deal with either page kits or my scrap process, and the two are somewhat interrelated. I have prepared a little video of myself making a new kit which is available to view below or over on my YouTube channel.

At this point, I am scrapbooking almost exclusively from page kits I make myself. Now, I didn't wake up one morning and say to myself, "I think I'll make page kits!" Like everything else in this hobby, it has been a process for me. My evolution into scrapping from page kits started with my first purchase of a monthly kit. I liked how easy it was to create projects when all the papers and cardstock and embellishments were coordinated, but I didn't really want to keep buying kits since I liked my supplies. So I got the idea to create my own kits to incorporate my newer supplies with my older supplies.

I started by getting some Cropper Hopper Page Planners and keeping just new things in them. Over time I started adding stuff from my stash to the new products and eventually I got in the habit of creating page kits from a combination of new and old product every time I made a new purchase. When I find that I always skip a particular page kit and never reach for it anymore I take it apart ~ that means I'm sick of what's in there. Anything left in the kit gets returned to my stash and I now have an empty sleeve for a new kit. I keep all my kits in one of these Large Rhombus Strage Totes from the Container Store:
{2012 Update: I now keep them in storage cubes from IKEA designed to fit in the EXPEDIT where I store most of my scrap supplies}

The cubes hold a ton of Cropper Hopper Page Planners & they stay upright so I can easily flip through them to find the one I want. This makes it easy to sit down and start creating.

Retreat and crop packing are both easier. I just grab some page kits and some photos and drop them into my tote. Then I add some stamps, some inks and a few other generic embellishments and I'm ready to go!

Since I started scrapping almost exclusively from these kits, my scrap process has changed quite a bit. In the next three posts, I'm going to go over my scrapbook process for layouts, mini albums and cards. In these posts I'll go over how I find inspiration, how I utilize the kits, and what I do when I'm finished with a project. I hope you find the information helpful! Or, at the very least, not boring!

~Kathryn :D
  Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From the Archives: Storing Scraps

Hi, everyone! I'm continuing to re-post older blog posts with useful information. I've chosen posts that answer some of my most frequently asked questions. This one is on how I store my scraps. This blog post was
originally posted on September 16, 2009.

The other day I was chatting with a friend about scraps & whether or not we use them, how to store them, etc. She keeps her scraps, but doesn't use them ~ gasp! I used to be the same way, but I made some adjustments to how I store my scraps and now they are much more user-friendly. So, I thought that I would share my scrap storage system with you guys in case it will help you use your own scraps a little bit more.

I store my scraps in two Artbin One Compartment Super Satchels like the one below:

I keep my patterned paper scraps in one, and my cardstock scraps go in the other. Then I have large 12"x12" tabbed dividers I use to separate each bin by color:

1. Black & White
2. Natural {vanilla, kraft, browns, etc.}
3. Pink/Red
4. Yellow/Orange
5. Green
6. Blue
9. Purple

Now, the secret to me actually using my scraps has less to do with how they're stored and more to do with how they're cut. I used to keep all my scraps and I never used them. Now I only keep some of them & I use them all the time. The difference is in determining what to keep.

The first thing I do after completing a layout or dismantling a page kit is cut my scraps down into certain sizes. The sizes are different for patterned paper and cardstock, so I'll break it out by type.

1. I check to see if there are any scraps sized 8.5"x11" or larger. These I cut down into 8.5"x11" sheets and keep those in my paper racks with my other solid cardstock. This almost never happens.
2. Then I look for scraps sized 5.5"x8.5" or 4.25"x11" or larger {but smaller than 8.5"x11"} I cut those down into card bases and store them with my other card-making supplies. This gives me plenty of ready-to-go card bases in a variety of colors.
3. After those have been trimmed down and set aside, I look for any scraps large enough to cut into 4.5"x6.5" photo mats. These get filed in my Artbin by color.
4. Once I have sorted all those out, I cut the rest of the scraps down into 3.5"x5" pieces. These are great for smaller photos, for journaling spots, for tags and also for running through my diecut machine.
5. Any remaining scraps I run through my paper shredder. I collect these brightly colored shreds and use them as packing material for gifts.

Patterned Paper:
1. First off, I look for any scraps sized 8"x10" or larger. This is a good size for a large accent piece on a 12"x12" layout, and I use that size often on my layoutss, so it works well for me to have options in this size. Of course, I almost never have scraps this size, but when I do, I file these in my Artbin by color.
2. Then I look for scraps sized 8"x8" or larger {but smaller than 8"x10"} and I cut those down and file them away.
3. After those have been trimmed down and set aside, I look for any scraps large enough to cut into 4.25"x6.25" photo mats. I often like to use a piece of patterned paper between a photo and a cardstock mat, and this is a great size for that. This size also works very well for decorating the fronts of cards or the pages of mini albums.
4. I cut the rest of the scraps down into strips of 3"x6" or 2"x6" depending on how much I have left. These are great for accent pieces on a page, or for card accents, and they're especially great for decorating mini book pages.
5. Like the cardstock scraps, any remaining patterned paper scraps get run through my shredder to save for packing material for gifts.

So, what does all this math actually do to help me wth my scrapping!? It means that my scraps are all nice and neatly sorted into easy-to-grab and easy-to-use sizes. They're so handy that I can easily make cards and even entire mini albums just from scraps. My Engagement Mini Album was made entirely from scraps stored in this method AND sent to the bride-to-be in a box filled with brightly colored shredded material made from the scraps that were too small to save.

What I like about this method is that all of the scraps are used, one way or another ~ either in projects or as packing material.

Engagement Mini Album, Part One:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Two:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Three:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Four:

Engagement Mini Album, Part Five:

Finished Engagement Mini Album:

If you already have a great storage solution for storing and using your scraps, please let me know what it is. My solution works well for me, but it can always use some tweaking. ;) And if you store your scraps but don't use them, you might consider cutting them into sizes you frequently use in your scrapping or cardmaking. That will make them easy to grab for a project!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sharing Funny Scrapbooking Tales

Hi, everyone! This week I'll be re-posting some of my early blog entries related to my commonly used products and altering an ATG. I get many questions about these items, so I thought I'd repost this for you. This blog post was originally posted on June 25, 2009.

I have mentoned this before, but it is worth repeating. I am really clumsy. I mean really, really clumsy. Like, one time I was leaning against a wall, not moving, and chatting with some friends and I fell over. Just literally fell over. {This actually happened years ago and the friends that were with me still bring it up: No, Susie, she just fell over! It was the strangest thing!} It is also a pretty common occurence for me to trip while walking on perfectly flat ground and walk into the walls of my house. Which, considering they don't move at all, is pretty sad.

When people look at me funny, I tell them I have an inner ear problem.

Basically this means that I spend a great deal of my time 1. looking strange, 2. hurting myself, and 3. pondering where I got XYZ bruise/scrape/cut/burn/etc., as I often don't remember.

This clumsiness also translates into my scrapbooking. I hurt myself a lot while I am scrapbooking. Like there was the time I thought my retractable X-Acto was retracted and went to click the button to make the blade pop out only to discover that 1. it wasn't retracted and 2. that wasn't the button that makes the blade pop out, it was the blade. Ouch! Who knew scrapping could be so dangerous? Not me!

My all time greatest scrapping blooper has got to be from when my friend and I altered an ATG together. For ease of storytelling, lets just call her "Kim." Which works out pretty well, because that's actually her name. Anyway, Kim and I were in the parking lot behind our local scrapbook store, taking a cropping break to alter her ATG. So we had put down newspaper all over the asphalt so we could spray primer on this ATG. It was going to start raining in about ten seconds, so we wanted to spray the gun quickly and then bring it inside before it got wet.

I don't remember if I thought Kim was taking too long, or if I didn't like her spray paint technique, or if I thought I was an ATG spray painting genius because this was the third one I was altering, but for whatever reason, I was all, "Kim, you're doing it wrong. Give me the spray paint." And she gave me the eyeroll that essentially means, "Yeah, whatever ~ I was handling this just fine on my own, but I am giving you what you want because you have crazy eyes." And then I, in my infinite wisdom and vast spray painting experience, said, "THIS is how you do it."

And then sprayed myself in the face. Right. In. The. Face.

Yes, ladies, I sprayed myself in the face with a can of black Krylon Fusion. Not only that, but my mouth was open. Yum! Then it just became a comedy of errors as Kim and I rolled around in the parking lot screeching with laughter and unable to speak or breathe. Then we did finally get the gun painted before the rain started falling but it was a near miss.

So, there's my funny/embarrassing scrapbooking tale. I want to hear yours! I know you have them: bizarre injurious, crop nightmares, strange photo ops, etc. Come on ~ don't be shy! I told you mine!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Altering an ATG, Part Two

Hi, everyone! This week I'll be re-posting some of my early blog entries related to my commonly used products and altering an ATG. I get many questions about these items, so I thought I'd repost this for you. This blog post was originally posted on May 8, 2009.

Now that you've prepped your ATG for paint, the third step in this alteration process is to prime and paint your ATG. I recommend applying the primer and then waiting twenty-four hours before painting. Most spray paint cans say they dry more quickly than that, but I want to make sure that I have a nice, strong hold. The ATG will be handled quite a bit, and I don't want to have to worry about the paint wearing off.

1. Prime your ATG. Spray your ATG with the primer. You don't want to get too close to the gun because you risk drips. You want to use a side to side motion to spray the gun. The coverage should be more like a fine mist that will take several passes. Spray one side of the ATG completely, then let the primer dry thoroughly (consult the spray can for the specific drying time). Flip it over and repeat the process on the other side. You can omit this step if you will be using Krylon Fusion or another spray paint formulated for plastic to paint your ATG. (remember that I am using extra Krylon fusion as a primer ~ that is why mine looks black at this point)

2. Paint your ATG. Once you have allowed your ATG to dry thoroughly, you need to repeat the above steps to cover the primer with the paint color you've chosen. Use the same side-to-side misting action to cover the primer on one side of the ATG. Allow to dry thoroughly, and then flip the ATG to spray the other side. Depending on the color you chose & your own personal preference, you may want to add another coat of paint. Once the ATG is completely covered, I'd recommend waiting another 24 hours before continuing on to the next steps.

3. Glitter the ATG. If you LOVE BLING as much as my mom, then you probably added the Krylon glitter spray to your shopping cart. Repeat the steps above to cover the paint color on one side of the ATG with the glitter spray. Allow to dry thoroughly (consult the back of the can for optimal drying time) and then flip over the ATG and repeat the glittering on the other side.

4. Peel the painter's tape off the ATG. Once you're finished painting and all the layers of the paint are completely dry, carefully remove the painter's tape from the ATG. Slow and steady is the way to go here -- you don't want to risk chipping any of the layers of your paint.

4. Reattach the dispenser wheels. Using your phillips head screwdriver, reattach the pieces of the dispenser mechanism that you removed earlier.

Now comes the fun part: step four is to embellish your ATG!
This part is totally personal. It's your ATG, so make it look the way you want it to look!

1. Bling it up! I started embellishing by placing the bling first. I learned my lesson about this the hard way from my own ATG. If you glue the embellishments down first, you might end up with a situation where there are embellishments in the way of where you wanted the lines of bling to go. It's much easier to work around the bling, than it is to work around the embellishments.

2. Add your rub-ons. Rub-ons are nice and sturdy and they'll stick to pretty much anything -- even glass! That makes them perfect for your ATG, since it will be in and out of crop bags, buried under stash on your desk, and basically handled to death. That's what it was designed for, so don't worry!

3. Add any other embellishments. I used some individual rhinestones to draw more attention to the flower rubons. If you're going to be using some embellishments like that, you can't rely on their adhesive to keep them stuck to your ATG. You need to attach them with some heavy duty adhesive like E6000. Be careful with this step! The E6000 will take up the paint on your ATG, so plan out exactly where you want the embellishments to go & apply the E6000 sparingly to the embellishment -- you absolutely don't want too much adhesive or it will leak out the sides and take up the paint. If some does leak out, be sure to wipe it up immediately.

4. Take a picture! Take a picture of your finished ATG and post it here, or email me at, so we all can see how well it turned out!

5. Enjoy your shiny new ATG!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Altering an ATG, Part One

Hi, everyone! This week I'll be re-posting some of my early blog entries related to my commonly used products and altering an ATG. I get many questions about these items, so I thought I'd repost this for you. This blog post was originally posted on May 6, 2009.

In today's post I'm going to address what supplies you will need to decorate your ATG and make it pretty! uch as I love my ATG, I am willing to admit that the darn thing is ugly.

This past Mother's Day I gave my mom a 3M ATG 700 as a gift. She is a scrapbooker and was complaining about the high cost of adhesive refills and how quickly they run out -- I'm sure we all know how that feels! So I decided to get her one of the guns, and before I gave it to her, I altered it to make it just her style. I took some pics throughout the process so you could see the gun coming together.

The first step in altering your ATG is to gather your supplies.
Believe me, this is not a project you want to stop halfway through to go find something you need. Spray paint dries fast & it doesn't give you much time to run around like the proverbial chicken. I know this because when I altered my ATG, I sprayed Krylon Fusion on my engagement ring and had to rush around like a madwoman trying to find something to clean it off before it bonded to the diamond permanently. This is all because I forgot to bring baby wipes. Good preparation is the key to a smooth ATG alteration.

You will definitely need the following supplies:
1. Scotch ATG 700 or 714 by 3M. The ATG comes in two sizes, and the size refers to the adhesive width, not the size of the gun. The 700 fits 1/2" and 3/4" width adhesive out of the box, and 1/4" width adhesive with an adapter (sold separately). The 714 fits 1/4" width adhesive only.

2. Spray Paint. The ATG is made of plastic and plastic doesn't do so well with spray paint, unfortunately. You will either need to use a can of Krylon Fusion, which is specially formulated for plastic, but, sadly, does not come in very many colors OR you will need to spray your ATG with a plastic primer first and then use any can of spray paint you like. For my mom's ATG, I used Krylon Fusion as a primer because I had plenty leftover from when I altered my own ATG. After letting the Krylon Fusion dry, I painted it a lovely shade of watermelon pink.

3. Painter's Tape. The ATG has a few surfaces that you may not want covered in paint. We will use good old blue painter's tape to ensure that the spray paint goes only where we want it.

4. Phillips head screwdriver. We will need to remove a few pieces of the ATG to get the best paint coverage possible, so make sure you have a screwdriver handy.

5. Newspaper/Posterboard/cardboard box. Many spray paints are toxic, so it's important to complete the painting portion of this project in a well-ventilated area. I worked outside. To keep my asphalt paint-free, I worked on a piece of posterboard.

6. Baby Wipes. It's good to have these or some other form of personal cleansing cloths on hand if you need to correct a mistake or clean something. Spray paint usually dries pretty fast, so you don't have much time before it becomes permanent. Also, don't wear jewelry while altering your ATG. You have been warned.

The following supplies are optional:
7. Krylon Glitter paint. My mom LOVES BLING, so after I finished applying the paint and letting it dry, I sprayed the whole thing with some silver glitter paint. The paint also contains a fixative, which hs helped the paint job hold up to plenty of handling without rubbing off or making a mess.

8. Rub-ons. I used American Crafts rub ons to dress up the ATG a little bit.

9. Bling. Remember that my mom LOVES BLING, so just glitter was not enough! I also used some Heidi Swapp bling to decorate the ATG & really made it shine!

10. Other embellishments. I used epoxy stickers on my ATG. If you're going to be using some embellishments like that, you can't rely on their adhesive to keep them stuck to your ATG. You will need to attach them with a heavy duty adhesive like E-6000.

The second step is to prepare your ATG for paint.
For this step you'll need your ATG, screwdriver and painter's tape handy. We'll be removing some small pieces from inside the ATG to get good paint coverage, as well as covering parts of the exterior with painter's tape to protect it from the spray.

1. Remove black wheels from inside ATG. Using your screwdriver, loosen the screws holding the black plastic wheels which hold the tape and remove them. We'll be painting the interior of the ATG, too, and we don't want to get paint gummed up in the actual dispenser mechanism.

2. Cover applicator tip with painter's tape. It is easier to cover the applicator tip than it is to remove it altogether. I know this because I've tried to take it apart & discovered that the applicator tip is also attached to one of the gears inside the ATG & is, therefore, impossible to remove without a great deal of pain and agony. So, while you're taping off areas you want untouched, make sure to include this part as well. I forgot to take a picture before I started painting, but you can see how I used tape to cover the applicator tip.

3. Cover trigger with painter's tape. I've seen the triggers painted on other ATGs, but I am concerned about doing anything to the ATG that might impair functionality down the road, so I left my trigger unpainted.

3. Cover clear lid with painter's tape. This step is optional and all about personal preference. I didn't want the lid to be painted because I like to be able to see how much tape I have left without opening the lid. I only painted a small portion of the lid -- everything but the black strip that reads "Scotch ATG 700" was be covered with tape on mine. If you want the lid of your ATG to be painted as well, then omit this step.

4. Take your ATG to a well-ventilated area. Take your ATG and your posterboard or newspaper to a well-ventilated area. It is best to work outside on a day that is not too breezy. If the day is breezy, make sure you have somehow anchored your posterboard or newspaper so that it doesn't blow away. Also, make sure you are standing upwind from the spray paint.

You are now ready to get painting. Check back tomorrow for "Altering an ATG, Part Two" for the rest of the instructions!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What's So Great About the ATG?

Hi, everyone! This week I'll be re-posting some of my early blog entries related to my commonly used products and altering an ATG. I get many questions about these items, so I thought I'd repost this for you. This blog post was originally posted on May 4, 2009.

If you've been watching my videos or reading my blog for any length of time, you're sure to have heard me mention the 3M ATG 700. I would say that the most commonly asked question in the comments on my videos has got to be "What is the tape runner you use?", so I thought I'd just write all about it here in case anyone else was wondering. "ATG" stands for "adhesive transfer gun" and the gun is, very simply, a tape runner.

The ATG has been in use for many years in the framing industry. Professional framers use this gun to mount photographs in mats. The 3M 908 Gold, which is the adhesive I use in my ATG, is acid free and archival safe. The ATG has been trusted by professional framers and photographers for years and it has begun to filter into the scrapbooking industry.

The ATG is not a small investment to make. The gun itself is pricey, and while it it very light and easy to handle, it is also larger than any other tape runner on the market. Despite that, the ATG still holds a place in my Scrapbooking Top Three, and the only regret I have is that I didn't purchase it sooner. The adhesive comes off the roll easily and smoothly, is super strong and very economical. It will never get lost on your desk under a pile of supplies, and the adhesive refills are extremely easy to change -- the directions are even etched right into the gun's plastic.

When I first considered buying the ATG, I was thrown off by the price. I was sick and tired of constantly running out of adhesive, but the idea of paying $40.00 for a tape runner was tough to swallow. In the end, it was math that convinced me. I did a cost-benefit analysis for myself & I thought I would share it with you!

If you were to buy a 3M ATG 700 + 12 rolls of the 60yrd 3M 908 gold acid-free adhesive refills (that's 2160 feet of adhesive -- 0' from the dispenser and 2160' from the refills) from today it would cost $146.64 (includes $8.79 in S&H). That is $0.067 a foot.

If you were to buy a Tombow permanent adhesive dispenser from today and 9 of their six packs of adhesive refills (that's 2145 feet of adhesive -- 39' from the dispenser and 2106' from the refills), it would cost you $193.40 before S&H. That is $0.09 a foot.

The Tombow order from is $46.76 more expensive for 15 fewer feet of adhesive than the 3M order from That means that the ATG has already paid for itself with your first order!

Now, if you're like me and scrap often and with generous amounts of adhesive, that much tape will last you for about six months. Which means that before the year is out, you will need to place another adhesive order. This is what the cost breaks out to for the second order:

12 3M 60 yrd 908 Gold acid-free adhesive refills from $103.31 (includes $8.51 S&H) for 2160 feet of adhesive OR $0.047 a foot.

9 Tombow six pack 39' acid-free permanent adhesive refills from $187.11 (does not include S&H) for 2106 feet of adhesive OR $0.089 a foot.

Total costs for adhesive for the first year:
3M ATG: $249.95 for 4320 feet of adhesive (includes cost of gun and S&H)
Tombow: $380.51 for 4251 feet of adhesive (includes cost of dispenser but not S&H)

In the first year of ownership, the ATG would save you a total of $130.56 on adhesive -- that's three times the price of the ATG itself! It pays for itself immediately and it just keeps on saving you money after that.

Anyway, just something to think about. I'll try to stop talking about how amazing my ATG is, but I can't make any promises! I don't get any money for selling these guns -- I don't own stock in 3M or anything like that! I was just so frustrated by the cost of adhesive refills and the poor quality of the dispensers. I took a leap of faith on the ATG and I absolutely love it! I don't want any of my friends to be paying for high-cost, poor-quality adhesive ever again! The gun is sturdy, easy to use & never gets lost on my desk. The adhesive refills are archival safe, high quality and very economical. My ATG definitely deserves its place in my Scrapbooking Top Three.

Whatever you decide, happy scrapping & stay tuned for a blog post on how to alter an ATG once you own one! Another good thing about the ATG is that it's pretty easy to make it pretty!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

P.S. Keep in mind that this blog post was written three years ago, so adhesive prices for both the ATG and Tombow may have fluctuated. Also, I don't know if has still got the best price on the ATG 700 these days. When I researched mine, they had the best price around for both the guns and the refills, especially since I buy 12 at a time and they offer a discount for that. I continue to buy from them because their customer service is amazing, their shipping is quick & they offer a quantity discount.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Scrapbooking Top Three

Hi, everyone! This week I'll be re-posting some of my early blog entries related to my commonly used products and altering an ATG. I get many questions about these items, so I thought I'd repost this for you. This blog post was originally posted on May, 13, 2009.

Hi, everyone! Welcome Back to Life on the Scrap{beach}!

Often in my videos and blog posts, I will refer to a particular item as being in my "Scrapbooking Top Three" and I wanted to do a post about those three items. These are also the three items about which I receive the most questions. So, I'm going to go over which three items are in my Scrapbooking Top Three, tell you a little bit about them, and go over why I feel they are so important in my scrapping.

1. Epson Photo Stylus R1900: (wide format printer; since originally writing this post Epson has replaced the R1900 with the R2000) I love this printer. This is an extremely high-quality color printer. The pictures I get from this printer are so much better than anything I ever had developed before from local print labs. It has crisp, brilliant colors, sharp edges, great skin tones -- it really made me a believer in the quality of home photo printers.

In addition to producing gorgeous photos, this printer has revolutionized my scrapping. Because of this printer I now understand Adobe Photoshop Elements. I know how to resize, change colors, and apply effects to my photographs. I also use odd shaped photos in my scrapbooks. I love making collages. And I can print out my digital scrapbook pages since the printer candle handle up to 13" across and several feet in length if you're using a roll of paper (which I do).

I just love this printer. I produces beautiful photos, I always have something to scrap, and I am more creative in my scrapping because of the unlimited options for picture sizes. And, yes, I did pay over $500.00 for it -- that price is not a mistake. It was worth every single penny.

2. 3M ATG 700: (tape runner) If you've been watching my videos or reading my blog for any length of time, you're sure to have heard me mention this gun. "ATG" stands for "adhesive transfer gun" and the gun is, very simply, a large tape runner. The ATG has been trusted by professional framers and photographers for years and it has begun to filter into the scrapbooking industry.

Despite costing $40.00, the ATG holds a place in my Scrapbooking Top Three for being THE BEST tape runner in terms of quality AND value. The adhesive comes off the roll easily and smoothly, is super strong and very economical. These refills are the cheapest on the market, so the gun will pay for itself in adhesive savings. It will also never get lost on your desk under a pile of supplies.

Coming up this week, I'll be writing in greater detail about the 3M ATG 700, and posting a tutorial on altering the ATG.

3. Rotatrim Professional M15: (paper trimmer) I've heard a paper trimmer that actually cuts straight every time referred to as the Holy Grail of scrapbooking. We all search high and low for a trimmer that cuts straight every time. Well, for me the search is over -- the Rotatrim M15 is it for me.

Like the 3M ATG 700, the Rotatrim has been in use for many years by professional photographers, graphic designers and other artists and design professionals. This baby is huge and it's solid and I love it. I stumbled across it when I ran into a problem caused by my Epson R1900. Since the paper I use in the Epson R1900 is 13" across, I had to cut all my photos out with a ruler and an X-Acto knife -- very time consuming. So I was in search of a trimmer wider than 12".

This trimmer is solid. It cuts straight every time. It comes in a variety of sizes (the "15" in "M15" stands for "15 inches" or the length of my trimmer). You can cut chipboard and acrylic and the tiniest slivers off of cardstock and patterned paper. It is everything a trimmer should be.

I don't think it is a coincidence that all three of the items in my Scrapbooking Top Ten are not inexpensive and that I had to save for them. I also don't think it is a coincidence that none of them were developed by scrapbook manufacturers. These are high quality, long lasting products that have been proven to perform consistently in other industries. And, yes, I did pay a premium for that kind of quality, but these items will last forever and have already saved me quite a bit of time, money and energy in my scrapping.

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

NEW VIDEOS: Fancy Pants Guest Designer Projects!

I have been working hard the last few weeks on designing some fabulous new projects with the Fancy Pants Designs "Be You" collection for a guest designer post on their blog. Photos, sketches AND VIDEOS of these five projects are available for you to enjoy over at the Fancy Pants Designs blog today: Fancy Pants June Guest Designer.
I created three layouts and two cards using the Be You collection. Be sure to check out their blog to see all the goodies!
Thanks for stopping by & have a great weekend!
~Kathryn :D