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Crafty little things
Stix2 Craft Foam Pads
Member Name: ryanando
Stix2 Craft Foam Pads
Advantages: double sided, neat, easy to use
Disadvantages: small bits of paper not good for pets/kids, can be fiddly if youre not great with your hands
===It's a nice day to start again===
Since about September, I have been ferreting away in secret. I have been collecting items, objects, pieces, bits and bobs all in an effort to make a Christmas present for my partner on the sly. Obviously I've had to occasionally tell him I have to pop off to work on something, but other than that he had not a clue that on Christmas day he'd be getting a scrapbook with all of our cinema tickets, photos, theatre tickets and a marriage proposal featuring all of our friends and family holding different letters spelling out "Will you marry me?". Needless to say I'd almost burst with the excitement of waiting for the day to come.
The first stage of deciding to make a scrapbook was the planning. I had to find a scrapbook with big enough pages to fit my things onto. I also had to precision plan each of the 10 pages included in the book. Since I'd never done a scrapbook before I decided the first port of call would be to ask my friend Debbie who does them for a living what kind of materials she would suggest. She was incredibly helpful and directed me to a scrapbooking website. She also suggested stix2 double-sided sticky pads. Off I popped to e-bay and had two sets of these magical little things sent out.
===Sticks and Stones===
The sticky pads are part of a brand "Stix2Anything" that specialises in adhesives. They don't just do sticky pads, they also do glues, velcro's, tapes and magnets along with a huge range of various other craft related sticky objects. The brand is made by a company called Uk Industrial Tapes who have been around for over 20 years and state that they are the UK's largest suppliers to the Art and Framing industry for self adhesive products. They have over three hundred products in the Stix 2 range alone If you want to get in contact with them you have a few options. You can visit their website at www.stix2.co.uk, if you want to look at or buy any of their products. If you want more of a chat with them, the contact details are as follows:
Westway Industrial Estate
Tyne & Wear
===What are Craft Foam Pads?===
So, if you're new to crafting then you might be wondering what exactly this product is. The product is basically a little square of foam with adhesive on either side. If you are making a scrapbook page and you want something like a photo to stand out a little, you can basically use these to make the object sit out from the page. Why? Just because it looks prettier than having everything flat. It gives your work different layers and can lend a bit of a professional finish to your craft projects. The foam pads come on a sheet of paper, pre-cut and you can get tonnes of different measurements so if you are wanting to use these, make sure you get ones that are the right size for what you are doing. Prior to discovering them I had visions of ending up with pages of the scrapbook all stuck together with glitter and glue, similar to something made by a five year old. When I saw how small, neat and self contained they were, I was given a little bit of a confidence boost.
The website Debbie directed me to, while being a fantastic source of information, scared me a little. The prices were sky high. As I'd already spent about £70 on materials for this scrapbook, I decided to see if I could get them cheaper on E-bay. Thankfully I could. I picked these up for around the £3. I had been silly and assumed that E-bay would be cheaper than Hobby Craft (the shop). I was wrong. I ventured in after I had almost finished my project for some wool and had a minor moment of rage when I spotted the same pack I'd bought for £1.50. The moral of the story here, kids, is that if you assume you make an ass of u and me. Big sigh. Lesson learned.
===How to use them===
These craft pads, while being very easy to use, are also incredibly fiddly. That's probably more due to the size of the ones I was working with. The ones I got are little squares measuring 5mm by 5mm with a depth of 3mm. In each pack there were two sheets containing 440 squares each.
To use a pad, you simply pull the square off of the backing paper. The side that was on the backing paper will now be showing its sticky bottom. The top side will still have a thin sheet of paper on top to protect the adhesive on that side of the pad. In my project I was sticking paper to paper so I made sure I knew where I needed the pads to be stuck down and pushed the sticky side firmly onto the back of the item I was sticking down. You'll obviously get the best results if whatever you are sticking your pads to are clean and dry. Once all of the pads were stuck to the paper it was time to peel off the protective layer on the upward facing side of the pad to reveal the adhesive. There is a bit of a knack to this. I found that giving the pad a very gentle pinch between your thumb and forefinger made the protective paper layer pop right off.
Once you've peeled all the paper off, its time to stick your object down. Line it up wherever you want it and give it a firm press down. The pads, being foam, don't crumple under the weight, they simply bounce back leaving your object elevated from the page giving a nice 3D effect.
===Do they work?===
In a word, yes. After having used literally hundreds of them on this project, I can safely say that these pads do the job incredibly well. Everything that I have stuck down has stayed firmly in place and 3D even though it was tightly packed in a closed book for about 2 months under my Christmas tree. While I worked on the project I had no problems with them coming unstuck either. In saying that, I wouldn't worry too much about getting the placement wrong with these pads. I accidentally stuck one or two things down in the wrong place and had to peel the objects off the paper. As long as you do this straight away with a firm and slow motion you shouldn't have any problems getting the objects off and the pads won't lose their stickiness. I wouldn't advise trying to remove stuff after it's been stuck down for a few minutes though, so it really is a case of plan, plan, plan.
As an added bonus these pads are acid free. So, yes, you won't be seeing any colourful flying monkeys. More importantly though if you are using these they won't wreck your precious items. Adhesives with acid in can, with time, eat through and damage photographs and paper. If you're doing a scrapbook consisting of paper and photos, you won't want this. I haven't found a Stix2 product that doesn't claim to be acid free yet, though, so this is a great plus side for presumably the whole range!
As with most things there are drawbacks. If you have limited dexterity in your fingers, you'll be pretty much screwed when it comes to the smaller pads like I was using. That being said, if you do have limited dexterity in your hands, you'd probably realise that craft projects involving fiddly things will cause issues.
The only other draw back is that they can be a little messy. They are incredibly neat and tidy little objects for using in your craft project and it will almost be impossible to make a mess of your art with it but you will be left with hundreds of tiny squares of paper from peeling the protective layer off the dots when you are using them. Again, though, most crafters will accept that there's always going to be a little mess when doing projects and at least these little squares are easy to just sweep into your hand and chuck in the bin.
The manufacturer obviously states that children under 3 shouldn't be allowed near these as they are tiny foam squares, ripe for sticking in small throats or all over your furniture. I suspect you didn't need the manufacturer to tell you not to let your kids get them, though.
===Thick with worry ===
Obviously if you are thinking about using these on a project like a scrap book, you'll need to remember that a few millimetres of elevation can add up. My scrapbook had ten pages in it, each with 3mm deep pads on them. That adds up to a whole 3 centimetre extra thickness to the pages. Some types of bindings won't be able to cope with that so make sure you choose your scrapbooks carefully.
The only other worry I had was that you'd be able to see these pads under the objects I was sticking down. I quickly realised that as long as you set them about half a centimetre from the edge of your photos or objects, you won't be able to see these unless you make a point of viewing your page side on. This made me rather happy as the pages all look nice and neat with no unsightly bits poking out from under the tickets and various other bobs.
Having used literally hundreds of these pads (At least 640, probably more) I can safely say that they are a god send. Yes, they are a bit fiddly, but I wouldn't expect anything craft related not to be. They have made possibly the most important project I've undertaken look brilliant without much hassle at all. The price was cheap enough on E-bay and, surprisingly, cheaper in the shops I saw them in. Stix2 definitely have a winning product with this one and it really is a must have for anyone who enjoys arts and crafts. I know these little pads have given me so many ideas and the confidence to try them out with a product I know works brilliantly. Best part is, I don't even need to hide them at work now that Christmas is over! And for any of those interested... he said yes! So he must have thought the scrapbook was decent too! Five out of Five stars for this fantastic craft essential.
Summary: A fantastic little pack of awesomeness that you should have in your craft box at all times.
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