* Prices may differ from that shown
These days I find greetings cards expensive and prefer to make my own if I have time. This way I can save money and make cards that are more personal to the intended recipients. This does, of course, require some initial outlay and among the items I would say are essential to a basic kit are these 'Sticki Pads' made by Bostik. These tiny double sided foam sticky pads are just the thing for creating 3D effects on your cards; they stand only slightly proud of the card but it's enough to create a good effect. It's all very well to stick pretty or interesting things to the front of your card but creating a 3D effect will give some added style to your design and make it look more professional. A number of other uses - such as scrap-booking and model making - are suggested on the packaging but so far I have only used them for card making. There are 440 of these pads in one packet and this should last the occasional card maker a good while. Each one is just 5mm square and, though they are pure white, their size means that if you position them well and work tidily they aren't visible (unless you make an effort to look for them). For a more enhanced effect you can group them in little clusters or one on top of another to raise the stuck on item even further from the surface of the card. Using a pad instead of glue eliminates the risk of glue oozing or dripping and looking unslightly, especially on coloured card, but if you are thinking of them as an alternative to glue for young children, you'll probably find that younger children will find them too small to work with. They come on one easy peel sheet but I think it would be more practical for this product to come in two smaller sheets as it would make it a little easier to peel off single pads. Usually I can just my fingers to transfer the pads to the item I want to stick to the card; this is the easiest method because while you can remove and re-position the pad if you do it quickly enough (and depending on the surface) they aren't really intended to be re-positionable. By applying the pad to the decoupage detail you can hold the item up to your card and move it around to find the right position before sticking it on. For fine, intricate work you may find that using tweezers makes things slightly easier. The pads are acid free which means you can use them on a variety of card and paper types without a mark appearing on the reverse. Bostik says these pads are not suitable for "absorbent, damp, dusty, delicate or newly decorated surfaces". I wouldn't recommend them for the sticking on of anything heavier than simple foam, paper or card shapes. I occasionally buy packs of decorations for card making some of which require you to provide the 'stick'; things I have tried like small metal charms are just a bit too heavy for these pads and tend to pull on the card, dragging down the corners and eventually falling off. This 440 pads pack is currently available (at the time of writing 7th August 2013) from Amazon priced at £1.99 (delivery is free); if you have a branch of the Works nearby you can currently pick them up for just 99 Pence and the offer applies to their website too although the company does impose a delivery charge. Ryman currently charges £1.59 for the same product but members of Topcashback.co.uk can buy them for £1.39 AND get up to 8.4% cashback on purchases. As an amateur card maker I find these pads simple to use, mess free and just the thing for adding a little style to simple cards. Old hands at card making who have all the specialist tools will probably find them a little basic but for children or beginners they are a good standby item and represent good value for money.
I do some volunteer work at the Lifeboat Shop here in Llandudno. We often need to put posters, decorations, signs etc. on the walls and the windows and we needed something to do the sticking! We had Blu Tac and even White Tac - which I hadn't even know existed until we had some in the shop! What we really needed was something that we could use to stick things onto the windows and the glass in the door without the sticky stuff being visible from the other side of the glass. We did try Blu Tac but that just looked a mess from the other side. When our regional manager visited the shop she knew exactly what we needed and went to W H Smith's and came back with a packet of Bostik Stiki Dots. I don't know how much she paid but they are currently about £1.50 for a pack of 64 dots on the Amazon website. The dots are sold in a cardboard packet with the name of the product on the front and a list of things that could be stuck using the dots. Inside the dots are sandwiched between two layers of plastic, with each individual dot in its own section. To get the dots out you just peel back one of the sheets of plastic and pull the dot off the bottom layer. What you now have in your hand is little, clear, thick, sticky blob. Imagine receiving your new credit card though the post and the stuff that sticks it to the letter that comes with it - that's the sort of thick texture of the sticky dots. To use them we just flattened them onto the corners of the paper that was to be displayed and then stuck the paper to the window - and yes, the first time we used them we were silly enough to put the dots on the back of the paper so that the paper faced the wrong way when we put it onto the window! You might now be thinking - wow - what a brilliant idea! Well it is - up to a point. The dots will only hold very light things - sheets of paper are fine - but posters are too heavy as are most Christmas decorations. There is another problem too - when we took the paper off the window and removed the Stiki Dots it was a devil of a job to get all of the sticky stuff off the glass! Although I haven't used them for this purpose I would guess that these dots of glue would be better suited for craft work where they would be sticking things together invisibly rather than trying to hold things on walls defying gravity! In conclusion I would say these are a good idea but, in retrospect, they weren't really suitable for what we wanted them to do.
I bought these adhesive dots last week when I was looking for something to stick posters to my daughter's bedroom wall. We hadn't had much success with Blu Tac, as it seemed to dry out after a while and the posters were coming away from the wall, as well as the fact that the Blu Tac was leaving marks on the wallpaper. Drawing pins were more effective, but can be tricky to remove and also leave marks. I noticed Sticki Dots, from Bostik, and they seemed to be ideal for the job I wanted them to do. It is quite hard to describe these dots. They actually feel a bit like sticky bogeys! I have come across them before when receiving items in the post such as credit cards. They are usually stuck to the letter with adhesive dots like these. The dots are quite small in size and transparent. They are sticky and mouldeable, and you can easily pull them apart. They have a huge variety of uses, especially in craft applications, as an alternative to glue, staples and pins, and they are relatively easy to use. The dots are sealed within two layers of plastic. Each dot is in its own perforated section. You simply peel back the top layer of plastic and pull the dot away from the bottom layer. You then stick the dot to whatever surface you want to stick down. I bought a pack of 64 dots from Tesco for about £1.15. I went to work, peeling off the dots and sticking them to the corners of the posters that were coming away from the wall. After I had finished, the posters looked a lot neater. At the same time that I was doing this, my daughter was using some of the dots to make a collage with bits of shiny paper and feathers. It was a lot easier and more straightforward than using glue, and had the added benefit of sticking the items straight away, rather than having to wait for glue to dry. Unfortunately, the next day, I had a real disappointment. Many of the posters that I had stuck down the day before had come away from the wall again! The dots were obviously not up to the job of sticking posters, and this quite surprised me, as the posters were not particularly large or heavy. In fact,many were just pull outs from magazines. Although the dots were useless at sticking posters, they were really good for arts and crafts, and my daughter soon exhausted the pack and needed more! She had been really busy making cards, collages andmodels with the dots and they all looked absolutely brilliant. This product would really suit schools, or families with young kids, as well as adults who enjoy card making and other crafts. When I went to buy another pack, this time from Wilko's, I noticed that Wilko's actually did their own brand of these glue dots, which were slightly cheaper, so I bought them instead! There was no difference betwen the Wilko brand and the Bostik ones, apart from the price! In conclusion, I think these glue dots are an excellent and innovative idea, which make arts and crafts easier and slightly less messy. You can create some really professional looking effects using glue dots. I will definitely be buying lots more packs of these for our "Art Cupboard". They would also be really good when wrapping presents, to stick the gift wrap in place before using tape if you haven't always got an extra finger to hand! There is an official website at www.stickidots.co.uk, which is full of useful ideas for craft projects. I give Stickidots 4 out of 5 stars, as I still need something to stick up those posters.....any ideas?