Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Martha Stewart continuous edge system
I've mentioned before that I have this weakness for crafting tools. I saw this online and was intrigued. It's called the Martha Stewart continuous edge system, and it's called this because a corner punch and a border punch with coordinating designs are supposed to, when used together, allow you to punch a continuous pattern around your paper or card stock.
Here they are. This set is called Loops, for obvious reasons. There was also a spider web set, a leaves set, and one other that was also clearly seasonal.... snowflakes, as I recall. I went with this one because I could use it anytime.
Now the first thing I noticed was that these weren't like the usual Martha Stewart punches. The packaging was smaller! That's because the punches themselves fold up in order to make them easier to store. Now that's kinda neat! They are certainly more compact this way.
I can see how these could take up less space than the usual border and corner punches.
Here's how they look as they're opened up. The right sides are fully open. The left sides are only partially open to give you an idea of how they work.
So, the packaging had instructions describing how to open up the punches for use, even though that was rather self-explanatory. There were no other instructions, and believe me, I looked. Now, I'll admit that I played, and I tried measuring and being analytical about the whole process. It was late though, so I quit and headed for the computer and some internet surfing instead.
You see, the problem is that the border punch needs to meet up with the corner punch properly at each corner, so you need specific measurements. Sure would have been nice to have had some included with the punch! I did find my answer online. Basically, the continuous edge system is supposed to be able to handle squares from ranging from 3 1/4", increasing in increments of 1 3/4", up to 12". I would imagine that if you had bigger paper than 12" you could keep right on going, but I guess they're figuring most of us would max out at 12" x 12".
So, okay then. I cut some Georgia Pacific card stock, and I decided to include rectangles since that's what I tend to use most. I figured that as long as I stuck to the prescribed sizes, I should be alright. This was one way to find out. The sizes I cut were 3 1/4" x 5", 5" x 5", and 5" x 6 3/4", typical sizes that I might use for card-making.
Once again winging it due to the LACK of instructions, I decided that it made the most sense to punch the corners first. That was easy. No problem punching through the card stock at all.
Having done that, I set the corner punch aside and pulled out the border punch. As you can see, there are marks that show you exactly how you need to place the punched corner design so that it will line up properly with the border. HA! This is why I punched the corners first!
And just like that, I had the beginning of a nice continuous design running along one edge and two corners. Nifty! This border punch went through the card stock easily, too.
Did the same with the longer edge. It just required having to line the punch up twice to punch the full length. What I circled up above is what can happen when your measurements aren't quite exact. I was probably a shade over 5" when I cut that edge of the card stock. It wasn't anything that a little snip with some sharp scissors couldn't take care of, but it's something to keep in mind if you're planning to try this system.
You do exactly the same thing for the square design--punch the corners, then punch twice using the border design along each side.
This is a photo of the 6 3/4" x 5" size. That long edge needs to be punched three times to cover the distance.
If you look at the border punch, there are silhouette marks so that you can line up your design properly to make it continuous. By the way, it doesn't have to match up perfectly. I found that you can be a tad off and it'll still work, so there's a little wiggle room there.
That's the photo that shows the now continuous border.
And here's the whole piece. The whole process actually goes very quickly.
Just thought I'd mention that the corner punch can look quite nice by itself.
And if you get in a bind and can't remember what those card stock measurements are supposed to be, or if you didn't know because there were NO instructions included with your punches, you can still punch a fun non-continuous design.
And here's a card sample. The Loops design is a fun one to use with bright colors and with designer card stocks, too. The sentiment is by Studio G, the flower is by Bazzill and the leaves are Primas.
Overall my experience with this continuous edge system was positive. I like being able to punch a design around a corner for a different look. Fiskars has a system for doing this, too. Unlike this set though, they included instructions for how to use theirs and what size to make the card stock! That was my big gripe. There really should have been some mention of the dimensions that are needed to make this system to work. They're going to have some unhappy customers when they can't get the punched designs to line up properly.
It's a bit of a drawback that you have to go up in size in 1 3/4" intervals, too. If I remember correctly, the Fiskars went up by 1" intervals, so that's a bit more flexible in terms of sizes of layers that can be punched. It's a minor issue that you have to be somewhat precise in cutting your card stock or paper to size.
I did like that these punches are easier to store. They made it easy to line up the designs for continuous punching. The punches worked well for me, too. I know that some folks have had issues with punches not going through card stock. I didn't have that problem.
Hope that helps if you're thinking about buying one of these sets for punching continuous edges. I'm going to have to start making more square cards now so that I can get more bang for my buck. ;-)