Tool Talk

by admin on June 8, 2011

Here are a few of the products caught my eye at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) Conference and Trade Show.

If you have used a rotary cutter and protective mat for cutting fabrics or paper, you know how straight the lines can be… unless that is, if you slip away from the ruler.  That has happened to me more than once, so seeing The Grace Company Rotary Cutting System, seemed to be a new solution. Their rulers have a built in track system on the side of the rulers and the rotary cutter has a groove that rides over the lip of the ruler.  No more swerving with this system.  See for a video of this and other safety cutting products they produce or their website at

Rolling along the "curb" of the ruler keeps you on track and helps prevent fabric cutting accidents.

Speaking of safety, here is another idea for stopping those OUCH moments.  Plaid has come out with Hot Glue Gun Helpers which provide non-stick tools (mat, finger caps, tweezers, paddle and press wand) to help you when applying, say, lines of glue to attach gimp to an upholstered screen or holding power when trying to dab those Swarovski crystal beads in just the right pattern on your funky lampshade. See for more info on these hot pink gluing accessories, (Plaid ID #16228).

Heat-resistant, non-stick tips make this tweezer a handy pick-up for holding down your jewels when using a hot-glue gun.

When I saw the press release about TAP from C&T Publishing, I was surprised that they were providing Transfer Artist Paper. I’ve often admired C&T’s fiber arts books but hadn’t realized they were looking “outside the book” and bringing us related products such as tools, notions and interfacings.  Good thinking guys!  Photo transfer papers using inkjet printers have been around for years, but from what I heard from the customers flocking to their booth, this new product was a big improvement. The CHA must have thought so too, since they gave it the industry’s most prestigious recognition award for product innovation at the 2011 CHA Winter Show.  I can’t wait to transfer some images with my iron onto hmmmm… wood, clay, glass, metal or maybe even paper or fabric.  The possibilities are mind-boggling.

Glass, wood, tiles, mirror...many surfaces can be customized using TAP, Transfer Artist Paper from C&T Publishing.

Painting Styrofoam has always been a problem, but I spotted a new product from DecoArt that looks like it may help. By applying their MagiKote surface coating you can transform Styrofoam into a smooth, paint-able finish. The night before the CHA show I was backstage talking to a California set designer about some of the challenges they encounter. I thought how this coating might help. Foam shapes and foam boards (think inexpensive but sturdy insulation panels) could be glued, carved and painted and transformed into some very realistic and lightweight items for the next off-Broadway show, designer showhouse prop or scale model for a school project.




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