Friday, May 7, 2010

an adhesive comparison

I think I've mentioned before that I've been crafting, cardmaking, and scrapping for years now, but always with supplies from my local stationery stores, found objects (like stickers and my mom's button tin), and, when I lived in Boston, items from my regularly occurring trips to PaperSource (still a favorite, btw!). I'm very new to the "commercial" world of crafting - ie. "collection packs," Crop-a-diles, and rub-on alphabets. In fact, I used to really look down on pre-coordinated patterned papers and whatnot, because all I knew of them were what was available at my local rinky-dink and always poorly stocked A.C. Moore. (Side note: No offense to A.C. Moore! I don't know if it's a corporate thing or just at my local store, but they're completely redoing their paper crafting department, and it promises to be very inspiring! A lot more upscale product!) And now, I almost (almost!) don't know what to do without pre-coordinated collections! :) I blame my obsession on my simultaneous discovery of Two Peas in a Bucket and Kristina Werner's blog last winter - my goodness! Has it only been 4 or 5 months? It may sound silly, but crafting is so important to me that I really feel these two websites really changed my life!

But I digress... Anyway, I've always been pretty much a glue stick and double-stick tape girl. Until recently, that is, when we re-organized our home office and I changed the setup of my craft area. My wonderful husband gave me a set of small totes for Christmas and as I was organizing all my supplies into them, I came across a bright purple 3M tape runner.
I had no idea whatsoever where it had come from, but I figured I had probably spent money on it so I should probably use it up. And I fell instantly in love! Now, I've never seen anybody in the online scrapping community even mention this particular tape runner, which is partly why I wanted to write this blog entry. I used up the random one I found in my stash, searched all over for a refill, finally found them at Amazon, bought three, and used them in about 2 months! Then I was thrilled to find the refills at A.C. Moore too! When I ran out again, A.C. Moore was no longer carrying them - a not-so-awesome side effect of the awesome redo of their paper crafting department. So, I grabbed the only other tape runner I was familiar with: The Tombow Mono.
Now, in full awareness that anyone who might be reading this post has probably never used the 3M tape runner, and has probably already sworn lifelong allegiance to a particular adhesive, I would like to share my opinion of the Tombow tape runner:

a. The Tombow tape runner has very strong adhesive! For me, this is both a pro and a con. The good news is I trust it more to stay stuck and not come apart in the mail, especially in cards I'm selling to strangers. The bad news is it gives you pretty much no wiggle-room! One of my favorite things about the 3M tape runner is that you have a window of several minutes to change your mind or notice your mistake after you've stuck something down. With the Tombow, I'm finding that if I even barely touch the two papers together, they might come apart again but if they do you can bet that one or both will be ripped. This has caused a lot of headaches and wasted materials, but like I said, I'm less worried about my etsy customers' friends and loved ones receiving ruined cards in the mail.

b. Another thing I love about the 3M tape runner is how easy it is to clean up. If you get some where you don't want it, say, by getting too close to the edge and having some adhesive "fold" over to the front of the paper, you can just quickly and easily rub it off with your finger. The Tombow adhesive rubs off, but it's more difficult, sometimes leaves a residue, and can sometimes take some of the top layer of paper off with it. What this has turned into is that I don't run the adhesive as close to the edges of papers as I would like. Mental note: Invest in an adhesive eraser!

c. While I have not had problems with the Tombow "skipping" (the 3M didn't really either), I have noticed that if I don't go slowly and consciously focus on applying even pressure, it's more likely to get those dreaded little "boogers" along one side of the strip of adhesive. The 3M wasn't immune to this problem, but like I mentioned before, the adhesive is much easier to wipe away.

So there you have it. Tombow tape runners were recently "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" at A.C. Moore, so I now have a stash of 5, not including the one I'm currently using. I haven't decided what I'll use when they're gone. I'd like to hear more about the new American Crafts adhesives! :)

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