I'm not in the habit of posting product reviews, but because I am a tool girl I like letting my fellow book artists and crafters know about items that could be beneficial. I love so many of my tools. They complete me.
I learned of the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board just before the winter 2013 CHA show kicked off last January. And before I get into this, I need to say that I have no affiliation whatsoever with this company, and I am not being paid or prompted or nudged to write a review.
I have other envelope templates and they all have their own own pluses and minuses. The Envelope Punch Board looked like it had many pluses, so I ordered one as soon as it became available.
You can see what it looks like above. The board is lightweight and has a relatively small footprint: 10 1/2 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches high. Measurements are printed on the base for card sizes as well as paper sizes for the envelopes to fit those cards (there is one mistake on it, so if you bought an early version the company is offering a new sticker with the correct dimensions). There's a sticker overlay in metrics, too.
The board comes with a plastic bone folder for scoring and a slot to hold it, but I hate plastic bone folders, so I used a Teflon one that worked quite well--after I smashed the paper with the plastic one. Above, I'm starting to create an envelope. You can see the score line on the right--just follow that groove with your bone folder. The blue button at top punches out a little rounded triangle on four sides, shown below.
The punch eliminates having to manually cut out those triangles, makes the envelope easier to fold and making the finished product look more polished. See that white-ish score at bottom left of the square? That's from the plastic bone folder. Maybe plastic bone folders don't hurt paper. Maybe people with plastic bone folders hurt paper.
Now, here's the rub: When you're working with a larger piece of paper, that score line disappears completely, as you can see above. So you have to kind of feel around for the groove, or pick up the paper and look for it. Also, you won't be able to complete the score line on the board--it falls a little short. After making a couple of envelopes this became a minor irritation but wasn't enough to make me unhappy.
In addition to sending cards and letters in handmade envelopes, I also like incorporating them into books. Custom envelopes can be tipped onto pages or sewn into signatures (folded sheets nested together). Above, you can see how I'm sewing an unglued envelope into the middle of a signature. Also, note that if you're working with patterned paper, images will be on the diagonal. Not a deal-breaker for me.
And here it is all done, above. Sewn-in envelopes are great to use in travel journals, recipe books--just about anything. You can see a video about the board on the We R Memory Keepers site. I should also note that the envelope punch board won an honorable mention in the Innovative Product Award category at the Craft and Hobby Association show.
If you have one of these, let me know what you think. And if you have other cool new tools you'd like to shout about, please share!