(click on the pics to enbiggan)
When Ellen and I saw the FUSE by We R Memory Keepers, at CHA this year, we got kinda giddy--oh, the potential! Oh, the EASE!!!
It meant there could be a whole lotta' shakin' goin' on! *fist pump*
Before I get ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning...
The FUSE is a spiffy heat tool, designed to make quick/easy work out of making your own custom pockets on your scrapbook page protectors. That's right--no sewing whatsoever involved! It comes with the tool handle, two tips, a metal ruler/guide and a stand.
The tips are interchangeable; one is pointed and can be used to "cut" and fuse at the same time. The other tip features a wheel with small spikes; this is used to weld or fuse layers the plastic layers together to create pockets or seal your pockets shut (these lines will be dashed, similar to the seams already there on the pre-fab protector)
As I mention in the video, you can also purchase a glass mat separately, which features helpful grid lines in quarter inch measurements, and I highly recommend it for protecting your work surface. You never want the tips of the FUSE touching your cutting mat due to the high heat it generates.
Additionally, when you watch the video that accompanies this article, you'll see that I custom cut and glued pieces of fun foam to the bottom of the included stand, to help prevent it from sliding around on the glass surface. I'll say right up front from a safety stand-point* that the stand is flimsy and the fun foam helped only slightly, if at all; I'm looking for a sturdier/reliable alternative.
*Because the tips get very hot and both they and the extended barrel end are exposed, I also want to emphasize that this tool is NOT recommended for children under the age of 14.
Initially, we were super excited at the prospect of how easy it would be to create shaker cards with this tool, but more recently, we were introduced to a super fun concept called Pocket Letters™, created by Janette Lane!
In a nutshell, Pocket Letters™ are a way for pen pals to exchange/swap fun organizer and other scrapbook/paper craft goodies with each other, reminiscent of the card and ATC swaps many of us have engaged in at one time or another. The difference is that baseball card protector sleeves are decorated with inserts and can have items tucked inside the pockets. The page protector is then folded into thirds and fits inside a #10 envelope.
As card-makers, ever on the look-out for fun ways to send out happy mail to friends and family, we realized that the Avery Elle and Essentials by Ellen storage sleeves could be customized, using the FUSE, and when folded in half, slipped into an A-2 envelope!
Sidebar: OK, I'm not gonna lie; in a fit of giggles and chortles (I may have even snorted, too...) we started calling them "Hot Pockets®"... But, that's trademarked, of course... So, we've dubbed 'em "Hot Li'l Pockets"!
I cut a piece of card stock that would fit inside the storage sleeve and used a ruler to draw vertical and horizontal lines on it, for determining where to cut and fuse the sleeve to create 4 equally sized small pockets. You can make as many pockets as you like, of course, but if you want to be able to fold the sleeve and fit it into an A-2 envelope, you do have to keep that in mind as you plan out your pockets.
- Always begin with an unplugged and cool tool when attaching the tips.
- Take care to screw them in "finger-tight"; if you use pliers to tighten the tips, they will more than likely get stuck and then you'll have great difficulty removing them. Not only that, pliers with "teeth" can chew up/damage the tips... Ask me how I know...
- To cut slits, use the pointed tip and insert a piece of card stock into the sleeve to protect the back side and prevent cutting/melting all the way through both layers. If you draw guidelines on the card stock, you won't need to draw them on the sleeve with a permanent marker and then remove them later with an alcohol swab.
- To weld or fuse, use the spike-tipped wheel (make sure nothing/no paper, etc. is stuck between the layers along the path you intend to fuse).
- After attaching tips, plug in and allow the tool to pre-heat for roughly 10 minutes for best performance.
- Apply even pressure and guide the tool at a steady, slow pace; thicker plastics like the Essentials by Ellen storage sleeves may require a little more pressure and a little slower pace to fuse properly.
- If the wheel stops spinning as you move down the metal ruler's track, try using just the outside edge of the ruler to guide the tool.
- Incidentally, should you end up with any gaps in the fused line, you can go over them with the tool again.
- Essentials by Ellen storage sleeves have an ever so slightly smaller interior than the Avery Elle sleeves, due to thicker seam lines. The Avery Elle sleeves may also fold in half easier, due to being made of a lighter mil plastic.
As you can see in this "mini" version of a Pocket Letter™ made for a graduating friend of my son's, who will be entering the Navy, I sealed the top left pocket shut, after filling it with a die cut word and some sequins/confetti, then embellished the other inserts and tucked a gift card inside one of the pockets.
After embellishing the flap, I folded it up and tied it shut with some twine. If you don't over-stuff the pockets, it fits nicely inside an A-2 envelope and is perfect for gift-giving! I tucked a teabag into a little glassine envelope and sealed the flap with some washi tape and slipped it into one of the pockets, and gift cards also fit inside these pockets perfectly! WOOT!!! If you wanted to send it in the mail, depending on bulk and weight, of course, you might want to slip it into a padded envelope and allow for additional postage costs.
I had so much fun, I had to assemble another... which I think would be fun to have on-hand for any occasion. *grin*
Enjoy the video here or in HD on our YouTube Channel and thank you for taking a moment to give it a thumbs up!
If you find yourself inspired to make some of these Hot Li'l Pockets, please share on Instagram using #hotlilpockets #ellenhutsonllc! We love show & tell!
Designer note: Project Life cards are from designer's stash and are currently retired.