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Author Archive | Nancy Nally

Getting Started with Make It Now on the Cricut Explore Air 2

Because it requires using software on a computer (or a phone app), a lot of people are intimidated initially by using the Cricut Explore family of machines. But Cricut Design Space has a built-in shortcut for learning how to do almost anything with the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine: the library of Make It Now projects!

Cricut Design Space

The Make It Now library of projects, which is what you are looking at when you open the main screen of Cricut Design Space, is like having training wheels for your Cricut Explore machine. Whether you are trying to use the machine itself, or trying a new material or accessory tool (like the stylus) for the first time, a Make It Now project will hold your hand while you do it. The Make It Now projects have been set up by the expert designers at Cricut to create an entire project flawlessly from start to finish. It takes the guesswork out of working with new tools or materials. There’s no guessing, so you can get perfect results the first time!

One very popular use for the Cricut family of machines is to cut iron-on material to create custom shirts, bags, and other items. Cricut sells an extensive palette of iron-on materials that the machine’s built-in settings are calibrated to cut. Working with iron-on, though, has a bit of a learning curve. Make It Now projects to the rescue!

Probably my all time favorite Make It Now project is the “C’est La Vie” t-shirt designed by my friend Anna Rose Johnson. This fun t-shirt features two layers of iron-on that together create the phrase and a glittered heart.

Cricut Make It Now t-shirt project

Remember, just because you are using a Make It Now project, doesn’t mean that you have to make it look exactly like the Cricut sample! Changing the color scheme is as simple as feeding different colors of material into the machine. Cricut Design Space does allow you to edit a Make It Now project – or any other one – to change the colors of elements. But on a simple two color project like this one, it’s not worth taking the time to make the change in the software. Just feed the colors you want into the machine when it’s time for each cut!

For making my t-shirt this time, I chose to make the design with white lite iron-on and pink glitter iron-on. My 13 year old daughter, who the shirt was for, is all about the pink glitter.

Cricut iron-on cutting

The Smart Set dial on the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine makes it easy to set the machine to cut Cricut Iron-On material. Just spin the dial to “Iron-on” to set it and you’re done!

Cricut Explore Air 2 Smart Set Dial

The other key to cutting iron-on material is that you have to cut your images in reverse. There is a handy checkbox alongside each layer of your design in the first cut window that you can check to have Design Space reverse the design for you. If you proceed to the final cut window with your machine set on “Iron-on”, but have forgotten to check the “mirror” box for your layers, the machine will yell at you with a bar that pops up to remind you!

Cricut Iron On WarningWhen your material comes out of the machine, and your design has been cut in reverse, it will look something like this. The plastic is underneath it on the mat, and then becomes the transfer tape to carry your design to the item you want to iron it on.

Cricut iron-on

The weeding tool makes it 100x easier to weed (remove the waste from) designs cut from iron-on material. Just use the hook part to stab a piece that you want to remove, and then pull to remove it.

Cricut iron-on weeding

To iron on your material and get good results, it’s important to pay close attention to the package instructions. Before your begin, make sure to pre-wash your item (and don’t use fabric softener) so that your iron-on will stick well.

Cricut iron-on t-shirt

It only took a few minutes to cut my Cricut Make It Now design and iron it on, but the results were gorgeous! My fashionista was very happy with the results and the new addition to her wardrobe!

Cricut iron-on t-shirt on model

Tips for Using Iron-On Material:

  • Iron-on material goes plastic side down on your cutting mat
  • Don’t forget to check the “mirror” boxes when cutting
  • Items being ironed on should be 100% cotton if possible and pre-washed with no fabric softener before ironing designs on
  • Make sure to turn the steam off on your iron
  • Use a nice firm ironing surface

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Creativeworld: The Language Barrier

One of the most frequent questions that I get asked about attending the Creativeworld show at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany, is how to get around in Germany and at Creativeworld while speaking only English.

[Disclaimer: Messe Frankfurt is a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

The surprising first part of the answer to that question is that a lot of what show attendees will encounter, especially in places like major transportation hubs, is actually bilingual and perfectly understandable to English speakers. Even the automated rail ticket machines have a language option for English. (In Europe, remember that you’ll choose the British Union Jack flag on machines like that to access the English option.)

Believe it or not, even some of the trash cans are multilingual – like this one in the Frankfurt airport complex!

Within the Messe Frankfurt fairground itself, the signage is designed to accommodate their large populations of international visitors that come for their various shows throughout the year. Building numbers and names, arrows, and easy to understand graphics for things like the train stations and restrooms.

Cafe and restaurant menus are also bilingual, and many Messe Frankfurt staff can speak at least a small amount of English. In addition, the Messe makes most of its printed show publications on-site and the Creativeworld show app all available and readily accessible in English.

The biggest thing, however, that concerns many show attendees – especially exhibitors – is how to handle doing business in a booth when they don’t speak the local language.

In fact, many people overestimate the language barrier they will encounter dealing with international clients. English has become in many respects the common language of the world. A surprising number of people encountered at Creativeworld speak at least a little bit of English – often while apologizing for their lack of skill, which is quite humbling to hear when you don’t speak a word of their language!

But there is inevitably some language barrier to be encountered. Hiring European bloggers or designers is one way to bridge that gap (and it’s also extra booth help without the expense of travel for a U.S. staffer). In the American pavilion this year, Lou Ann Tischler of GelliArts was drawing a crowd doing demonstrations, and had a European designer that works with Gelli Arts (in the brown shirt) translating for her.

Gelli Arts demo

Another approach is to just hire a European designer to do all of the demonstrating. My German designer friend Baerbel Börn demonstrated for several companies this year, including demonstrating the new Tim Holtz Stamp Platform for Tonic Studios (below).

Baerbel Born

Of course, hiring a local staffer is no guarantee that you won’t encounter a language barrier when someone walks into your booth, since Europe has a multitude of languages and the show attracts global buyers. But it certainly can raise the odds that you will find common language ground when someone approaches your booth.

And, if all else fails…thanks to the era of the smart phone, we can all have an instant translator in our pocket with the right apps. It may not be the fastest way to communicate, but it can get the job done.

Remember, in the end, everyone at Creativeworld speaks the same native language…a love of creativity! And that goes a long way in understanding each other.

6

Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine: First Look

As many of you may remember, I spent a lot of 2015 traveling around the country to various Scrapbook Expo shows to demonstrate the Cricut Explore machine for Cricut. I loved both the chance to interact with consumers around the country, and the machines themselves! So I was thrilled when Cricut offered me the chance to try out the new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, see how it compared to my current Cricut Explore machine, and tell my readers about it!

What is the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine?

Cricut Explore Air 2If, like me, you are a user of a previous Explore model of machine, you’re probably wondering what is different about this new one from your current model. For users of the original green model of Explore machine like mine, or of the Explore One, you’ll find that the bluetooth is now built inside the machine instead of requiring a plug-in accessory dongle to work. If you currently have an Explore One, you’ll also find that the Explore Air 2 has two carriages – one for the blade and one for accessories, meaning less switching out while cutting.

One other minor change is mostly cosmetic – the setting at the dial on the top of the machine now read “bonded fabric” instead of just “fabric”. This isn’t a change in the machine’s capability but rather a better explanation of them. The previous label, based on postings in Facebook groups I belong to, seemed to confuse people into thinking the machine could cut fabric when in fact it can only cut fabric that has been bonded to an interface backing to stiffen it.

For users of all previous Explore machines, Cricut is advertising that the Explore Air 2 will cut up to 2x faster than the previous machines.

If you are a user of a cartridge based machine (the Expression series and earlier) models, the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine is a whole new eco-system, with the Cricut Design Space software and Cricut Access library subscriptions, and features like the ability to import and cut your own SVG and JPG files. But you might also be asking if a computer based machine is too complicated, or too much hassle. You might be surprised to find that the answer is no.

Cricut Explore Air 2 machine

Although I’m very experienced in setting up Cricut machines from demonstrating them, for this article I decided to try an experiment and see how long it would take me to set up the machine and make the introductory project that is included in the set-up process (pictured above). I used a clean machine that had never had Cricut Design Space installed on it, so I was starting from scratch the same as any other new user – albeit one with a bit more experience under my belt.

I started a timer from the moment that I started to take things out of the box.

Inside the box, I found the machine, power cord, USB cord, a pen, a green mat, paper for the introductory project, and a few instruction booklets.

Cricut Explore Air 2 contents

If you follow the instructions in the box, the next step is to open a special URL on the Cricut website that serves as a tutorial for setting up new machines.

Cricut Explore Air 2 set-up

Then the instructions call for plugging in the machine to the wall and connecting it via cable to the computer.

Cricut Explore Air 2 instructions

Once that is done, there are onscreen instructions in Cricut Design Space to follow to complete setting up your machine. They literally walk you through each step.

When you are done with the set up, the final step is to have some fun with your new machine for the first time! At the 14 minute mark of my set-up process (and that included time taken to take a few pictures for this article like the ones above), I loaded a mat with paper into my new machine for the first time!

Cricut Explore Air 2 with mat

By barely over the 20 minute mark, I had not only set up my new machine, but I had created (along with a few pictures for this article) a fun little card with it!

Tips for setting up a new Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine:

  • Choose Chrome: I’ve used Google Chrome for a long time with my Cricut Explore, and it is highly recommended as the most trouble-free way to work in Cricut Design Space with the Cricut Explore family of machines.
  • Forget Old Machines: For the smoothest install and bluetooth set-up, go into your computer or mobile device’s bluetooth settings and tell it to “forget” your old Cricut Explore machine. You can always re-pair them later to continue using it alongside the new machine.

And that is it…my new machine was up and running – and I’d made something – in less than 20 minutes!

Does the Cricut Explore Air 2 really cut faster?

I ran another test to see – and if so, by how much!

First, I selected a “make it now” Easter card project from the Cricut Access library and set it up to cut on my iPad Mini. This way, all of my cuts would be made from the same file on the same computer device.

Cricut Easter card

Then, I cut the green part of the card three times. The first time, it was on my new Cricut Explore Air 2 machine on the “fast” setting. That setting is available for use on vinyl, iron-on, and cardstock, and can be used just by clicking a box in the cut window. That cut took 1:58 from start to finish.

Then I tried it again on my Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, but this time I unclicked the “fast” box to cut “regular” speed. On this setting, the cut was clocked at 2:45.

Finally I tried the cut on my old green Cricut Explore machine, and it took 2:54.

This was a relatively small, but complicated design file. Other files will show varying differences in speed, of course. But even with this file I saved nearly a third of the cut time moving from my old Cricut Explore machine to the fast speed on the new Cricut Explore Air 2. Extend this time savings to large intricate backgrounds for 12×12 pages, or for large amounts of production cutting, and the time savings could add up, well, fast (pun intended). Especially or machine owners who are running a business with their Cricut, faster cutting means more time for themselves – or more time to make more profit!

Now that I can cut so much faster with my new Cricut Explore Air 2, I’m really excited to take on some larger cutting projects that I didn’t have the time or patience for before, like 12×12 decorative backgrounds for scrapbook layouts, or intricate iron-on shirt designs. Or maybe I’ll even take on some wall-sized vinyl projects…

What would you like to make faster with the new Cricut Explore Air 2?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Creativeworld: To Pavillion or Not to Pavillion?

There’s much to consider when planning a trade show booth. For American companies going to Frankfurt for the Creativeworld show, the first question is usually whether or not to use the U.S. pavillion, or book a booth on the general show floor.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]

Whether or not exhibiting in the U.S. pavilion is the right choice is a different decision for each company that considers it, based on a variety of factors. After visiting four Creativeworld shows and talking extensively with American exhibitors both in the pavilion and on the show floor, I’ve identified what some of the key factors are that lead companies to choose one or the other as the best choice for them.

But first, what exactly is the American pavilion at the Creativeworld show?

Creativeworld American Pavilion

The U.S. pavilion at Creativeworld takes up an entire “block” on the show floor. The outside of the block, along the aisles, is filled with booths of various sizes. In the center is a private lounge area (accessible from the rear of each booth) for the pavilion exhibitors that offers some food service, a Messe Frankfurt staff member to assist the exhibitors, and other services.

The pavilion booths come with a prepackaged set of booth furnishings, and exhibitors can order additional items if needed at extra cost.

Ken Oliver Creativeworld

The corner booths, like the ones in the top picture occupied by Doodlebug Design and in the picture above by Product Performers, are typically larger spaces (and priced accordingly). They also have two open sides as opposed to being enclosed on three sides like the booths in sides of the pavilion.
Stampendous Creativeworld 2017

A more standard booth option in the pavilion is the one occupied above by Stampendous. With one open side facing the aisle, and a back entrance into the pavilion’s lounge, this space allows plenty of room for display of product and doing small demonstrations.

American Pavilion advertising

Being in the pavilion also comes with some extra publicity, as the U.S. pavilion is advertised as a special feature of the show in places like show guides and the show grounds. This ad pillar is at the bottom of the escalator in the main lobby of Hall 4.2, directing show attendees to the pavilion and advertising who was there.

BoBunny Creativeworld

Of course, there’s a myriad of options on the show floor to choose from as well. BoBunny has occupied a booth in the same location in one of the Creativeworld halls for several years. Exhibiting in a non-pavilion booth is similar in a few ways to being in the pavilion – there’s still no need to bring an entire furnished booth, as all displays and furnishings can be rented from the Messe.

Creativeworld Co-op Booth

Renting a regular show booth allows room for some innovation in your exhibit planning. Three smaller companies that are well-known to papercrafters, Waffle Flower, Alexandra Renke, and Pinkfresh Studio, decided to share a large space on the show floor in an attempt to make a splash this year.

Waffle Flower Creativeworld 2017

So which choice is right for your company?

There’s no single right answer. I know companies that have tried the pavilion and then left it for a regular booth. I know companies that have stayed happily in the pavilion for multiple years. I know companies that have exhibited in a regular booth and then opted for the more structured option of the pavilion. I know companies that have exhibited for years in regular booths. The trick is deciding on the factors that are your priority.

Cost: On a per square foot basis, the pavilion is a more expensive way to rent a booth. But it comes with extra services that are included in that cost (which would have to be purchased separately) and it also includes extra support structure to help familiarize new exhibitors with exhibiting at the show. And while it is higher, the fixed price is a help when setting budgets for exhibiting.

Size: Booth options in the pavilion are limited to relatively small sizes, so if your booth preference is for a booth larger than around 10×20, you’ll need to choose a regular booth. On the other hand, for small to medium sized companies that would like to be able to exhibit with minimal manpower or shipping expense for booth decor, the pavilion is a win. The booths, especially the smaller ones, are the perfect size to be decorated and run by 1-2 people.

Decor: The pavilion booths come with a decor package, and for most exhibitors can be decorated probably by carrying a large extra suitcase or two with them on the plane. But if you’d like more freedom (and a less cookie cutter appearance), a regular booth will let you design your look from the ground up using the Messe’s furnishings rental service. Or you can even go to the extreme of shipping a crate if you’d like for a truly custom look.

Location: Since the U.S. pavilion is a fixed location on the Creativeworld show floor, if there is a particular area that you’d like your booth to be in, then you’ll need to do a regular booth rental. On the other hand, the U.S. pavilion is a “destination” at the Creativeworld show for many buyers, so a pavilion booth can have location advantages as well.

Stress: An exhibitor’s stress level may seem an odd factor to consider when selecting a trade show booth, but when embarking on something as ambitious as an international trade show – especially for the first time – it’s a factor that can make or break your success. The U.S. pavilion serves as something of a “safety net” at the show for its resident exhibitors, providing services and assistance. Especially for first time visitors not familiar with the show, this can be a great stress reliever. Pavilion staff can help facilitate securing needed extra services on site, provide information about Frankfurt and the surrounding area (such as where to eat), provide orientation to how the show operates, and just generally help answer questions that come up. And having neighbors that are quite possibly familiar to them from U.S. events is especially nice for those who might be working alone in a pavilion booth. In contrast, you’re quite on your own in a regular booth. Services are available but you must know how to seek them out, and there is no guarantee given the international nature of the show that your neighbors will even speak the same language as you do, let alone be familiar to you! All of this makes the pavilion an excellent option for first time exhibitors, or for exhibitors doing the show with a small staff.

To pavilion or not to pavilion….which option will you choose?

4

Impressions of Creativeworld 2017

A few days after the Creativation show here in the U.S. in Janaury, the Creativeworld 2017 show took place at Messe Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany. In its seventh year this year, the show is reaching maturity. This year’s show saw the continuation of a lot of standard Creativeworld features – and the introduction of a few new ones as well.

[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a sponsor of this website.]

Creativeworld 2017 saw a 15% rise in the number of exhibitors over 2016, up to 344. The show also continued to earn its reputation as an unrivaled international exhibition, with exhibitors from 37 countries and visitors from 94 countries. The top visitor populations at the show were from France, the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain and Italy, and attendee numbers from Belgium, Poland, Sweden, Australia, Denmark and North America were also increased over the previous year.

Creativeworld 2017: What Hasn’t Changed

One signature part of the Creativeworld experience (for me, at least) is arriving each morning with a mass of people who come bursting out of a train onto a cold platform, and then move en masse up escalators into the Torhaus lobby of the Messe. To new American visitors, the mass of people, the scale of the entrance, is an often startling introduction to the size of what they are walking into. And to experienced visitors, the energy of the crowd is an invigorating way to start the day.

Creativeworld arrival

Another thing that is still the same at Messe Frankfurt…long walks down at times seemingly endless hallways that connect together the buildings on the massive exhibition grounds!

Messe Frankfurt

Another thing that hasn’t changed at the Messe for Creativeworld are the plentiful and excellent food options in Hall 4, with cafe counters stationed on the edges and even in the center of the halls. They say an army travels on its stomach, and at the Messe the masses of attendees can avail themselves of excellent sandwiches and other healthy options including fresh squeezed orange juice (that is pressed right in front of you) without missing a beat in their day’s schedule.

Creativeworld cafe

The Creative Impulse Awards returned for 2017, with a new area as its home on the show floor, but the same categories to enter.

Creative Impulse displays

The Creative Impulse Awards were handed out in a ceremony on Saturday. Fabric dominated the winners as Creative Product of the Year was won by efco creative for their Wood Veneer Fabric, and Creative Tool of the Year was won by Fiskars for their Fabric Circle Cutter. Christophorus Verlag won Book of the Year for “Sewing with SnapPap”.

Creative Impulse award winners

The popular and extensive Creativeworld Trend Show returned for another year this year, with large displays themed on the trends of “thoughtful”, “imperfect” and “whimsy”.

Creativeworld 2017 trend show

Like in previous years, there was plenty of options for people to get hands on with the trends in the Trend Show’s workstation area that offered projects for attendees to try.

Creativeworld 2017 trend work area

One unique feature of the Creativeworld show is the “Messe Frankfurt Against Copying” program, which was set up in the lobby area of Hall 4 (outside the Creativeworld halls) at the Messe, offering education on European copyright and trademark law to show attendees.
Messe Frankfurt Against Copying

One final thing that remains unchanged about Creativeworld – and the European market in particular – is the heavy presence of distributors. Because of the international nature of the European market and complicated nature of import/export operations, most American companies seek distributors where possible to use to market their products. So it’s not unusual to walk into the booth of a large company whose name is unfamiliar in the U.S. market and see signs like the one below marketing a U.S. brand.

Creativeworld distributors

But not everything stayed the same as Creativeworld hit its seven year itch…some interesting changes were also visible on the show floor as well this year.

Creativeworld 2017: What’s New

The most obvious change at Creativeworld 2017 is the biggest – in size, that is. In previous years, the show occupied only half of Hall 4.2. When visitors entered the floor from the lobby, they were met with the choice to visit Creativeworld to the left of the main aisle that entered the hall from the entrance, or to go right and visit the section of Paperworld that had products like school backpacks. This year, an expansion of Creativeworld’s square footage has it taking up all of Hall 4.2 (as well as all of Hall 4.1 as in previous years). The Paperworld section that was previously in the hall has been relocated to another exhibit hall in the Messe.

Hall 4-2 Creativeworld changes

Attendees really seem to love one of the other, more subtle, changes that I’ve been noticing gradually taking place the past few years at Creativeworld. More and more companies exhibiting at the show are doing large scale demonstrations that have artists working on the show floor showing off both products and different art forms that can be created with them.

For instance, in the Kuretake booth, an artist was demonstrating Kaleidolines work on a wall sized piece of art:

Kuretake Kaleidolines demo

Calligraphy artist Paul Antonio was also showing off his skills in the Kuretake booth, sending show attendees home with beautifully drawn versions of their name in gold ink:

Paul Attong Kuretake demo

In the Strathmore booth, an artist was doing an amazing job replicating a Van Gogh painting using (what else!) the Van Gogh line of oil paints.

Strathmore Van Gogh paints demo

Demonstrations were seen all over the show floor at Creativeworld 2017, at a wide variety of companies, and even included graffiti art. In the U.S. pavillion where square footage was limited in the modest sized booth, artists were at work demonstrating artistic techniques with products. Ken Oliver was in the Product Performers booth demonstrating his signature line of Color Burst ink powders.

Ken Oliver demo

And, increasingly, at Creativeworld, attendees have the opportunity to do more than just watch products in action. At the Creativeworld Forum (which was located this year in Hall 4.2), Creativeworld attendees have had the chance to attend a growing list of hands on workshops the past few years. Topics this year included Soapmaking (sponsored by Rayher), Lettering (sponsored by Tombow), mixed media (sponsored by Marabu), wrapping (taught by Ulla Büning), and many more!

Creativeworld education

Exhibitors are jumping on the hands on trend for attendees as well. In the Hero Arts booth in the U.S. pavilion, I was able to try out one of their beautiful new stamps to improve my layered stamping skills!

Hero Arts make and take

In the booth shared by Alexandra Renke, Pinkfresh Studio, and Waffle Flower, I saw something I don’t think I’ve ever seen at a Creativeworld show before…a giveaway underway! The trio were rewarded with a nice crowd in their booth for the event as well as healthy crowds for most of the show (or at least it seemed every time I passed by the area).

Booth Giveaway

Another striking change is the increasing relevance of a visit to Paperworld to many Creativeworld attendees, especially the papercrafting segment. With the planner segment taking over the papercrafting market, Paperworld vendors such as Moleskine who make journals are now of more than passing interest to papercrafts stores.

Moleskine journals

Art materials maker Caran D’ache was actually exhibiting on the Paperworld show floor, confident that with the crossover between the two shows their customers would find them.

Caran Dache

Once in their booth, Caran D’ache visitors could also get hands on with their various color mediums and try them out (although it seemed a shame to disturb that beautiful rainbow of color on the table).

Caran Dache

The advent of mixed media has papercrafters looking for supplies that they would never have thought about before. This is another reason to venture to the Paperworld halls – where these oversized paper sheets by Tassotti stopped me dead in my tracks with visions of their possibilities!

Tassotti Paperworld 2017

Another thing that was new this year was Creativeworld’s hosting of the German Skills Championships in Visual Merchandising. The event took place over several days on the show floor in Hall 4.2, as the six contestants took on a challenge to merchandise a store window to display an assigned item.

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Marc Jacquemin

The medals were awarded by a panel of judges in a ceremony at the Christmasworld show on Tuesday of show week, and the winner will represent Germany in the World Skills Championship in Abu Dhabi in October.

Creativeworld 2017

Source – Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Marc Jacquemin – Right to left: 2nd place: Melvin Suckow (Karstadt, Berlin), 1st place: Ronja Pfeiffer (Reischmann, Kempten), 3rd place: Annalina Väth (satis&fy AG)

As if all of that wasn’t enough new things for 2017…how about a whole new show? This year, in addition to the traditional Creativeworld, Paperworld and Christmasworld shows, Messe Frankfurt debuted a fourth show during the show weekend: Floradecora. This show is all about fresh floral and ornamental plants, bringing together flowers for every season and festive occasion under one roof for wholesale buyers.

Floradecora 2017

We’ll be creating an entire feature on Floradecora later in our show coverage, but in the meantime, here’s a peek at some of the tropical loveliness that was on display!

Floradecora 2017

Stay tuned to both Scrapbook Update and our sister site Craft Critique this week for additional Creativeworld 2017 show coverage!

10

2017 Creativation Trends for Scrapbooking

One of the greatest thing about attending a trade show is that seeing so many product introductions all in one place at one time really brings into focus the trends that are taking place in the industry at that moment. Here’s a look at some of the top 2017 Creativation trends for scrapbooking.

[Disclaimer: Some links below are advertiser links or affiliate links that pay this site a commission at no cost to the reader when a purchase is made after a click.]

Puffy Stickers

Perhaps this is part of the growing trend of 1980’s nostalgia, but whatever the reason, puffy stickers were making their presence felt as a trend on the Creativation show floor. American Crafts used this sticker style across several of their brands, including Maggie Holmes, Crate Paper and Pink Paislee. But it was also seen in the Jillibean Soup and Echo Park booths, among others.

Below: Maggie Holmes “Chasing Dreams” Puffy Stickers

Creativation Trends - Maggie Holmes puffy stickers

Stamp Presses

Since the introduction of the MISTI created what is arguably an entirely new tool category for the industry, other companies have rushed to introduce their own versions of a stamp press. We R Memory Keepers released theirs last year, and at Creativation, Hampton Art and Tonic Studio (under its Tim Holtz signature line) added their versions to the mix. This trend is definitely being fed by the increasing interest in stamping in the papercrafts market, especially layered stamping. The growing DIY party market (with the mass production of items like invitations and table decorations) is also a factor in their popularity.

Below: Hampton Art Stamp Perfect stamp press

Creativation Trends -Hampton Art Stamp Perfect 10x10

 

Geo Shapes

These geometric shapes that appear to be faceted or geodesic started appearing a lot in stamps and dies last year, and the trend continued at the Creativation show with products like this die from Spellbinders’ collection by designer Lene Lok. This trend is one of those “universal” style trends that can be adapted for any season or theme, so its life isn’t artificially limited by changing seasons (like the flamingoes below).

Below: Spellbinders Lene Lok collection.

Creativation Trends -Spellbinders Lene Lok

Planner Madness

Trend doesn’t cover the level that planners have reached in the papercrafts industry. They are rapidly reaching full-on market domination, Creativation brought an avalanche of products for planners. Companies that had previously experimented with the market dived head long in and companies that had yet to enter the market dipped their toes in. Ranger, which markets itself mostly as a mixed media company, added a planner to its Dylusions line by Dyan Reavely. The trend’s influence is visible even in lines not being explicitly sold as “planner” products, as “planner friendly” products like small stickers and washi tape are being seen more in papercrafts lines.

Below: Dylusions by Dyan Reavely Creative Dyary.

Creativation Trends -Dylusions planner

Flocks of Flamingoes

We started to see the flamingoes pop up in last summer’s beach and tropical themed lines, but this summer scrapbooking is being invaded by entire flocks of flamingoes. There’s stamps, dies, patterned papers, stickers – almost anything you can imagine has a flamingo on it! Echo Park, Crate Paper, and Spellbinders are just a handful of the industry names that are going to the (pink) birds for 2017.

Below: Lawn Fawn “Baby Flamingo” clear stamps

Creativation Trends -Lawn Fawn Flamingo stamps

Emojis

They’re not just for for internet hipsters anymore – emojis are cool for everyone. And with emojis making their way into the home decor and fashion markets, it was only a matter of time before we started seeing them in the crafts market. They’ve popped up in a few places in the past, but at Creativation they were much more noticeable. DCWV was prominently displaying a set of icons for its new letterboard, and Simple Stories introduced an entire emoji-inspired collection called “Emoji Love”.

Below: Simple Stories “Emoji Love” clear stickers

Creativation Trends -Simple Stories Emoji Love

Americana/Farmhouse

We usually see patriotic lines released late spring for the Memorial Day and July 4th holidays. But this year they reflect a new trend showing itself in home decor and fashion: Americana/Farmhouse. While Americana is red, white and blue like its patriotic themed counterparts, there are some key differences. Patriotic themed design is centered around red and white stripes and white stars on a navy background. But in Americana theme, the designs include those elements along with things like flowers, cows (or buffalos), bandana print, and other so-called “country” graphics.

Below: Pink Paislee “Sweet Freedom”

Creativation Trends -Pink Paislee Sweet Freedom Samples

Everything Old is New Again

Trends in the crafts industry tend to be cyclical, both in the sense of what craft is popular at a given time, and also in style trends. We’re seeing a real avalanche of trends and products this year that harken back to the industry’s early days. Hand lettering, foam stamps, rub-ons, cute animal characters, and the dominance of pens were among just a few of of the things on the Creativation show floor making me wonder if I’d time traveled to the early days of the 21st century again.

Below: Tim Holtz idea-ology Tag Press

Creativation Trends -Tim Holtz tag maker

Foam Stamps

One of the “old is new” products currently growing in market presence are foam stamps. Back in the early days of the scrapbooking boom, foam stamps were one of the commonly available supplies to scrapbookers since the stamps were already on the market for use in painting and home decor. Making Memories in its hey day of being a trendsetter even made some specifically for the scrapbooking market, including popular alphabets. They were loved for their affordability, but fell in popularity when the market began to be infatuated with affordable clear stamps.

With the rise of mixed media and increasing use of paint in papercrafting, foam stamps – designed for use with paints – have been creeping back into the market again. Prima launched some a few years ago. Last year, mixed media artist Julie Fei-Fan Balzer launched a line of foam stamps with Canadian company Art Foamies, and Heidi Swapp launched foam stamps in her line as well. Creativation saw more releases, including from Tim Holtz’s idea-ology line.

Below: Tim Holtz idea-ology Cling Foam Stamps

Creativation Trends -Tim Holtz idea-ology Foam Stamps

Hand Drawn Lettering

Another blast from the past that is rapidly gaining in popularity is the art of hand drawn lettering. This look was so popular in the early days of the industry that its popularity gave us the designer who is one of the biggest names in today’s industry, Becky Higgins. Partially driven today by the popularity of Bible journaling, this resurgent trend is spawning books, pens, stencils and even stamps to fake the look of hand done art.

Below: Tammy Tutterow collection by Spellbinders

Creativation Trends -Spellbinders Tammy Tutterow booth samples

Letter Boards

Retro looks and signage have been very popular lately, so perhaps it was only a matter of time before the letter board came back. These old style boards that could have letters or words anchored in their crevices were popular before that age of computer signage. Now they are back courtesy of craft industry brands like Heidi Swapp and DCWV.

.Below: Heidi Swapp Letterboard

Creativation Trends - Heidi Swapp Letterboard

Butterflies

It’s not uncommon to see a sprinkling of butterflies this time of year, but this year we are seeing hordes of colorful ones. Butterflies are being used in overall designs on patterned paper from One Canoe Two and Maggie Holmes, along with on many embellishments. This versatile trend covers themes from spring to little girl to nature.

Below: One Canoe Two “Hazelwood – Flock” patterned paper.

Creativation Trends - One Canoe Two Hazelwood Butterfly paper

Mixed Media

The past few years have seen the scrapbooking industry dominated by a trend toward “mixed media”. In case there was any question about whether mixed media was still going strong, two of the three new signature lines introduced by American Crafts at Creativation were mixed media lines: Jane Davenport and Vicki Boutin. Other companies such as Prima and Faber-Castell continued to expand their mixed media offerings, proving that they are still all in on this craft concept that combines various areas of the industry.

Below: Jane Davenport collection by American Crafts

Creativation Trends - Jane Davenport collection

Bible Journaling

It’s hard to believe that the launch of Bella Blvd’s “Illustrated Faith” brand with Shanna Noel was barely less than two years ago. Since then, Bible journaling has become a true force in the papercrafting industry, influencing the launch of mixed media products, stencils, stamp lines, and even a trend toward hand drawn lettering.

Below: Faber-Castell Bible Journaling Kit

Creativation Trends - Faber Castell Bible Journaling

What Creativation trends are your favorites? What trends did you see at the show?

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