Creatopia – Yay or nay?

11 Jan

A while back (okay okay, a loooooong while back) I talked about a new toy  that I was inspired to get. That was the Xyron Creatopia. Here’s a picture to jog your memory a bit:

The Xyron

Here is my new toy. Isn't she pretty?

And I promised a review, which has yet to materialize. Until today, that is. Ta da! 😉

I purchased the Xyron for a couple of reasons. First, it was on big sale. Second, it has removable inserts that can do a ton of cool things. After I purchased the Creatopia itself, I scoured the web and also bought the inserts that make it more functional. To start with, each Creatopia comes with an insert to apply adhesive. The Creatopia takes materials up to 12″ in width and up to .5″ thick. If it meets those requirements, you can make it into a big sticker. I’ve had good luck with that and look forward to finding more uses for it as the wedding crafting goes on.

You can also get refills of the regular adhesive, fabric adhesive, repositionable adhesive, or cold lamination. Whatever meets your needs, you can have it.

Then there are the inserts:

Cutz – This insert allows you to use different kind of blades to make straight cuts. By that I mean you’re not cutting circles or designs here. Just cutting. However, there are different styles of blades. You can cut a straight edge, or a deckled one, or a scalloped one, or a postage stamp one. You can even score and perforate. And you have the freedom to use multiple blades at the same time. So the Cutz insert is useful to me. Is it worth buying the entire Creatopia for? No. If this is all you want, get some rotary cutters or something and call it a day.

Patternz – Otherwise known as dry embossing. This works really well and has options for both embossing just edges or the entire page. Of course, you are limited to the patterns that Creatopia offers and that’s a pretty limited selection. Again, if this is the only thing you want to do, there’s a better solution out there for you. But if there is a pattern you like and you already have the Creatopia, it works really well.

Shapez – I won’t lie, this was my main motivation for getting the Creatopia. The Shapez insert allows you to use dies from any of the major die cutting systems (not catridge-based ones). Then by looking up the right combination of plates to use in the stack, you can use these dies with your Xyron. You can also use other systems’ embossing folders. So I was really excited about this, and I was convinced it was going to negate my mounting desire for a Cricut.

Now, maybe this is my own ineptitude. I don’t know. But for me, the dies didn’t work so well. I made sure I looked up the proper configuration for my stack. I piled everything up exactly as described in my instruction manual. And I ran the die+paper through the Shapez insert. And it didn’t cut all the way through the paper. I tried adding another plate to the stack. Now it wouldn’t go through the insert. So I started doing these complicated modifications to the stack with pieces of cardstock. Finally I got one to run through and cut completely. But that really wasn’t acceptable. I even bought the other systems’ stacks because the manual said I might need them. Still, no dice. I don’t know if it’s the Creatopia that failed me, or this kind of die cutting in general. But it didn’t meet my expectations and I haven’t used it since.

I do keep it because I can use the embossing folders with it which I think might be fun for scrapbooking eventually. So there’s that. But for die cutting, I no longer bother.

Bottom line? I probably wouldn’t have bought it at all if I’d realized the Shapez insert wasn’t going to meet my expectations. I would have saved the money and just gotten a Cricut. However, now that I have it, I do have uses for all the other inserts I have as well as limited use (just emobossing folders) for the Shapez insert. So I’ll keep the Creatopia and use it when I can. For example, it is quite handy for cutting the strips needed to make the tiny little paper lanterns I’m working on. But yeah, I’d just go for the Cricut instead. (On which there is probably a cooler way to cut those strips that I don’t know about.)

Have you ever made a larger purchase like this for the wedding? Did you think of ways to use it afterwards? Are you eyeing up the Xyron Creatopia now?

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