Thursday 12 September 2013

Autumnal FUSE

The challenge this week at Less is More is to use the colours Dark Green and Rust and that naturally lead me down the autumnal path particuarly given the recent change in the weather and also because I wanted to play with my new Fiskars FUSE creativity system - more on that later - first here's my card:

I created the focal point using one of the letterpress and die sets on the FUSE - I created my own custom card by blending 3 distress inks onto some kraft card (rusty hinge, spiced marmalade and mahogany) and spritzing with water with a little gold pearl powder in it.  I added a few splatters of red cosmic shimmer with a waterbrush and flicking technique.   Once dry I inked up one of the leaf designs from the FUSE die with potters clay ink - inserted it into the die and ran it through the machine to get the stamped, letterpress and die cut in one pass :-D   I mounted it onto a woodgrain inked panel using dark green ink (Waltzingmouse Woodgrain) edged with some dark green card stock.  I added a button and green twine for interest and finished with a sentiment from Clearly Besotted (Many Messages)

Now a little bit more on the FUSE as those of you who knew I had one had asked me what I thought of it.  Now I have to say that I was VERY, VERY LUCKY to win my machine - I entered a competition on the Fiskars European website, one of those 'just supply and email' that you often think no-one ever wins - well I can tell you know they do cos I did!!!   And very grateful I was too as the machines are in the "considered purchase" category for most of us but one was definitely on my wish list!

So - what do I think?

First off - it's a BIG machine - if space is an issue in your crafting space then you need to have a look at one before you consider a purchase - I have some photos below and it's sitting on top of a chest freezer and it fills the top of it!   For me though the size was a plus point as I was hoping I could use this machine instead of my grand calibur which I don't really get on well with (particuarly using the rubber embossing mats as I find they "stick" and squish too much)  I like the more "open" design of the FUSE which is more like my beloved Big Kick (same as a big shot but older!)

Now I haven't played with it tonnes yet - so this is my no means an expert review - I need to play around with it alot more before I can claim to understand it well but I thought it was worth sharing my initials likes and dislikes with what I have tried so far.

Firstly the pros - it's best feature so far has to be the ease at which you can create inked and uninked letterpress designs - the system is super-simple and gives brilliant results in seconds (as on my card above).  The starter pack comes with one die and two matching letterpress plates (as shown in this photo below)  You simply sandwich the die (similar to a sizzix bigz die in style but unfortunately they don't fit any other machine but the FUSE) with your desired plate inside with your cardstock and the little backing plate and feed it through and hey-presto perfect letterpress every time!  You can use the letterpress designs without the dies too although I haven't tried that yet so don't know what effect it gives.

The designs work well both uninked or inked and the plastic plates are easy to ink (nice and deep so you don't get ink where you don't want it) and very easy to clean (I just ran mine under the tap)   There are quite a lot of designs to buy now - the only UK stockist I've found is Hobbycraft where a die with two plates comes in around £20-£23 and an expansion pack of further plates to fit that die (typically 4 plates) comes in around £12.   For me personally the dies and designs are a bit limited - there were few that I thought I would get a lot of use out of (I picked the leaf to make an autumnal wreath)  May of the designs are too large to be used in the kind of card making I do - they are more for people who just want the die and letterpress to be the final card really (well in my opinion anyhow) as there are a lot of tags and basic shapes like squares and ovals etc.  It's all new though so maybe they will bring out smaller designs in the future (ie a die with 4 or 5 smaller leaves would be much more versatile)

Now the cons - the most disappointing thing I found is with the adapter plate system that you can buy (for a whopping £50!) which allows you to use your existing dies and folders from other systems.  My major con here (and I use the con in both its meanings) is that the plates are really the same width as the ones you get in a big shot - see the photo below - despite having all that lovely width - you can't actually cut on it as the plate only takes up a little more than half the width of the machine :(   Now, they may well bring out wider plates in the future - for more money - but I really think it is a bit of a con - why make the machine so wide if you can't use the width?  The specific dies are very narrow so don't need the width so I was really hoping the plates would be wider so I could put 12x12 cardstock through it.

The adapter kit comes with various shims and cutting and embossing plates so you can use all your existing dies and folders - and includes a table showing you what to use with which die etc - although this doesn't cover every die on the market so for the one I tried it with (a tattered lace die) I just had to guess (I used the spellbinders instructions) but I found I had to run it through a couple of times to get a full cut.  I also think the adaption system is quite complicated.

On the plus side again though I did get excellent results with a stampin up embossing folder and the extra width of the machine does allow you more flexibility of how you feed the card into your folder which if you're a one-layer card maker does extend the design possibilities of your cards (and is one of the main reasons I wanted a "bigger" machine" as I get so frustrated trying to get the folders through the big kick and not getting them in the orientation I want)   However, you are still a bit limited as some folders are wider than the adapter plate if you turn them landscape so your design doesn't fully emboss the width of the card.

These are as I said, just my initial thoughts on it and I may well find I'm "doing things wrong" as I get to grips with it - so watch this space.   At the moment though I'm really not as excited by the FUSE as I thought I would be (sorry Fiskars - don't mean to sound ungrateful but I'm from Yorkshire and we're known for brutal honesty) and I don't think it can replace my calibur :( even though I don't like the calibur much I don't believe the FUSE can do some of the "wider" things I wanted it for.  So it looks like a Big Shot Pro is back on my wish list..........


  1. Love this card - very Autumnal! A beautifully clean and simple card.

    I really enjoyed your review of the Fuse - food for thought. My beloved Cuttlebug broke on Monday (deep mourning here), and while I do like my Grand Calibur, I'm shopping for a replacement die cutting machine. I don't think it's going to be the Fuse. However, I am looking at the Big Shot! Off to browse the net!

  2. Beautiful and very Autumnal Tara, lovely card! I love the wood grain effect :D I've never heard of the Fuse that's a brilliant review, well done! I shall look forward to hearing how you get on with it long term. :D Gay x

  3. great tara and lucky you with the fuse
    Thanks for joining us this week
    Jen x
    "Less Is More"

  4. This is great Tara...well done on your win.... super luck!
    Thanks so much
    "Less is More"

  5. The card is lovely!

    I wanted to leave you a note to let you know that Fiskars HAS come out with some 12x12 dies and a 12x12 cutting plate and mat. Unfortunately, they have not yet come out with a 12x12 base plate to my knowledge, though, but there's hope!

  6. A lovely autumnal card Tara! I really like the colour you've used to ink the woodgrain. Good for you for writing an un-biased review of the FUSE. I'm sure it's a nice-to-have for free though and a 12x12 base plate could follow...?! Vicky x


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