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93 of 94 found the following review helpful:
The Best Part is the Light Box Mar 22, 2012
By T. Adlam
Setting up the craft station took mere minutes since all you really need to do is lay the station out and plug it in. It's not all that heavy and aside from the glass top, the rest is plastic, but it doesn't feel cheaply made. The feet on the station have some grips so it won't slide around, but the rough edges might scar a dark wood working surface (a lesson learned the hard way when I pushed it aside--my work table is dark wood which shows every knick and scratch).
The station itself has a large footprint (call it an even 17 inch square, but it's slightly smaller than that) and while you can do much directly on the station, I find that the guide arm tends to get in the way when working on large projects. (The comfortable working area is really only about 11"x11".) So, keep that in mind if you tend to do large craft projects because you'll likely be moving it out of the way so you'll have more room to work. On the plus side, it's fairly thin so you can store it on its side. (I store it under my work table leaned up against the edge.)
The main thing I like about this station is that it's ultimately a lighted tracing table with built-in 12" horizontal/vertical ruler (US measure, no metric). What bugged me slightly about the ruler, though, is that the horizontal measurements were top down (i.e. 1" at the top and 12" at the bottom) which is a pain when doing measurements from the corner--it's natural to place it in the lower left corner and work out from there, but this asks you to go from upper left. It's also a problem because the glass slightly distorts the lines when you're at an angle, so you have to stand up and look down to make sure you get an accurate measurement.
Another thing that worries me is that you cannot change the lights yourself. It uses LED lights, so one generally wouldn't need to worry about such, but goodness forbid one of the lights turns out to be a dud. Should something like that happen, the station would lose a great deal of its value.
The switch for the light is on the plug's cord rather than the box itself which seemed strange and light isn't the brightest I've seen, but it's adequate for projects using light (colour and weight) cardstock. I tried it out with some brown 65lb cardstock and it was a no-go--I could barely see the patterns underneath. But it worked just fine for the majority of my scrapbook pages which were lighter coloured.
Speaking of patterns, it comes with a small (~4"x5.5") metal stencil with elegent floral-esque designs and a set of 5 (12"x12") templates: guide lines for journaling (good-bye crooked lettering); centering guide for various sizes (i.e. 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, &c.); 1/2" grid, which essentially turns the glass area into a gridded cutting mat; semi-formal script alphabet, numbers, common punctuation marks (# : ; ! ?), common phrases ("Happy Birthday!", "happiness", "Congratulations", "Best wishes", "Thinking of you", "love", "Thanks", "It's your day", "Best friends", "You're the best!", "Welcome Baby", "sweet", "Baby Boy", "Baby Girl", "I love you", "Celebrate!", "Thank you", "Just Married"), and a few swirly border designs; and some elegant frames (reminds me of those found in wedding albums) and embellishments.
When tracing, you can use the templates on top of the glass and place your paper over it, but if you want to do cut-outs using the templates, you can slide it under the glass. One nitpick I had when sliding a couple templates under the glass was that the measurements were off--sometimes only by a hair's breadth, but still noticeable for the finicky types.
Moving along to the guide arm--it's a bit stiff to move from side to side, but I do like that it locks into place and won't budge. The problem, though, is that when locked, it's not completely flush with the glass so some papers can easily slide underneath (if you're using it as a straight edge) and if you're using it to lock a piece of paper in place to cut it with the included trimmer, the paper can slide around unless you apply pressure across the entire arm.
Since I'm used to a self-healing mat, I was scared to cut on the glass--scared that the glass would permanently scratch, thus become unusable. So far, though, I haven't noticed any marks and I've used a rotary cutter (pressing down hard to cut through multiple layers), the craft knife, and I've even accidentally dragged the point of my scissors across it.
I even tested it with a little heat. In the first case, I had a scrap of fabric that needed ironing, but I didn't want to move the station and get the ironing board for it, so I ironed directly on the glass surface without any ill effects. (Note: I did not put the iron near any of the plastic parts and the iron was on moderate heat.) I was also able to use my heat gun to help dry some glue, paint, and spray inks, again without any noticeable damage to the glass cutting surface.
The trimmer was a nice inclusion for quick straight edges, but it wouldn't replace a heavy duty trimmer, especially if it does more than straight edges (I have a YourStory trimmer which does wavy and perforated edges).
The other accessories are a craft knife, a burnisher, a trimmer (which switches out with the horizontal guide arm), and replacement blades. The craft knife has an hourglass shape close to the blade, ostensibly for ergonomics, but I find it uncomfortable to use so I'm sticking with my trusty X-ACTO.
The burnisher, which has the same shape as the knife, is rather comfortable to use--very easy to hold like a pen--I just wish it were double-sided with a finer tip for more delicate work. A touted feature of the trimmer is that you can change the blades hands-free, when in reality, you still need to use your hands, you just won't touch the blades directly. And changing the blades took a couple tries to get used to--definitely not as simple as my current trimmer--but once you get the hang of it, it's a rather quick and painless process.
Overall, this is a nice craft station, best suited for small to mid-size paper crafts, but if you have the space and don't mind moving it around (it's less than 5lbs, so it is movable), then it can also work for larger paper crafts, too. Although I have my quibbles with it, I definitely enjoy using it and it's made my life a bit easier.
I know this review became somewhat unweildy, but I do hope it was helpful to you. If you have any questions about the station or my experiences with it, just leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer.
64 of 67 found the following review helpful:
Disapointed Nov 24, 2012
I had my eye on the Martha Stewart Craft Station for a very long time, but I had a hard time justifying $100 for a tricked out light box. I LOVE the Martha Stewart Craft line, so I was very excited once I decided to get this for myself. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed for a couple of reasons:
- The light up box isn't very bright. I first used a piece of card stock and couldn't see through it at all. I then switched to just regular printer paper and I was surprised I still couldn't see through it.
- The stylus for dry embossing doesn't fit through the stencil provided.
- The arm doesn't glide very smoothly.
Overall, it was a great concept. It just didn't measure up to my expectations at all. Sorry Martha :(
46 of 49 found the following review helpful:
Lightbox Works Fine With Heavy Card Stock Dec 07, 2012
By Lesley Symmonds
I decided to risk buying the Craft Station despite the numerous negative reviews. Most of these complained that the light box was not bright enough to use with even the thinnest card stock or paper or that the light had bright and dark spots or was generally not consistently bright across the entire surface. I have now had my unit for less than two hours, have used the dry embossing tool and the plate that came with it, the cutter, and most importantly have traced an image using the light box and HEAVY CARD STOCK. I am here to tell you that the light box is plenty bright enough to allow an image to be seen and traced through heavy, colored card stock. They key is that you cannot have an overhead or task light shining on the work surface when you are tracing. I would think this would be common sense but perhaps not. I will add to this review as I gain more experience with the unit but so far it has 5 stars from me.
25 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Very cool Mar 21, 2012
By E. Dempsey
The Martha Stewart Craft Station is a nice addition to my ever growing collection of craft supplies. It is a light box, cutter, trimmer, ruler, and embosser all in one. The Craft Station includes: LED light table, blade shuttle, dry embossing metal stencil, alignment guide, embossing tool, cutting knife, script font and borders template, frames and tags template, journaling lines template, centering guide template, grid template, blade replacement cartridge with two blades. The best feature, in my opinion, is the light box. Light boxes are great for tracing embroidery patterns onto fabric, designs onto paper, etc. They can be rather expensive on their own, so having the light box feature combined with other uses is a plus, especially if you're tired of using your window to trace things! The LED lights are permanent and require no replacement bulbs, which is great. They are bright and allow you to trace easily with accuracy. The paper trimmer feature is great, too. Not having to get out a separate trimmer is a time saver while crafting and saves space, which I love. The embossing stencil is very easy to use with the included stylus, even for a complete beginner. The designs that are included are nice, I'm hoping they will come out with more in the future, but I have no knowledge of that. The design of the station allows you to slide the templates under the glass surface, which is very impressive. You don't have to hold them still on your own, and can trace them using the various guides to make cards of different sizes, trim mats for framing, cut borders, etc. Everything comes assembled so you can use out of the box. I haven't tried changing the blades yet but I did see a video on You Tube showing how to do so, so I will refer to that in the future when the blades need changing. I haven't had this for very long, but I am certain that I will find additional uses for it as time goes on, it really is very versatile and handy. The one thing that it does lack is a nice set of instructions and suggestions for use. There is a short instruction sheet included, but I found the instructions and diagrams to be very confusing and not very helpful at all. I basically figured out how to use it myself because the directions are awful. The diagrams are vague, confusing, and frustrating. There are no demonstrations of how the different features work, the instructions basically tell you how to change the blades. I found videos on line which were more informative, although the official video from Martha Stewart was not very helpful at all. You Tube had a better, more informative video. One other thing I should mention is that there is a warning on the product: This product contains DI-2-ethylhexyl phtalate (DEHP) and Di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP) chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling. Don't know much about that, but I'm surprised they didn't use more health conscious materials to make the station. With that aside, it a very nice unit which will come in handy for many tasks. Learning how to use it to its maximum potential will develop over time, I guess, since the instructions were virtually useless to me. The station is a bit pricey at retail cost, but Amazon is selling it at quite a discount. I would probably not pay full price for this, but the discount makes it much more sensible.
6 of 6 found the following review helpful:
This is perfect for paper crafts and even for children. Mar 21, 2012
By Bladen's Mommy
I got this today and I can honestly say that my 6 year old and I played with it the entire day. I took many pictures that I added to show the many uses this thing has and how well it performs each of it's functions. Upon unpacking the box, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it included a power cord. I definitely didn't want to be replacing batteries in something else, so that was a huge plus. It had a craft knife and hand held embossing tool included as well as 5 different tracing templates, an embossing stencil, alignment guide, and a blade replacement tool and 2 extra blades.
I am so impressed with the light in the light table. It is bright, but even after staring at it for hours, it didn't bother me at all, and I've been known to have my eyes hurt and get headaches.
The things I used most were the 1/2" grid template and the Script font and borders template. It was great to be able to write so pretty, even if I was "cheating". I included a picture of my first attempt at the script. I got better as the day went on and my 6 year old was even better than me at tracing and he hasn't even learned cursive yet, so I can see where this will be a very helpful tool when he does begin to learn cursive. I can easily make copies of proper cursive letters on transparency film and it will serve the same purpose as the templates. The grid template comes in very handy when you are trying to get things straight as you can line up all the sides and see through to the grid to get your writing or project straight.
Make sure that when you are cutting something, that you slide the templates under the glass, because they will get damaged if you cut on top of them. It is a little difficult to get the templates straight under the glass, but once you line up your template with the lines on the bottom and sides of the glass, you'll be set. The cutting feature is wonderful. You slide the grid template in under the glass, then slide the blade shuttle onto the end of the ruler arm. It went on very easily with no issues at all. Finally you lock down whatever you are cutting with the sliding ruler arm to where ever you want to cut, apply firm pressure and slide the blade shuttle down your project. It's really that easy.
We had a great time with the embossing stencil and tool and as you can see in the pictures, we had great success. It is a time consuming thing and is somewhat tedious, but I really don't think you can mess it up. Just remember to lay the stencil down on the glass, then what you want embossed face down on top of the stencil, then you use the little pen-like embossing tool to "trace" the stencil. It's very easy to see the stencil through the card stock, as you can see in the pictures.
The alignment tool for stamping is a great invention. It makes it extremely easy to get your stamps straight, which is something I've struggled with for a long time. Simply put your 1/2" grid template on the glass, then get your project straight on the table using the grid as your guide. Finally, slide your alignment tool on the ruler arm and move it to where you want your stamp to be on your project and lock in place, then you are ready to stamp above that guide.
I must say that this is so well made and all of the components are of high quality. I felt comfortable letting my 6 year old use everything, but the blades due to safety, without concern of something breaking. I can't wait to use this with all of my other crafting equipment to create some really nice things.
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