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Old 09-18-2008, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default Question about matting, layers, measurements and straightness

Let's talk about this. I consider myself a good eyeballer, but I often have SLIGHTLY crooked layers on my cards, and it drives me batty. Often after I think it's straight, I look at it in another angle and it turned out that it's crooked, but already stuck on.

So how do you make your mats straight, what measurements do you use for mats, I've seen cards with just a hair of a mat showing.

Just tell me everything you think I should know to get better at this.

I know about perfect layers, but they're wicked hard to find. And I heard people just end up cutting into the plastic ruler with their exacto knife. I don't own this tool...

Thanks

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Old 09-18-2008, 07:10 AM   #2
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I cut almost everything but my tiny layers with my MM Rotary Trimmer. If it's lined up at the bottom, it will be perfectly square, then I just measure my first layer and add the measurements to make the layer under it and so on. As long as each is held carefully flush, they come out perfect.

I had the Perfect Layers tool and hated it...I found it wasn't worth digging out, and that it was more likely to slip than the big trimmer.
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:13 AM   #3
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I have this same problem. I think that something like Nestabilities would solve it somewhat. I'd still have to adhere everything straight, but at least the panels would be perfectly sized. LOL Can't cut straight to save my life, but some here have said that the Tim Holtz craft ruler is really good for lining up your paper.

Thanks for starting this thread, as I'd like to know what others do.
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:21 AM   #4
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Stampin' Up's grid paper is an awesome tool for lining up your layers. A lot of people think it's only scratch paper, but it's a wonderful measuring tool, too!
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:29 AM   #5
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How do you use the grid paper for lining up your layers? In my head I can only see being able to line up your bottom layer within the grid lines, but they wouldn't help when I tried to put the next layer, centered, straight and with even borders on my next layer.

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Old 09-18-2008, 07:34 AM   #6
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bump-I am curious too!
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #7
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I want the Perfect Layers set, too. Right now, I use the Tim Holtz Design Ruler. It's see-thru acrylic with a grid printed on it. There also a metal "edge" so you don't cut into your ruler. Bonus: holes for paper piercing...
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 53queenbeeView Post
bump-I am curious too!
Someone suggested this and I found it works pretty good-use post it notes! Get everything centered/straight then run two postit notes along a side edge and the top edge. I also run the postits off the edge of the bottom layer so it will stay in place. Then you can apply adhesive to the top layer & just line it up with the postits!

Also, a centering ruler makes life a lot easier!

However, I still for the life of me cannot line up a cardfront perfectly! I usually just trim off the offending edge.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:07 AM   #9
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I just use my eyes. There are time when the background image might make a layer appear crooked, so I will adjust it and even though it's technically crooked it looks better to the eye.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:14 AM   #10
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Here's how I use the grid paper. The little squares are a quarter inch. Mind you, there are rulers marked out on the edges of the grid paper also, but I tend to use the little squares themselves. For example, if I have a layer that I'm trying to get centered on my card, I will place the card on the paper, then line my layered piece up on my grid paper and look to see if I have an equal number on squares on all sides. It's really easy to see if a layer is crooked, just by seeing if it lines up all the way across the line of the grid.

HTH!
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:26 AM   #11
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I struggled with crooked layers for some time. Drove me nuts. My cutter would not give me a straight line. I am not a fan of using a ruler with a craft knife - that just sounds like an ER visit waiting to happen. I now have Nestabilities and a better cutter. I love using the Nestabilities for layers. Easy, easy, easy. And I got a Tonic cutter, tossed the Fiskars cutter that could not cut straight ever! If you can invest in some nestabilities or a good cutter. Too often the cheap ones just don't cut well - you get what you pay for.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:33 AM   #12
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I invested $$$ in a Carl Cutter two years ago and am still using the same blade - it's sharp as ever, and not a wonky cut in that time. I have replaced the cutting strip but that's only around $6.00 and you can change it from end to end, and front to back, so you actually get four times the cutting on it. The measurements on the 12 x 12 board are in 1/32" 1/16", 1/8", 1/4", 1/2"", 1" increments etc.

Perfect layers are not a problem for me any more.

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Old 09-18-2008, 12:23 PM   #13
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I just cut everything on my SU table top paper trimmer. Normally I do 1/8" mats. I do 1/4" sometimes, but I really prefer 1/8" in most cases. I don't always have them perfect, but as long as it's pretty close I doubt worry about it too much. It is a handmade card after all. I think imperfections are expected.

One thing I've noticed is that the top and bottom edge on most paper trimmers aren't perfectly straight. They're just a tad off, but it's enough to make a difference. Once I realized that, my layers started looking a lot better.
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:44 PM   #14
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Quote:

Originally Posted by whoistracyView Post
I just use my eyes. There are time when the background image might make a layer appear crooked, so I will adjust it and even though it's technically crooked it looks better to the eye.
I'd echo this. There are some Hero Arts images I use a lot, and although they are in *square* frames they are not true squares. Times like that I think it's better to mat using the lines in the image. I had the same issue today with a Rubber Romance stamp I used for the silhouette challenge - until I came to matting it, I didn't realise it wasn't quite square.
Mostly I just use either the Judikins ruler which is in cm or the Tim Holtz one which is in inches - between the two I have a good choice.
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:51 PM   #15
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Quote:

Stampin' Up's grid paper is an awesome tool for lining up your layers. A lot of people think it's only scratch paper, but it's a wonderful measuring tool, too!
Quote:

Here's how I use the grid paper. The little squares are a quarter inch. Mind you, there are rulers marked out on the edges of the grid paper also, but I tend to use the little squares themselves. For example, if I have a layer that I'm trying to get centered on my card, I will place the card on the paper, then line my layered piece up on my grid paper and look to see if I have an equal number on squares on all sides. It's really easy to see if a layer is crooked, just by seeing if it lines up all the way across the line of the grid.
Yep, exactly what I do. Quad paper works equally well, the kind you get in the school supply section of most big box stores or office supply stores. The grid paper is a larger piece of paper with measurements though, which makes it handier.
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Old 09-18-2008, 12:53 PM   #16
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If I'm not using my rectangular nesties for a scalloped edge, I adhere the small piece to a mat that is cut slightly too big. Then I trim off the edges with my craft knife and a metal ruler - eyeballing the amoount to cut off.
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:03 PM   #17
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I use an old (read it as 'ancient') Fiskars tabletop paper cutter to cut - everything is always true. Then, for placement . . . I use a sewing notion called a hem guage (it's a metal, 6 inch, slim, ruler with a sliding, plastic pointer). If I need a 1/4" all around, I set the pointer at 1/4" inch . . . eyeball it first, hold in place and check with the hem guage. It sounds more complicated than it really is . . . the hem guages are cheap at Wal-Mart or craft stores . . . you could give it a try for less than $1, I would think.

Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:08 PM   #18
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I use the Perfect Layers tool. It works GREAT!
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:17 PM   #19
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LOVE my Perfect Layers too! There's a tutorial on my blog....
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:17 PM   #20
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Oh Geez...I guess I gotta get with the times. I just use my eyeball and my fingernails. I hold the piece of paper I want to mat up against the paper that will serve as the mat, then eyeball how much I want as a mat and mark it with my fingernail. I make my cut right on the indent. As long as my eyesight holds up, this works for me .
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Old 09-18-2008, 01:57 PM   #21
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Perfect Layers tool! I use a small rotary cutter (available in the quilting supplies dept) because I feel I have more control than with a craft blade. Even though SU retired this item recently, you can still buy them from several places. Check out this link for QVC. They have a pretty good deal on them right now.

Also check out this thread that was recently on the Tools and Products forum where we discussed the Perfect Layers tool.

If you are obsessive about perfect mats and straight edges, like I am, you will find this a worthwhile investment.
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:13 PM   #22
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Honestly, the Perfect Layers Tool is absolutely worth every bit of trouble to find it. I have tried every which way, and NOTHING even comes close to giving me perfect, PROFESSIONAL looking mats EVERY SINGLE TIME like Perfect Layers does.

And just because you might nick the tool every now and then doesn't render it useless.

Besides card stock, a trimmer, and an adhesive, this is the ONLY product I use on every single card/layout I make. They will have to pry the thing from my cold, dead hands!
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:31 PM   #23
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I have a question about the perfect layers tool (I have one), but I never use it as I glue my layers together after I have already cut all of them (this way my layers are always centered). Am I correct in my assumption that you use the perfect layers tool after you have glued (taped etc) one layer ontop of another? My tool (from SU) did not come with any sort of instructions.
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:53 PM   #24
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Quote:

Originally Posted by dalView Post
I have a question about the perfect layers tool (I have one), but I never use it as I glue my layers together after I have already cut all of them (this way my layers are always centered). Am I correct in my assumption that you use the perfect layers tool after you have glued (taped etc) one layer ontop of another? My tool (from SU) did not come with any sort of instructions.
Yes, you do adhere your layers first. The great thing about PL is that you can slap the top layer onto the larger layer any ol' way, use your PL tool, and you will get a perfectly centered mat. You can even mat an odd shaped layer. The funny thing is that I was always pretty good at eyeballing my layers to get them even, so I didn't really think I would use this tool that much...but now, I always mat w/ it.
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Old 09-18-2008, 03:09 PM   #25
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Quote:

Originally Posted by bnlnkidsView Post
Honestly, the Perfect Layers Tool is absolutely worth every bit of trouble to find it. I have tried every which way, and NOTHING even comes close to giving me perfect, PROFESSIONAL looking mats EVERY SINGLE TIME like Perfect Layers does.

And just because you might nick the tool every now and then doesn't render it useless.

Besides card stock, a trimmer, and an adhesive, this is the ONLY product I use on every single card/layout I make. They will have to pry the thing from my cold, dead hands!
What she said!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my perfect layers tool. In fact, I have two just in case something should ever happen to mine!! There is a slight learning curve but once you have it, you will NEVER be without it and it's as easy as putting adhesive on your card. And absolutely they will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands! LOVE it!!!
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Old 09-18-2008, 04:59 PM   #26
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I have a brand new, tried once SU Perfect Layer Tool I would love to sell!

I can't use it, no strength in my hands to use as craft knife.
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:38 PM   #27
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Perfectly straight lines are highly over rated. I cut everything on my SU paper trimmer (probably made for SU by Fiskars) and it's good enough for me! If something really just doesn't 'look' right, time to tear it! Works every time
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:36 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by StampinMama1204View Post
Oh Geez...I guess I gotta get with the times. I just use my eyeball and my fingernails. I hold the piece of paper I want to mat up against the paper that will serve as the mat, then eyeball how much I want as a mat and mark it with my fingernail. I make my cut right on the indent. As long as my eyesight holds up, this works for me .
BWAaaaah, I thought I was the only one!

The thing that makes this work is the simple little fiscars cutter. (I have the old gray kind and the new purple kind like SU's, I actually like the old kind a bit better) I could never get a straight line until it came into my life. If you hold the piece of paper at the bottom with the swing arm out to the right and push the paper flush against it, then pull firmly and quickly down toward you, you'll get a perfect cut. Then I do the fingernail and eyeball thing and repeat! If I need to I can shave a HAIR off with that cutter! Amazing!

I should also confess that sometimes I glue my piece down first with two sides lined up and then use my cutter to trim the rest.... shhh don't tell anyone!
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:31 PM   #29
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I LOVE my Perfect Layers tool! I use it all the time. Don't know what I would do without it!
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:43 PM   #30
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I love my perfect layers set. I bought mine off QVC and have worn out one set, have the set I am now using and have another set unopened for a spare. Don't think I could scrap without it!!!!! The ultimate tool for mats.
..............did I mention I love perfect layers!!
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:43 PM   #31
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I used to have a lot of problems with getting my layers straignt until I tool a class where the instructor told us to measure our rulers against our paper cutters and other rulers we owned. I found that some of my rulers were off by 1/16" from other rulers. Others we not equal to my paper cutters. I now use only c-thru rulers because they all match each other and my paper cutter. If you don't want to buy new rulers, at least only use the same ruler to make all your measurements. In addition, the C-thru rulers have a grid that allows you to make sure your layers are straight and even. It helps, really it does.
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:40 PM   #32
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Quote:

Originally Posted by bnlnkidsView Post
Honestly, the Perfect Layers Tool is absolutely worth every bit of trouble to find it. I have tried every which way, and NOTHING even comes close to giving me perfect, PROFESSIONAL looking mats EVERY SINGLE TIME like Perfect Layers does.

And just because you might nick the tool every now and then doesn't render it useless.

Besides card stock, a trimmer, and an adhesive, this is the ONLY product I use on every single card/layout I make. They will have to pry the thing from my cold, dead hands!
Yep! I totally agree with you!!!
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:54 PM   #33
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I just use my MM paper trimmer to cut my mats. Depending what I am looking for as far as a look, I got anywhere from 1/8 to 1 inch or more for a mat more than my pictures.

To get them line up straight I bought a see-through grid ruler that is 18 inches long and it works amazing for lining things up - on cards as well as on my scrapbook pages.
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