Have you ever bought a tool that looked like it would be easy to use and then felt like a failure when you kept having issues? No? I sure have! Many times all you need is a simple tip or to have someone show you a shortcut that makes using your tool a million times easier. One of our readers wrote in and asked what the trick was to using a paper crimper. She has a problem keeping the paper straight as it goes through the rollers in the tool. I have a few tips for her, and while we are at it, I thought we would explore some ideas on how to utilize the paper crimper into our card making.
First, what is a paper crimper? A paper crimper is a tool that has two textured rollers and a lever that is squeezed to hold the paper, as well as a knob or crank on the side. You start by inserting the paper into the edge of the rollers, inserting it just enough so the paper is grabbed and held in place when you squeeze the lever that closes the rollers and engages the start of the crimping process. Next, while still squeezing the pressure lever, you turn the crank on the side to advance the paper through the texture rollers, thus crimping the paper. Continue until the entire piece of paper has been texturized.
Overall, the paper crimper is a fairly easy tool to use. The biggest obstacle for most is making sure the paper is inserted straight in the beginning. I have found that if you squeeze the pressure lever just a little bit, to almost engage the rollers before you place the paper into the opening, it helps. Once you have the paper against the rollers, squeeze the lever the rest of the way to grab the paper. Another tip is to place your paper against one of the sides of the opening versus placing it free-floating in the middle of the opening. The side will help guide the paper in straight. This works best if the paper is a larger piece or has a straight edge.
If all else fails, embrace the slightly crooked lines. The corrugated texture that the paper crimper creates can work whether the lines are straight or on an angle. You can also use those "mistakes" with your dies and punches to create custom embellishments that can be added to your cards or scrapbook pages. Something to keep in mind: Crimp the paper before you punch or die-cut the shapes. If you run a precut shape through the crimper, the shape will be distorted.
Now that you have a few tips on how to use your paper crimper, what can you do with the texturized paper pieces? Add strips of crimped paper to any card for texture and interest. It can be used as a large background piece or in place of ribbon. Consider using the pieces as the base of a cupcake for the wrapper or to re-create the look of galvanized roofing for the top of a house on a "new home" card.
Dig out that paper crimper that you bought when you first started crafting, brush off the dust and have some fun with it. I challenge you to use your paper crimper on your next paper-crafting project!