It’s been awhile…not since last May with the Cropadile…since I’ve fallen so madly in love with a new scrapbooking tool. But after first playing with my new Basic Grey Magnetic Mat a couple weeks ago, my heart is still going pitter-patter ever time I relive the experience. Maybe it’s that I’m still in that “I-just-met-you-and-you-can-do-no-wrong” stage with my BG baby, but I hope to stay perpetually infatuated. I know that many of you have the Basic Grey Magnetic Mat on your Christmas list, so here is my review:
This thing RAWKS! Here is a picture:
The retail cost is $24.99 and the mat is 15”x15”. The premise is this: The mat itself has a sheet of metal in between the black self-healing layers. Then the ruler and the little “tacks” are magnetized. So you use them to hold things in place while you cut with a craft knife, say, a curvy flourish or some letters. Or you use the tacks to hold down your pages in progress, which has two benefits: One, you can move things around while you’re deciding how to place your photos, journaling, and embellishments. Two, the magnets hold everything down and let you walk away from your project without worrying about all the pieces blowing away, falling on the floor, being tipped by a toddler, or batted by a cat. I even carried a partially done layout to a crop in my bag and it arrived completely intact. Those little babies are strong. For another $5.50 retail, you can get 10 additional magnetic tacks (the mat comes with 8). It hasn’t happened to me yet, but I’ve heard on the message boards that the silver paint on some people’s tacks begins to peel off. What a pain, but I heard you can paint them with clear nail polish to stop or prevent that from happening. I also heard that the customer service has been good with getting BG to replace them, yet who wants more tacks that are just going to peel. Someone else suggested getting little magnets elsewhere like the Container Store or wherever, so that’s an option (see why I love MB’s?? everyone is so helpful with sharing problems and solutions!).
I got my BG mat, of course, through Memory Works. When we first started carrying them, I wanted one but hesitated to buy a BG mat because I wasn’t sure if I should spend that much money on something I wasn’t sure I would use or like. I mean, for $25 I could get a lot of PP, ya’ know? Also, I didn’t exactly have $25 laying around so… But as time went by, I kept hearing people raving about their BG mats so, when I made a little money from a crop I held, I decided to buy it. Well, then they were out of stock for the longest time (How does that saying go? “She who hesitates is lost…”). FINALLY! They were in stock again and I ordered that baby right away. Actually, I ordered 4 because I had another crop coming up by then ~ 2 to sell, and 2 for me. Yes, TWO for me. I had also heard that if you get one, you may as well get two especially if you do mostly 2-page layouts (which I do). The thinking is that if you have 1 BG mat and get everything laid out, aren’t you going to want another one right next to it? See, scrappers are very logical girls J Well, I sold one of the remaining mats as soon as my mom saw it and I showed her how it works. She scraps 8.5 x 11, so one mat for her is fine I think. Then she used hers at the crop and I demo’d it for everyone, and sold a few more. Also sold FIVE of them at my Holiday Open House. It’s crazy…if you see this tool in action, you will want one!
In preparation for the Open House, I needed to put together a double layout called “Thankful” by My Minds Eye. Here is a photo of the finished product:
Anyway, perfect opportunity to try my BG mat, although I didn’t anticipate using it much because there weren’t any fancy craft knife cuts and the layout didn’t look very complicated. But was I wrong! I only broke out one mat for this project (can I confess…that was because my desk was so overtaken with ‘stuff’ that there was only room for one mat??). Anyway, I used the heck out of the BG mat. I made all the cuts to the papers on my Cutterpede according to the measurements on the Class Kit instructions. I cut out the exact phrases I would use on the layout, from the die cut sheets and the rub-on sheets. Then I placed everything for one layout arranged on the mat, using the magnets to hold everything down. I don’t know about you, but when I’m scraplifting a layout or putting together something from a class, I’m so nervous to tack anything down. I’ve had to do a LOT of unsticking in the past when I thought I had put this or that element where it should go, only to find when I got to the last step….urrrghh! No room left or something didn’t line up where it should. Well, here I was doubly nervous because this was a class project that others would be copying from, not a layout I could just shove in my album and hope no one noticed ‘my lil boo boos.’ It had to look just like the picture, y’know? So I was really loving those magnets in a big way. It was so cool to lay out the elements, tack them, notice something wasn’t going to fit later, and be able to easily move things around til it was perfect.
The other thing I loved was the ruler. First of all, BG was very smart to make it longer than 12” long. It’s a full 18” long, which allows plenty of room on either end of the ruler hanging off past the edge of your layout. I had the background paper down on the mat with the ruler either horizontally or vertically across the paper. Making sure both the paper and the ruler were lined up with the markings on the mat, I was able to easily make sure my photo mats and other elements were perfectly straight. Now, this is something I’ve needed help with for a while. In a way, I’m a perfectionist with straight lines and really prefer the look when everything is straight (if it’s meant to be so). But I hate trying to make it that way, with my old 12” long plastic ruler and the Creative Memories 10”x12” cutting mat I had been using (yes, I was long overdue for a larger mat). Anyway, I really enjoyed being able to easily have straight lines…I think, for me, that is one of the most addicting things about the BG Magnetic Mat.
So if the Basic Grey Magnetic Mat is on your Christmas list, I hope you’ve been “nice” this year, and Santa puts one under your tree. If you already have one, give us YOUR review in Comments or link us to your blog!