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Friday, June 29, 2007

REVIEW - Oriental Trading Co

I often use premade blank cards as my card base. It's very convenient and I don't have to worry about getting more envelopes because they usually are included. So I picked up some blank scalloped edge cards from The Oriental Trading Company a few weeks ago as well as a couple other type of blank cards. This was my first time to order with OTC and their prices were so enticing...cheap-cheap! Their products are cheap but it comes at a premium for the shipping. The shipping was approximately 23% of my total order. I thought I did pretty good though because I was only getting my supply basics... like the blank cards and standard brads. I'm kinda disappointed with my order and I must say that in this case I got what I paid for (minus the shipping costs).

All of the different types of blank cards that I bought were made of a glossy coated type of cardboard paper. I don't know how else to describe it. It's glossy but not like the glossy crafting paper. It's thicker than the usual cardstock but not too thick. It reminds me of recycled paper boxes or the material that really thin shirt gift boxes are made of but more shiny. Again I don't know what they are made of. Going back to the catalog to check the description and it doesn't tell you much about them. I almost sent my order back but then I thought I'd better try them out first. So here's what I've learned about these blanks:

1) They pick-up dirt, dust, and debris that you never new you had on your craft table. This causes residual staining on the paper... it's a stain like an oil spot. Now as a precaution I wrap all but the card front in scrap paper to keep the rest of the card clean.

2) Versa Magic Chalk inks do not stay on the top of the paper like they should. They act more like dye inks on this paper and seep in. It's totally bizarre! I was able to blend my colors but I felt like I really needed to work quickly with them before they dried or something. ??? Like I said it was bizarre. Oh yeah, they didn't emboss very well either with the Versa Magic Chalk inks. Shocking isn't it?

3) Palette inks take much longer to dry on this paper. Blot or hit the stamped image with the your heat gun to avoid smudges.

4) They come pre-folded and the folds are off a tad... meaning that the card edges don't lineup right. I trimmed the excess off with my scissors to correct this flaw.

5) The envelopes don't stay glued shut and are see-through thin. Not only that, some of the cards barely squeeze into the envie. I've been trimming all the regular blank ones down now before I start making a card to avoid this problem.

6) They are not A2 sized cards. The dimensions are listed in the catalog and I knew this before I bought them.

7) Braying ink over the entire surface reveals white imperfections in the paper. Another bizarre feature.

So there's my life lesson on OTC blank cards and I'll have to think twice about reordering these babies. I will say that the first time I showed my husband a card fully made with the blank he was impressed with the paper weight. He thought it made it a higher quality product because it was heavier than what I normally use. With my luck by the time I've used all of these guys up and I'll want more but I won't be able to find them. Still not sure what I think about these blanks... what do you think?

PHOTOS: Here's two more cards that I made with the blank cards. They have been trimmed. So the sizes are not exact to how they arrived.


Sarah said...

Thanks for the review! I've ordered metal embellishments and little matchbook albums from OTC and was pretty satisfied. I haven't used their envies or blank cards. I'm really particular about stuff lining up and not being of poor quality...so I'll keep your review in mind as I order from them in the future.

Corie said...

Thanks for the tips. I have often wondered about OTC.