The Versa-Tool by Walnut Hollow does so much that we think it’s indispensable in our craft tool arsenal. Today’s Tool Talk Tuesday is all about how you can use the Versa Tool to produce unique upcycles.
What Does a Versa-Tool Do?
Many people think of the Versa-Tool as a beginner wood burner kit. However, it’s actually the ultimate tool for crafting of any kind. The variety of tips allows it to function for more than just wood burning. You can use it to leather craft, solder and stamp. There’s also a hot knife and stencil cutter that we use extensively for our upcycle crafts here at Birdz of a Feather. It even comes with a soldering tip and lead free solder.
As you’ll see further ahead, I’ve put it through its paces to fuse felt, cut through plastic, make stencils and cut a vinyl record.
By the way, my Versa-Tool is so old, I don’t have a temperature control. But if you have a new one, the control allows you to adjust the heat output so leather and cork work can be done at lower temperatures.
Watch This Video
Watch today’s 4 minute Tool Talk Tuesday video to learn more.
There are 11 tips to work with, plus the stand, lead-free solder and a handy carrying case so you can return component to its rightful place. The only thing I would caution is to make sure the tips are cooled down completely before putting away into the plastic sleeve.
The Versa-Tool tip I use most for wood burning is the universal tip, seen here to wood burn these letters.
It’s always a good idea to work in a well ventilated space when burning wood; any opportunity to craft outdoors in our garden is welcome!
But before getting to the actual wood burning, there’s another great tip that will help you transfer your pattern! This is the transfer tip:
Once heated, the flat surface gets rubbed onto the back of a laser print.
It couldn’t be easier to use; just keep the hot tool moving across the back of the face-down paper until the ink transfers to the wood surface. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that when you print your pattern, you must mirror the image – especially if you have text – or it will end up backwards.
Here’s my wood burning project after attaching the letters to the envelope of a birthday card.
Before changing the points, if you’re wood burning a project that requires different tips, turn the tool off and let it cool completely. Twist off the point with a pair of pliers so you don’t burn yourself (the tips hold heat for quite a while). Or do what I do and keep two on hand so you can switch back and forth.
When you’re not using the tool, be sure to return it to the stand. Never let it rest on a surface without the stand.
Fusing with the Versa-Tool Stencil Tip
The stencil tip I show on the video is straight, but I also have this curved one. I developed a unique technique for fusing felt together.
Just run the hot tip along a metal edge ruler. Ideally, you want the ruler over the part that’s staying on the project so you get a nice clean line.
Here it is after burning all the edges.
Now, just tear away the excess.
Continue on to the next piece. If you’d like to see the finished project, check out easy felt appliqué.
Cutting Through Plastic
It was around this time of year we made our soda bottle vertical garden and used the straight stencil. It really is a great project, suitable for indoor our outdoor spaces.
Stencil Cutting with the Versa-Tool
Along with the stencil point, the hot knife point is also useful for cutting stencils.
For instance, I cut the ‘joy’ part of this stencil out of plain ‘ol acetate (the kind you use for projectors) (see Poinsettia Christmas Decor).
However, it takes some practice to cut stencils and you must cut over a piece of glass. I use a small glass cutting board for this. Use a smooth one that’s not textured or you won’t get clean cuts. And keep the hot knife moving so you don’t overheat one spot. If you’re not steady and quick, you’ll just melt the plastic and won’t get clean lines.
Although not as fast, quite honestly, I’m just as happy using an X-Acto knife with an Omnigrid cutting mat for stencils like I did for this hot cocoa bar sign. But give it a try if you have a Versa-Tool and let us know what YOU thinK.
Cutting Vinyl with the Hot Knife
But when it comes to vinyl record art, the hot knife is a must. There’s no substitution for cutting through something THIS thick and challenging.
If you’re looking for a great way to hide your valuables, you might need the soldering tip:
However you won’t need the lead-free solder for this CO Detector Wall Safe: Hidden in Paint Sight.
That’s because with this project, the goal was to remove it, not add it. At the time we did this project, we didn’t have the Versa-Tool (as you see below) and used a big clunky stained glass tip to remove the solder on the circuit board. Versa-Tool’s soldering point will definitely come in handy if we ever need to remove solder again.
There are three stamping points in the Versa Tool kit.
We’ve never personally tried them, but I’m digging the bullseye pattern. I’m sure we’ll come up with a way to use them eventually.
Taking Care of the Tips
I have not yet cleaned the tips I use most, but found this video on how to clean wood burning tips if you ever need to check it out.
Pinning is always welcome and appreciated.