I love making books by hand and using unusual sized books for my Daily Pages. A few months ago, I learned of the Mini Cinch by We R Memory Keepers and decided to add it to my book making arsenal. What follows is my honest review of the Mini Cinch.
I also want to state that I am in no way compensated for writing this review. The links I include are more informational, and not that they are the best deal. I encourage you to shop around if you’re interested in this product!
What You Get
The Mini Cinch kit comes with Mini Cinch tool, a needle-nose pliers, 6 sheets of black chipboard (8.5 x 11) for covers, and 16 eleven-inch long 5/8-inch diameter coils of various colors. The instructions are printed in four languages (English, French, Spanish, and German) on one very large, folded sheet.
Let me say straight-up, that upper arm strength is a plus, especially when punching the chipboard included in the kit. The holes punched are square, with two holes per inch (aka 2:1 pitch). This is important to remember, and I will discuss this more in the Supplies section.
The thicker the material, the rougher some of the punched edges will be. The rough edges don’t interfere with the function of the notebook.
The book board provided is 2 mm thick (just over 1/16th of an inch, .073 inches). For comparison:
- chipboard back of legal note pad, is just over 1mm, (.04 inches).
- Cricut chipboard is 1.5mm (.05 inch)
In my tests, I found the legal note pad chipboard much easier to punch, but it still left some ragged edges. I’ll go over some book board options in the Replenishing Your Supplies section of this article.
Strathmore 400 series hot press mixed media paper (a heavyweight paper), punched cleanly and easily, two sheets at a time. Lighter weight paper should be a breeze to punch.
There is an alignment guide to help center the pages correctly for the punches based on the fractional width of the paper or board to be punched (1/2, 5/8, etc.). The instructions for the alignment guide for various paper widths are described within the instructions and are also referenced by a chart on the Mini Cinch itself.
The Mini Cinch punches up to 3 inches in width without repositioning. If your paper is wider, the Alignment Pin is used to keep you on track. Again, the instructions do a good job of describing how to use the Alignment Pin.
Binding and Cinching
You can make a notebook of any size with the Mini Cinch if you have enough coil to bind and cinch your project. I’ve seen larger notebooks with two shorter cinched sections.
The instructions are explicit about how to set up your project to be bound and cinched, including a tip for assembly order of your project to hide the wire seam inside the back cover.
What the instructions don’t cover is the need to twist the ends of the wire with the needle-nose pliers to the inside of the coils after the coil is trimmed and the project is cinched. Otherwise, the wire edge will catch on to your clothing and/or scratch you.
Replenishing Your Supplies
Coil refills and additional chip board are available through We R Memory Keepers, Amazon, and some scrapbooking retailers.
There are other widths of binding coils – 1 inch in diameter is the most popular option. I don’t think the larger coils will cinch as well in the machine. Which means the We R Memory Keepers Cinch coils which are 1 inch diameter would not be compatible with the Mini Cinch, even though the pitch is correct. However, it’s very simple to self-cinch by grabbing some pliers to squeeze the wires together.
If you want to look at other comparable options at your favorite arts and crafts source, you’ll want to look for coils that will have a 5/8-inch (.625 inches) diameter (cinched) and a 2:1 pitch. Manufacturers of other coil products are upfront in their descriptions of pitch and finished diameter of their coils.
For chipboard, I’d recommend going with a thinner chipboard option than what’s included in the kit. You might wind up purchasing a sheet of chipboard that is larger than 8.5 x 11, but the thinner chipboard will be easier to cut with a craft knife or other cutting device. And it will be easier to punch holes in thinner chipboard.
You could also adhere two pieces of cardstock from your stash to create custom covers and backs.
I wish We R Memory Keepers had come up with a method to securely hold the needle-nose pliers when not in use. It wound up getting lost in my tool drawer. I may have to put a leash on it myself.
Be careful when you empty your tray! The confetti tray is easy to remove, and just as easy to accidentally dump on your workspace or floor. I wish they had used a latch system or something more substantial to secure the tray more that tiny bumps of plastic. I probably will use duct tape to secure the tray.
I recommend the Mini Cinch tool. I had fun working with it and creating a variety of notebooks. The instructions are easy to follow, the tool is easy to use, even if you may need to beef up your arm strength for thicker chipboard. If you like to DIY your notebooks or Daily Pages books, this is right up your alley.
If you have any comments or questions about my Mini Cinch experience, feel free to post them in the Comments section, or drop me a line at the Awesome Ladies Project. I’m carolannewall on the site.