Using a Xyron ® Machine in your Altered Book Projects


Xyron® is a registered trade name for a machine with four uses. Depending on the model you are using, you can: (1)turn a paper into a sticker; (2) do cold laminating; (3) make labels; and, (4) make magnets.

Since the personal models of the machine do not use heat, solvents, electricity or batteries, it is safe for children to use, and safe to to use with photographs, flowers, and other items that you want to protect.

(Some professional models use electricity).

The adhesives used are dry adhesives, and will work on almost any surface, including paper, vellum, photographs, die cuts, embossed art, ribbon, felt and fabrics.

The consumer version of the machine comes in various sizes, ranging from the tiny Xyron 150 Create-A-Sticker Machine to the powerful Xyron® 1200 Machine & Accessories pictured above.

The tiny 150 can turn almost any item up to 1 1/2" wide into a peel-and-stick mini-sticker. The smaller machines are often called Sticker Makers, since that is what they do best. The poweful 1200, the Cadillac model, performs all four functions noted above, and can handle papers up to 12 inches wide and 100 feet long.

And of course, there are many various sizes and models in between the two extremes.

How to Use Your Machine

Using a Xron® machine involves inserting a cartridge (containing the adhesive) in the machine, placing your project in the machine, and then turning the handle. The project emerges from one end, attached to the adhesive paper that was in the cartridge. You then cut the project, using the machine's cutting blade. Depending on the type of cartridge you used, your project is either a peel-away sticker, a laminated object, label or magnet.

The cartridges come in Permanent Adhesive, Acid-Free Permanent Adhesive, Acid-Free Repositionable Adhesive, Two-Sided Laminate, Laminate/Permanent Adhesive Combination, Laminate/Repositionable Adhesive Combination, and Laminate/Magnet Combination. Not all types are available for all machine models.

If this is all new to you, you need to know the difference between permanent and repositional adhesive. Permanent adhesive creates a permanent bond immediately. Repositional adhesive is slow drying. This gives you some wiggle room if you are not satisfied with the placement of your stickers after they come through the machine.

Xyron Video Demonstration


As you might be guessing, you can also purchase various frills, er, accessories, to use with your machine. You'll find memory pockets, adhesive eraser cubes, mounting tape slivers, and more.

Choosing the Right Model

The Xyron® model you choose will depend on the type of projects you want to make. I own the tiny 150 for making mini stickers, and the 510, which makes stickers, laminates and magnets up with papers up to five inches wide.

Bigger is not always better. You will be wasting your adhesive if you use the 1200 to make a small sticker, for example. Many altered book artists choose the Xyron 900 Machine w/Cartridge & Idea Book as an all-round good choice.

tips Tips

  • Items thicker than paper (CDs and felt, for example) can be run through the larger Xyrons. If putting thicker projects through the smaller machines, you will have to help pull them through manually.

  • The Xyron® is particularly handy for adhering specialty background papers, transparencies and acetates to your altered book projects.

  • Save leftover scraps of your cartridge paper to use manually on any number of projects. Apply your projects to the scraps of cartridge paper and apply pressure evenly. No more waste!

  • When making several small stickers with die-cuts or punches, run your cardstock through the Xyron first. Then, punch out your stickers. You'll find this is much easier then cutting the stickers first and attempting to run the cut shapes through the Xyron®

  • If your scissors and other tools become sticky from working with Xyron'ed papers, you can clean them with Lee Undo Adhesive Remover . There is also a commercial product, called Xyron Adhesive Eraser Cube that is sold for removing the adhesive from the project itself. I haven't tried, but you would think it would also work for cleaning your scissors and other tools. Other altered book artists report good success cleaning their tools with alcohol, while still others like a product called Goo Gone Multi-Purpose Cleaner. Don't you just love that name?

  • Applying Xyron® to vellum will change the look of the vellum -- although the adhesive itself will not be visible. Test first before doing a big strip; you might find the vellum is now too transparent for your purposes.

  • The Xyron® is particularly good for making Serendipity Squares.

  • The Xyron backing that you peel off your finished stickers makes a good Release Paper. Release Paper is used in making certain types of image transfers. You can also use your peeled backing to protect your art work, or place it in between drying pages instead of wax paper.

  • Running paper with small holes (net, mesh, etc.) through the Xyron® -- not such a good idea! The holes fill up with adhesive and you get a sticky mess. If you really want to do this, you might be able to correct the problem afterwards by coating your project with an acrylic sealer like PPA, or using Xyron's eraser tape.

  • Make your own double-sided tape by running unused scraps of Xyron adhesive through the machine upside down. This is a great way to avoid waste.

  • Use caution when removing the backing from fine, delicate paper. It will tear easily.

  • To glue glitter or beads to the top of a project, try running your project through the machine upside down. The adhesive will be on top, where you can sprinkle glitter or beads on it.

  • Remove adhesive from the sides of your Xyroned items by dabbing at it with a bit of backing paper. It is also helpful to rub your thumbnail along the edges of the project before removing the backing. OR, if you prefer, leave the sticky alone, and dip your sticky edges in fine glitter, Perlex, or other fine powders.

  • Here's a money saving tip: Position a small item UNDERNEATH a large one, (more or less in the middle of the large one). Run both through the machine at the same time. The small item will be a sticker. The large item will be a sticker, also, except for an "un-sticky" space in the middle. This is the area where the placement of the small item prevented the adhesive from bonding to the large item.

  • For best results when attempting to apply Xyron adhesive to a project that has been covred with acrylic paints, be sure to use permanent adhesive, and burnish extremely well.

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