I’ve had an ATG for a couple of years now – the old ATG 700 that takes 1/2″ tape. I remember when I first got it I went looking for a UK supplier for the Gold tapes (the ones they sell in the USA that are acid-free for scrapbooking) and couldn’t find them anywhere. I eventually emailed 3M UK to ask where I might find them and was told they did not sell them in the UK and had no plans to do so at that time. So I went on the hunt for an alternative. I found the 1/2″ ones sold by Viking that are both acid free and UV safe and as they are very cheap if you buy 10 or more, I’ve used them since.
The Viking tapes have issues, to be honest. The tape sometimes clings to the backing so strongly it never actually fully attached to the paper or card or it gripped just enough to rip the paper. Sometimes it won’t break cleanly. It sometimes makes the paper curl – the tape stretches as you apply it then curls the paper as it contracts once you break it. As with most things, you get what you pay for, and while the tape is cheaper, and fine for certain things (I think it’s great for attaching things to chipboard, like covers of minibooks, and for attaching multiple pages to a spine, like for the pull-out pages on the Kennedy book) there have been many times when I’ve wished for better tape.
As you can see, size-wise, there is no difference between the guns themselves (and ignore the red handle of my old ATG – I got some alcohol ink on it and couldn’t find my blending solution so thought I’d cover the whole thing, then, well, didn’t) but you can see the tape size difference clearly.
I have to say the pink holds absolutely ZERO appeal for me. I’d prefer a nice soft celery green to be honest. They still print the handy directional arrows right on the inside so you know exactly how to load a new roll. The tape holder seems an improvement. The tape is held very securely and keeps it’s place on the roller much better than my old ATG, the loading is easier (but that may be due to using the proper 3M tapes) and the tape goes on in a very straight line, rather than veering all over the place. The tape gives a thin but strong application, rather than the thick, filament weave of the non-3M tape. It’s well named, as the tape really does glide on. It’s something you can feel, like rolling a smooth ball on a table, rather than a tennis ball over Velcro. The tape breaks off easily and in making a project that required a LOT of tape being applied (I wanted something that would really put the gun through it’s paces and this fit the bill) I didn’t once have the tape stick to the backing paper or go off course.
I’ve used little tape runners before and while I like them for tiny areas (because you can really see where you are applying the adhesive) I get frustrated with how quickly they seem to run out. I used less than 1/4 roll of the ATG tape on this project and I reckon I would have exhausted at least 2 tape runners on it, maybe more.
The dark greens in the photo are way less muddy in real life, I promise! It’s all vintage Club Scrap so it really does go together, no mater what the picture shows. But the point is it was a LOT of sticking – A LOT. And my wrist didn’t ache when I finished from the pulling-back motion required to break the non-3M tape.
The tape actually work fairly well on the vellum, with barely any adhesive showing, although to be fair it was patterned vellum over patterned paper. For very sheer vellum I might still go back to my roll of 3M vellum adhesive.
I did love my ATG 700, despite the issues mentioned, don’t get me wrong. Had I not gotten this one to review, I imagine I would have happily used it for a long time to come, none the wiser. But now, having used this version and despite the pink colour, I think I will reach for it first, going back to my old one and thicker tapes only for certain things.
I had to go have a look at the 3M site. The tape rolls WERE on sale when I posted the link yesterday but they are now out of stock. Typical. I didn’t get around to ordering them myself so perhaps shot myself in the foot there. <sigh> The kit (which is one gun and two rolls of tape) is still available here.