The Berry House

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Tools of the Trade

The Madness Upstairs refers to the CBP Production Department. They’re housed on the second floor of the CBP studio, and they are the end of the line for all print projects. Therefore, the Madness refers to the craziness that happens upstairs to meet our, well, crazy project deadlines. This CBP Department is keen on quality control. They are sticklers for imperfections and fanatics for the finer points – an amazing crew with a varied mix of skills that see projects all the way through.

But what exactly DO they do? Just to name a few: They double check and triple check, tie bows, fold, attach, stuff, stamp, pack and go above and beyond to get a job done. They are a key part of the process – we’d be lost without them! The team possesses a myriad of special processes and tricks that allow us to pull off extraordinary paper feats. For this, their alternative title? The Magic Upstairs. There’s so much to know about the Production process so today we share with you the tools of our trade (without giving all of our secrets away!). Our expert Production team is the keeper of all paper tools – from zot dots to decklers, they know just what to use for each task to get the job done with the most perfect results. Who would have thought paper could require such a toolbox?!

Bone Folder: Originally made from animal bone, these plastic tools are essential for creating a perfect, sharp crease in any folded piece like converted envelopes and place cards. They are also miracle workers for smoothing out imperfections on the surface of paper.

Tape Gun: Perhaps Production’s most loved tool! Used for adhering liners to envelopes, attaching photos to cards, converting envelopes, and assembling pockets, one of our Production Associates can always be found holding this efficient tool.

Zot Dots: These little glue dots do two jobs: They’re strong enough to hold two pieces of paper together, but are flexible enough that they allow you to pull and separate them. They are great for adding an element of interaction (which is an often occurrence here). We’re currently using these in a CBP lookbook to hold an example of a reception card that the reader can actually pull off the page and engage without damage the sample or the book.

Velcro: Though this isn’t an everyday tool, Velcro comes in handy when working with fabric. Plus, it’s a great solution for attaching all of our tools to the sides of our desks!

White Gloves: A necessity for handling special papers like lacquer and mirror paper that picks up fingerprints and scratches easily. We use white cotton gloves when handling these delicate pieces to make sure they remain flawless.


Elmer’s Glue Stick: As old school as it gets. #TBT to second grade. Classic Elmer’s comes in handy when applying vintage stamps to envelopes, which have lost their stickiness due to age.

Ruler and X-Acto Blade: Arguably the best duo in our toolbox. Cutting and trimming requires precise measurements and perfect straight lines, which can be easily achieved with these fine tools. We do so much trimming here, in fact, that you can find an X-Acto knife in just about every pencil cup around the office. Not joking!

Deckler: Very possible you’ve never heard of this one before. Picture this: It is a ruler with crazy, jagged sides, but is actually used to create an undone, feathered look to the edge of paper. We do this by placing the deckler on top of the sheet of paper, close to the edge, and quickly pulling up the paper in one swift motion while holding the deckler down so that the paper is ripped against its sharp edge.

Envelope Moistener: Pro tip: Save your saliva and mail germ-free! When the job requires sealing hundreds of envelopes, we use these to moisten the gum of the envelope in order to seal it shut. We feel so grateful for this invention!

Paint Sponge: For creating speckled, airy-looking designs on the background of a card or loose, unfinished strokes for a border. The possibilities with one of these are endless!

Corner Puncher: This simple tool is great for making rounded corners on a card. By lining up the corner of the card inside the punch, we cut off the sharp angle in a perfect rounded arch, creating an entirely new shaped card.

Are you still with us? 😉 We don’t call ourselves Paper People for nothing!

Glue Gun and Wax Seal Stamper: We use hot glue guns in an unexpected way – using colored sticks of wax in the glue gun and a wax seal stamper custom produced for the client, we create a custom wax seal to be used as an alternative “printed” monogram on stationery or as a finishing touch to seal the flap of an envelope.

Eraser: A no-brainer! Paper is delicate and a magnet for ink smudges, so we keep plenty of these on-hand for quick fixes.

Pliers: There’s practically nothing we haven’t done at CBP! When the job requires some bling – and every once in a while it does – we use pliers to precisely place and attach individual crystals to invitations, escort cards, and menus. It can be a tedious endeavor, but a little glitz never hurts!

Hole Puncher: You’re familiar with this one, but chances are our’s is a little different. We have three different hole size options to pick from when hole punching a hang tag, which will often get threaded with silk ribbon or gold cord.

Thread and Cord: When ribbon feels too heavy, we use colored thread and cord to tie reply sets together or attach hang tags to welcome bags. We can do something pretty fancy called a “starburst” – but we’ll save that demo for another day.

Needle: When threading thin ribbon through tiny holes, most often on multi-page programs or other booklets, we need a little extra help from a good ole sewing needle.

Ribbon Scissors: Not just any old pair of scissors. We mean ribbon scissors, used exclusively for cutting ribbon – nothing more and nothing less. The ends of ribbons must be beautifully clean, and this tool is a sure way to avoid any fraying.

Peppermints: Sugar is a tool, too! Mints are necessary to keep up energy during whirlwind days.