Cuttlebug Embossing Folders

Reported by Kristine Fowler

If you own the Cuttlebug by Provocraft, you’ve no doubt used your machine along with a Cuttlebug Embossing Folder to emboss paper. After all, that’s why you bought the machine, right? You wanted to add some texture and dimension to your card fronts? Perhaps use one of the Cuttlebug Dies to cut a shape or two? Me too. Big surprise there. But what about embossing items other than paper? Have you tried? Until today, I hadn’t. So, I figured why not put it to the test, and see what else this little gem can handle.

Step 1: Find items to test
This went pretty quickly, I simply looked through all of my craft supplies to find items that were flat and that I knew would fit in the machine, or could be cut to size. Much to my surprise, I found several. Here’s my list.

  1. Corrugated Cardboard Packing Material
  2. Lightweight Chipboard (cereal box weight)
  3. Generic Craft Foam
  4. Linen Stick-Stock by CTMH
  5. Clear Envelope from Clear Bags
  6. Shrink Plastic
  7. Mulberry Paper (manufacturer unknown)
  8. Vellum by CTMH
  9. Felt
  10. Foam Packing Insert
  11. Fabric (origins unknown)
  12. Foil Sheet by CTMH
  13. Adhesive Vinyl by Quickcutz
  14. Sandpaper 220 CCR/R Fine by CTMH
    Step 2: Cut everything down to a uniform size and start embossing. For my tests, I thought it best to use the same embossing folder for all items to keep things uniform. I chose Tiny Bubbles.
    I used the embossing “sandwich” of the A plate, B plate, embossing folder with material inside, with second B plate on top for all items. Most went through smoothly, however on a couple of the thicker items (specifically the foam and the chipboard), I had to use a bit of extra muscle, taking care not to break the machine.
    The Results:
    Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how well most of the items chosen took the impression, and I can definitely see using some of these ideas on future projects. Here are some close-ups so you can see what I mean. The photos are numbered to match the list above.

    My personal favorite find in this group is the Foil (Image #12)! The impression was so crisp, and clear! Both the embossed and de-bossed sides are beautiful, and I can totally see incorporating this technique on something ultra-modern or masculine. To have texture is one thing, and shine another, but to have both is phenomenal! Love it!
    The shrink plastic (Image #6) looks cool too although I’m not sure what will happen when I shrink it. The impression was again super crisp, and you get a really neat white outline at the raised areas. The vellum (Image #8) was similar, but it doesn’t look as clean. For lack of a better way to describe it, it just looks messier.
    I can definitely see how adding texture to the adhesive backed vinyl could make for some really interesting wall art. Of course this would work only on those letters or shapes that will fit in the A2 size embossing folders so unfortunately that is a bit limiting.
    The big disappointments in my opinion were the felt, the foams (both the packing and the craft varieties) and the fabric. While they did somewhat take the design, the impressions were not deep, and I suspect that over time the impressions might even fade.
    Have you had any success with these items or can you share tips on embossing anything other non-paper materials? We’d love to hear about it. Leave us a comment and let us know.
    Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

    , , , ,

    14 Responses to Cuttlebug Embossing Folders

    1. Betsi December 16, 2009 at 10:21 am #

      Holy moly!!! I guess I pay less attention to bigger ticket scrapbook supplies than I thought, I had NO idea the Cuttlebug embossed, I thought it was only for cutting shapes. This is fantastic, thanks so much for sharing – I may have to run out and get one now! Though if I do it’ll be along with some Shrink Plastic and that cool foil stuff. 🙂

    2. Janine December 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

      Really nice results!! I also like 12 the best. I ordered some foil that just arrived a couple of days ago but just haven’t found the time yet to try it out. Also, surprised with the results from fabric. Had no idea it would turn out that nice. Thanks for the post!!

    3. Kristine December 16, 2009 at 2:37 pm #

      Oh Betsi! You have been missing out I assure you. The only thing you might want to consider is whether or not you typically want to emboss card-front size items (A2) or larger ones. The embossing folders are A2 size and smaller. The new Xyron Creatopia boasts 12″ embossing though, so if you’re wanting to do larger pieces, you might want to consider that.

      Janine – thanks for the comment. #12 the Foil is definitely my fave! And the funny thing is my daughter saw it sitting on the table and starting ooing and awing immediately. The textured shine is awesome!

    4. Sherri December 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

      It was fun to see all of your results side by side! The fabric will hold an embossed design better if it is adhered to cardstock first, but this won’t help with felt or fun foam since they’re softer and thicker. You can also get nice metallic looks by putting plumbers tape on cardstock and then embossing. Pretty sturdy, too.

    5. NickelNook December 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm #

      You also might want to just try adding some interfacing to the back of your fabric or felt before embossing, that should do the trick!

    6. Daria December 16, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

      Thanks for all the ideas. In addition to embossing metal foil, you can emboss art metal. I’ve used metal sheets from Ten Seconds Studio, metal rolls from Michael’s, and also metal from a Coca Cola can. You can glue kitchen aluminum foil to cardstock and run that through too. I like the heavy duty foil, but it’s not necessary. Awesome with alcohol inks.

    7. SueB December 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

      t’riffic report – TFS! it’s nice to have the test results all posted in one place! you folkes rock!

    8. RosieP December 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

      Thank you so much for doing that side-by-side comparison of all those different materials for embossing! So helpful! I also want to thank everyone who replied…more ideas yet for using my Cuttlebug.

    9. Natasha December 16, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

      Thanks for reviewing this, it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Try using Ribbon Stiff on the fabric before embossing – this will make the fibers stronger and more likely to stay embossed.

    10. JoanieB December 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

      Great post that I could relate to as my only “big-ticket” tool is a Cuttlebug(not really too bad $$-wise)I just LOVE it! They do have folders bigger than A2 size available. Also,I have seen a video on adapting the Cuttlebug for use with longer pieces of materials. Unfortunately you would have to piece together anything wider, but longer is easy-peasy! Thanks,

    11. Kristin December 17, 2009 at 1:29 am #

      This is awesome I’ll have to try your different method soon! I know for sure that #6 the shrink plastic (I used Shrink-a-dinks) is fun, you can use stazon ink over the top of the embossed area. Once you heat it the plastic will shrink and flatten but leave that fabulous pattern.

    12. mignonnie December 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

      In case the embossing is not crisp and clear on the non-paper item, I first stick paper on the back of the non-paper item with the Xyron Creative Station (which gives an equal non-wet glue layer). And after sticking the paper to the non-paper surface, I emboss it with the Cuttlebug. Gives a very sharp and fine, crisp result!

    13. Bénédicte Burg January 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm #

      One of my favorite things to emboss is simple kitchen aluminum foil. The results are always stunning, and no need to buy extra fancy material! You can even color some of the design with Sharpies afterwards. Like this: or this:

    14. Maggie February 3, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

      I luv luv the review.
      Please let your viewer know that we have a cuttlebug challenge blog that inspires every day on how to use the cuttlebug in your art.