Reported by Kristine Fowler
Since I’m a huge fan of embossing folders, I was pretty excited when I was selected to review the Texture Boutique by Sizzix. If you haven’t already heard of it, the Texture Boutique is the smallest member of the Sizzix family of embossing and texturing machines. Using the machine in conjunction with a Sizzix Textured Impressions, Texture Fades, Texture Trades or Simple Impressions Embossing Folder you can quickly and easily transform ordinary cardstock into an elegant card suitable for any occasion. Not only that…..this is likely the cutest scrapbooking/cardmaking tool you’ll ever own! Don’t you agree?
When I got my package from Sizzix, I did a little happy dance when I saw that I had received the ‘blue’ model of the Texture Boutique. You see, my hobby space is painted blue – so it’s the perfect complement! Here’s a couple of quick pics I snapped before I got down to the business of testing.
You’ll see from the picture above that when you first remove the machine from the box it requires a wee bit of assembly — the crank handle isn’t attached and needs to be screwed on. Luckily, Sizzix has you covered, and they include a screw driver, saving you what could be countless minutes (maybe even hours, in my case) locating the right tool to do the job. Once you’re done that, you’re all set and ready to go. Included in the box are Instructions, Two (2) Embossing Pads (the black sheets in the picture above) and One (1) Shim (the thinner White, slightly transparent Mylar sheet). You’ll use these pads and shim to make your embossing ‘Sandwich’.
In addition to the machine, Sizzix sent me item 657088 Elegant Vine & Flair Set of Textured Impressions folders which are designs for A2 size cards (4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″). The folders themselves measure 4 1/2″ x 5 3/4″. Like other embossing folders, you can use these folders a couple of different ways; to emboss a folded card, or to emboss a single sheet of cardstock (card front). The directions for each are included both on the instruction sheet and are permanently affixed to one of the black embossing pads (which is just brilliant by the way!). The main thing that you have to remember is that when embossing a folded card your embossing sandwich will not include the white Shim.
Once you have your Embossing Folder, paper, Embossing Pads (and shim if required) all stacked up, you’re ready to send it through. Just stick it in the slot on the machine body and start turning the crank handle. It doesn’t matter whether you are left- or right-handed; you can simply turn the machine around and work whatever way is most comfortable, it rolls both ways. You turn the crank until the sandwich comes completely out the other side of the machine. For me, that was about 16 revolutions.
Here’s a sample of what I did with the ‘Say It W/Flair’ folder that Sizzix sent me.
Because I really wanted to emphasize the embossed design, and I was using a white core cardstock, I lightly sanded the raised image.
And here, after stamping and heat embossing a sentiment, outlining the card with a silver paint pen, and adding flowers and a small pearl, is my finished card – a simple, yet elegant design that I can use for perhaps a graduation or retirement greeting. Actually, this card was so quick to put together thanks to the Texture Boutique that I made 6 of them in less than 15 minutes!
For a second project, since the Texture Boutique accommodates any embossing folder, by any company up to the 4 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ size, I used the Daisy folder by Crafts-Too (just to prove to you that I could). And…since I’m on a mission lately to use up stuff that’s been lying around, I dug out a single sheet of light tan cardstock (origins unknown), which as it turned out coordinated great with this CTMH ribbon I’ve had kicking around for a while. I teamed it up with a sheet of Creme Brule by CTMH, a sentiment by Gina K Designs, a couple of SU! punches, and I’ve got a simple, elegant, monochromatic birthday greeting. Again, I made some duplicates of this one – just so I have some on hand when the need arises – and to use up that stray single sheet of cardstock!
As you can see, because embossing folders add so much depth and interest to an art project all by themselves, I have a tendency to keep my final card designs fairly simple when I use them.
The Sizzix Texture Boutique machine measures 11″ x 7 3/4″ x 5 1/4″ including both the crank and beaded handle and weighs in at a mere 3 pounds (approximate). Its compact size and light weight makes it super portable and an easy ‘add’ to the crop bag if you’re crafting on the go.
Now none of this functional information should come as a surprise to you if you’re already familiar with embossing folders and/or the Sizzix Big Kick, Big Shot or other competing brand embossing machine. What you should know however is that the Sizzix Texture Boutique is, unlike the others, NOT capable of cutting. It is an embossing machine only. The Embossing Pads are solid indeed, but are not intended as cutting surfaces. Further, the slot in the machine body will not accommodate dies. This makes the Texture Boutique a single function machine. One further caution is that while it can house embossing folders up to 4 3/4″ wide, it cannot house Sizzix Texture Plates which are closer to 5 1/2″ wide. If you’re looking for a machine to support these, you’ll have to get one of the larger models.
The machine comes with a one (1) year manufacturer’s warranty which is less than Sizzix offers on the larger machines, but quite frankly, there isn’t a lot that can go wrong here. Provided you don’t ‘overstuff’ the machine and try to force more through than it is designed to handle, it should be fine. And…given that the machine MSRP is only $29.99 US, a one-year warranty seems reasonable.
Overall, I found the Texture Boutique simple to set up and even simpler to use. The crank turns freely – and doesn’t seem extraordinarily stiff. I do however think that maybe the inside rollers aren’t near as large as in other machines, since 16 revolutions for one card front seemed quite a bit more than I was used to. This is however I suppose the price you pay for portability. The machine would certainly need to be larger to accommodate larger rollers and would thus be heavier. My only other issue, albeit minor is that you definitely need to hold the machine down with your free hand as you turn the crank handle. The way the machine is built, it has a very narrow bottom end (contributing to its ‘cuteness’ of course). As a result if you don’t push down, and instead push a bit forward, the machine has a tendency to tip. The rubber feet help keep it somewhat in place, but there is no suction to hold it down to the table.
- It’s Darn Cute!
- Suitable for both right- and left-handed crafters
- Instructions right on the Embossing Plates (so I can’t lose them!)
- Mylar Shim – my other machine recommends using cardstock shims when necessary
- Narrow bottom – need to hold machine down with free hand to prevent tipping
- Smaller rollers means more handle revolutions
- Folders width restricted to 4 3/4″ or less
- Embosses only, no die-cutting
If you love the look of embossing and don’t have the need for dies, then this machine will likely fit the bill for you. Yes, it is single function, but in my opinion it is priced accordingly. Apparently, there are others who agree with me on this too! In May of 2010, The Sizzix Texture Boutique was awarded the Best New Product in the Craft/Scrapbooking category at the 64th annual National Stationery Show. It prevailed based on innovative design or concept, how the product answers an industry need, aesthetic appeal, creative use of materials and innovative packaging. The Texture Boutique is the industry’s first low-cost machine devoted exclusively to embossing.
Do you dry emboss on your projects? What kinds of things do you like to make with this technique? Please share links to your work if it is online, we would love to see!