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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY!: Texture Boutique by Sizzix


The Texture Boutique by Sizzix is a portable, stand-alone embossing machine which embosses assorted materials. Weighing in at around three pounds, the 8″ x 5″ x 9″ machine doesn’t require electricity, batteries or a computer. With a suggested retail price of $30, this machine is marketed for a new crafter who may not want to invest in a more expensive machine. Sizzix recently shipped me a blue Texture Boutique machine and Textured Impressions- Elegant Vine and Flair embossing folders.

Embossing plate and shim that come with the Texture Boutique

When the machine arrives, the only assembly required it to attach the black crank with the included hex wrench. It took me under a minute to attach the handle. The machine comes with 2 black plastic plates and a thin mylar shim (which is labeled with a bright red label: DO NOT DISCARD!) Like other embossing machines such as the Cuddlebug and Big Shot, the paper or cardstock to be texturized is inserted into an embossing folder and layered according to the product directions.

The embossed area was lightly sanded to emphasize the texture and embellished with pearl stickers

It was convenient to have the “embossing sandwich” instructions printed on one of the plates. Because I already own the Big Shot machine (also by Sizzix), I had a good understanding of how to create a basic “embossing sandwich” with the embossing surface, paper and plates.

Elegant Vine and Flair embossing folder on Bazzill cardstock with Lyra metallic pencil

Once the embossing sandwich is ready it is loaded on the platform in front of the purse and as the handle is cranked, the sandwich is forced through the opening, coming out the other side. When the embossing folder is opened, the paper or cardstock has an embossed pattern. Due to the design of the machine, it is necessary to stabilize the machine by holding the purse handle while cranking.


Materials tested from upper corner left to right: kraft sticker paper, glitter cardstock, vellum, Bazzill cardstock, Stardream text weight paper, glossy black marble cardstock, 130# cardstock

I felt the embossing folders that were sent to me had limited solid areas so I tested multiple surfaces with Sizzix Textured Impressions Embossing Folders Thank You Set #2. This set was better for testing because it had more solid areas and included text. I used Bazzill texturized cardstock, kraft weight sticker paper, Stardream text weight paper, 65# cardstock, 130# cardstock, vellum, glossy cardstock and glitter cardstock from a mat pack. Each surface embossed cleanly and smoothly. However, the 130# cardstock did not have as deep indentations because it is so thick. I was most surprised (but most delighted) with how well both the vellum and Stardream embossed; the resulting embossing was very smooth and elegant looking.

Texturized circles were punched with a circle punch and the indented letters were traced with a silver gel pen
Designer paper from Making Memories

As I mentioned earlier, I own a Big Shot. I love my Big Shot and use it often for embossing and die cutting. I own several sets of Sizzix Texturz Texture Plates which measure 5 5/8″ x 7 1/4″ which work well in the Big Shot for embossing. Unfortunately, the opening for the Texture Boutique will only accommodate 5 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ embossing folders (Cuddlebug folders are compatible with the machine) so Texturz Plates cannot be used with the Texture Boutique. I was very disappointed and was surprised Sizzix would design a product with such limited capabilities.

This cardstock was embossed with an A2 size folder and chalk was applied to the embossed areas
because it seemed like a good idea at the time (Wonder if my editor Dana reads my captions?) [Editor’s note: I do]

My original thought was that with a price point of $30, the Texture Boutique would be a good “starter” machine for a new papercrafter. A way to add sophistication to projects without a large financial investment. But because of the limited compatibility with embossing plates, I recommend the Sizzix Big Shot. For the additional money, you’ll have a machine that is compatible with all but the super size embossing plates AND you’ll be able to use it for die cutting.


Pros:

  • Lightweight (under 3 pounds) and portable
  • Does not require batteries or electricity

Cons:

  • Two-handed operation
  • Can only be used with embossing folders (A2 size)
  • Cannot be used for die cutting

GIVEAWAY!

It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you can read about in upcoming reviews. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:

What machine do you use for embossing- a Cuddlebug, Big Shot, Texture Boutique or something else? What types of materials do you emboss? 

One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.

Vendor Review & GIVEAWAY!: Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine by Ellison


I could be late jumping on the Sizzix Texture Boutique bandwagon, but better late than never! This little cutey is fun. It’s an embossing machine only, and easy to use. It joins the Sizzix machine family with “siblings” – BigKick, Big Shot, Sidekick, Vagabond and eclips machines.


There’s a small task of assembling the handle, and the manufacturers have so kindly included a screwdriver with it. So, you could get busy with your machine soon after you purchase it, like in the check out line or in your car if you can’t wait.


The machine comes with two embossing plates and a Mylar shim. You have to buy your patterned embossing folders separately. I was sent these two designs to test, the Elegant Vine and Flair set.


The instructions are so simple to follow, and as a bonus, the steps are on a sticker placed right on the embossing pads. Very convenient!

When you run your plates through the machine, you may have some oily residue appear on the side. It’s from the inner workings of the machine, as you can imagine. After a few sets of cards, you’ll stop seeing it.

Materials Tested

Construction paper and copy (textweight) paper: easy to run through the machine, totally embossed, but thin paper leads to cracks or tears.

Cardstock, including Core’dinations Color Core Cardstock: Very sturdy paper that gives resistance when you’re cranking it through the machine, but great detail from the embossing plates.

Newsprint: So, I had an idea, but this is extremely thin paper and because I actually used the newspaper, the details were lost amidst the printing.

Vellum: Thin material, of course, but I liked the soft quality. Very easy to emboss.

Heavy-duty aluminum foil: Really liked how this turned out. The details come out so well and reminds me of tin ceiling tiles.

Everything turned out as expected, except the newsprint. I bet there’s still a way to salvage them!

Naturally, I made some cards – the texture helps step up your creations.

These people are really my relatives…

 

Lots of texture!

 

Simple and elegant

I used the vellum on glass jars and turned them into candle holders.

 

And look what happens with the foil on the glass jars! This was a neat application!

Pros:

  • Easy to store, or cute enough to leave on your work surface
  • Quick to assemble
  • Simple to use
  • Other embossing plates may be compatible

Cons:

  • Wish there was some storage for the plates and shim
  • Only for small paper (4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″)
  • Embossing plates (designs) may sell out quickly

Texture Boutique comes as a “machine only” or in a “beginner kit”. The machine only retails for approximately $30.00, while the beginner kit costs around $50.00. The difference in price seems worth it to me. You receive embossing folders, a variety of crafting materials and an idea booklet. Embossing folders come as singles, pairs or sets and can range from $8-$14 online and at craft stores.

GIVEAWAY!

It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you can read about in upcoming reviews. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:

What designs or patterns would you like to see for the Texture Boutique? 

One comment, per person, per Sizzix article, please. Winners will be selected on Saturday, July 16, 2011.

Shade-Tex Rubbing Plates by Scratch Art

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk


I first discovered Shade-Tex Rubbing Plates by Scratch Art in 1998 when they were demoed at a rubber stamp convention. The concept is very simple: place one of the clear plastic, 8 1/2″ x 11″ size sheets under your paper and rub the paper with a crayon or pencil for the pattern to appear. These templates are fun, easy to use, and don’t create a mess. The rubbing plates are reusable and long-lasting.

Backgrounds for composition book journals

Predominantly, I use my rubbing plates to create backgrounds for journal pages and in the past backgrounds for cards. The lightweight pages in a composition book work well with the rubbing plates. I like the illusion of depth even though the page remains completely flat.

Image provided by The Digi Shack

I’ve also discovered that the rubbing plates can add more dimension and interest to digital images which I printed on text-weight paper. For the owl image above, I used multiple plates from the Textile Set. First, I used “knit” and colored the body with brown colored pencil and then I added additional depth by recoloring the body with “burlap” and orange colored pencil. There is no limit on how you can combine textures. You can create special effects with some templates by simply rotating the plate 90 degrees and recoloring.

Image by Shirley’s 2 Girls

For the scenic image above (printed on text-weight paper), I used plates from the Architecture and Textile sets. To create the colored flowers on the hillside I randomly added touches of color with a different textured plate over the green textured background. It was fun to add realistic architectural touches like a brick roof and slate stone walkway.

Easily add texture to polymer clay

A few years ago, I learned that rubbing plates can be to texturize polymer clay by running the clay and the plate through the pasta machine at the widest setting. Or a brayer or roller can also be used to pattern the clay, be sure to lightly mist the plate with water or release spray beforehand for easier release. I made the blue pendant above with Pluffy clay which I rolled onto the rubbing plate. As soon as I removed the clay from the plate, I gently scrubbed the template clean to remove any traces of clay. The manufacturer advises cleaning the templates after using paint or clay with them.

These rubbing plates are also fun for kids. Since there are 6 per set, there are enough for multiple users and assorted tastes. They are fun to use under coloring book pages or with plain text-weight paper. My family found it helpful to lightly tape the template to the table and the paper to the template to prevent slippage.

Add pizazz to a simple computer generated image

Pros:

  • 6 different sets available: architecture, cultural, textile, design, nature & nature 2)
  • Easy to clean, lightweight, reusable clear plastic templates
  • Versatile- can be used with both paper and clay
  • Affordable- under $10 per set
  • Same size as standard printer paper (8-1/2 x 11 inches)
  • Easy enough for kids to use

Cons:

  • Limited paper choices: Works best with lightweight paper; won’t work with heavy paper or cardstock
  • Only available in sets

Have you tried Shade-Tex Rubbing Templates? Have you used them with paper or clay? Please share your experience with this product with our readers.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!