Friday, February 6, 2009

Custom Embossing folders!!!!! From Breakfast Cereal to Artsy Embossing!

Let me tell You, I am freeeeeaking out about this. DIY embossing!!!!!
It turned out better than I ever could have imagined....

Here's a custom embossed piece with a little gesso on it:

Look familiar? It was the Stampin' Up! background stamp Baroque.

So, this is a tutorial on how to make your own embossing folders using stamps (or any image) & a cereal box! I liked the embossing it gives even better than a "real" folder! SqeeeeeeeeeaL of Joy!

Here's the "folder" that made that embossing:

It's probably more of an embossing plate than a folder,
but the results are just as nifty....

(I find these Do It Yourself plates work best with de-bossing &
the effect is a little more like the letterpress look)

The Basic Process to make it is this simple:

1) Cut an image out of cardboard (ETA: or die cut shapes...)
2) Stick the pieces on more cardboard
3) Seal it all up with some Mod Podge

So there are a couple-few of ways to make your own folders
--some less labour intensive than others--
depending on the tools you have at your disposal:

#1. Lucky Duck Category: if you have a Cricut Expression & this thingy you can make your own plastic folders. (Not explained here; sorry, lucky duckies!) ;o)

#2. Duck whom I am most envious of Category: ;O) If you have a cutting machine that will cut cardboard or plastic you can use it to cut shapes to make your own folders like this. You lucky bum You! LOL. ;O) If you know how to make .cut files or the like, you can even use software to make your own images and cut em out. Got a Zyron? Use it to stick it all together. (Not explained here either; sorry, Dahlinks!) :O)
#3. This tutorial was made for You if You belong to the "Scissors & Granola box budget...but have a pressure embossing machine" category (ie; you have Cuttlebug or a pasta maker)...or if you belong to the "likes to do weird things with Stamps category

SOooooh, if you like to "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do with out" (and you have a stamp-geek side to your nature) like moi, then come along with me! ;O) It might entail more work than the lucky duckies have to do, but the benefit to all your handiwork is that you'll have a one of a kind artsy craftin' tool!...

From Breakfast Cereal to
Artistic Embossing!

Preparatory Schtuff:

Prep Step #1
) Gather your goodies.


--Cuttlebug or other press embossing machine (or pasta maker)
--A Key Product: You will probably need a silicone mat or plumbers gasket to get the embossing to take, but that is a staple in my book since it lets you emboss brass stencils & anything (like charms or hardware...)

--Stamp or image
--Cardboard (like cereal box stuff, no hollow corrugated stuff)
--Glue (me likey Mod Podge)
--Old paint brush (or a dedicated one) for glue
--Sharp scissors
Optional: hole puncher from SU tool kit (or Cropodile) for punching circles

Prep Step #2) TEST! :O) Before you work on making a finished folder, it's wise to test the thickness of your cardboard in your particular machine--(since they'll vary)--to be sure it'll work.

Try this simple test to see if your thicknesses will work:

1) Stick a small piece of cardboard to another large piece of cardboard.

2) Let the adhesive dry (Sealing with Mod Podge will prevent the paper binding to the cardboard, but for this step it's not necessary; you just wanna check the impression or embossing your test piece makes...)

3) Run it through the machine with a piece of cardstock lightly spritzed with water.
The Cuttlebug stack/sandwich used:
(listed from bottom to top:)

1st, lay down your white A plate
2nd, add a B plate
3rd, lay down your test cardboard piece (or new custom folder)
4th, lay down your piece of cardstock that you have lightly misted with water
5th, lay down the silicone sheet
6th, add a 2nd B plate

Depending on the calibration of your Cuttlebug, you may need a piece of cardstock or two as a shim to get the nicest impression. I'd add that before the final B plate. :O) (Got a sandwich like this for another machine? Please share it with us?)

All tested out? Here's how to make this little suckah...

The How To:

Step 1) Stamp or draw image on cardboard. I've used red ink here so you can see it well, but you may want to use light ink to prevent colour bleeding when you use this with spritzed paper (helps the image emboss.) Or use Solvent ink or waterproof ink (or seal it later if you don't have that. (This is the Stampin' Up! background stamp Baroque.)

To use clipart or your own digital images: print onto copy paper & glue to cardboard then cut etc...

Type of cardboard is important: (harder not the layered corrugated inside kind) Needs to hold up to pressure embosssing. (I used the cardboard from Quaker Harvest Crunch & one layer of cardstock (perfect thickness IMHO.)

Type of glue is important too: (use something that has no tackiness when dry but won't crack. Mod Podge Great. NOT so good for this: Tombow monomulti or other silicone based adhesives, rubber cement (these stay tacky) Cystal Lacquers (these can crack).

Lil' Tip: You may want to extend the pattern to make a wider folder than the original stamp or image.Sketch in the lines for this onto the cardboard now if you like.

Step 2) Rough cut the cardboard (This makes a huge difference. It'll make the fine cutting easier & tidier.)

Step 3)
Fine cut the cardboard. I found it helped to approach the cuts from different angles, moving the piece more than the scissors.

Plan your cuts. Since the material is thick, it's a good idea to take a second to plan how to cut it easiest. The photo above shows one way of making cutting easier: save any cuts that destabilize the piece for last. That way you are cutting a sturdy piece instead of a flimsy one.

Lil' Tip: You can use the hole punching tool from the Stampin' Up! tool kit (or a similar one or Cropodile) to punch circles. (You could even make your own custom swiss dots folder!!!!! Just stick lots of dots on a piece of cardboard. DO you have a dot background stamp? You could stamp it as a guide.)

Step 4)
Stamp a placement guide for gluing down your newly cut bits: stamp the same image on the cardboard you will use as your folder base. In hindsight, I'd make my cardboard pieces larger than this (ideally just 1/8 of an inch under the size of your machines platform so you don't have edges that will crease) For the Cuttlebug that would be 7 5/8 inches by 5 6/8")

Step 5) Following the stamped pattern, glue cardboard to that cardboard. To make a reverse image, glue ink side down. You could make one of each!!! :O)

Step 6) Seal with mod Podge (hardens it & also sealing with mod podge will prevent the paper binding to the cardboard.)

Lil' TiP: The modgodge will harden & leave an impression when you emboss, so to avoid over softened corners, I found that using a little Mod Podge is much better than globbing it on, since it collects in the corners. To remove any that collects just use a damp brush with very little Mod Podge on it & pounce out the corners. Working systematically from one corner of the design to the last is a great way to make sure that you don't miss any excess.

Step 7) Allow to dry to touch (then if it is curly at all, allow to dry under book stack. But no worried a little curl is ok.) Then cure it: if you can wait, it is ideal to let the cardboard harden by curing the modpodge for a while (1 hour after a minute or two with a teensy bit of gentle heatgunning was enough for this impatient crafter, heehee. It worked loverly!) :O)

And that's it! It's easy! I just make it seem complicated by blathering about all of the variables (You know me, I loves making complimication outta simple stuff!)

Hope You give it a go &
You have as much fun as I did!

P.S. Quick reference for Ya:

The technique to make the Folder:

1) Cut an image out of cardboard
2) Stick the pieces on more cardboard
3) Seal it all up with some Mod Podge

The Cuttlebug stack/sandwich used:
(listed from bottom to top:)

1st, lay down your white A plate
2nd, add a B plate
3rd, lay down your test cardboard piece (or new custom folder)
4th, lay down your piece of cardstock that you have lightly misted with water
5th, lay down the silicone sheet
6th, add a 2nd B plate

Depending on the calibration of your Cuttlebug, you may need a piece of cardstock or two as a shim to get the nicest impression. I'd add that before the final B plate. :O) (Got a sandwich like this for another machine? Please share it with us?)

Happy Crazy Cuttlebuggin'! And please send me a link if you make a folder, will ya? :O)


Unknown said...

Wow great trick..I will definitely try this. Thanks so much!!

Ċ olanje na domu-Waldorf said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing your tricks.
x Natasha x

Sheene said...

and all this time i thought i was the only one doing this?! LOL! i couldn't afford fancy embossing gadgets ive been using my Crop-a-Dile (CAD) to dry emboss dots.. its really great to know we're in it together! :)

SparkofWhimsy said...

Oh yay!!! I've been trying to explain to a girlfriend who doesn't live near me how to do this. I guess I'm not a very good explainer, lol. Now I can just direct her to your tutorial! Isn't it awesome?

Now I just wish they'd come out with an embossing machine for 12X12 paper. I am constantly trying to talk my hubby into figuring it out and making me one.

Your tutorials and lists are awesome. I'm always eager to see what is on them.

Thank you.


SueB said...

Your bag of tricks is limitless, isn't it?! You should really offer this one to SCS, girl - nice tutorial - TFS!

Scrapin Mel said...

What a fantastic idea thanks for sharing.....

Dawn said...

YOU are a genius! Wowza, how much fun is that!!! thanks Mel

Anonymous said...

morning Mel i showed this to Bam Bam, it looks awesome ..guess what i'm going to wedding have been up since 12:30love Lady

Etha said...

just genius :)

Jay said...

Very cool, Mel! I don't have the patience to do the intricate cutting with my scissors, so I've used various die cut shapes instead and then used the "negative" of my die cut to make the embossing more crisp--like a plastic folder, only made out of chipboard. I just might have to pull out the scissors now though. :-)

Jean Fitch from jlfstudio said...

Seriously Awesome Mel. And the Brocade stamp is a real WoW as an embossing folder! Thanks for the step by step I can't wait to share!

Your new digs seem to be encouraging extra added brilliance! It's so good to see you posting again.

Hugs and blessings - Jean

Elena said...

Wow! Thsi idea is incredibly brilliant!!! Thank you so much, Mel!!!

Jean Fitch from jlfstudio said...

Oops I obviously meant Baroque not Brocade. Can you tell I'm a weaver. Everytime I see this background stamp I think of brocade patterns! - lol!

Sometimes the crafts argue with one another all in the same brain!!

- Jean

Anonymous said...

This is truly incredible! I would have never thought of doing this. The possibilities are endless now! TFS!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! I don't have a Cuttlebug, but this is amazing. I will have to get someone else to cut the pieces out for me - too lazy! HA! HA! I will definitely be trying this.

angie said...

what a great idea! i can't wait to try this:)

Nancy at said...

Oooooooooo......I can't wait to try!
Thanks so much
Have a wonderful day!

Carol said...

I just went to my Chiropractor yesterday and ask for (and got) used xray film to use for templates. I think the film would work great for this. I would imagine that cereal box cardboard would give softer edges (which might be preferable), but I hope to find the time to try it. Very cool Mel !! You're great in thinking outside the box!! TFS !!

Anonymous said...

OH MY Mel you rock!!! THIS IS AWESOME! I am so going to try it today! Thank you so much for helping us to "get" it! Donna

wwilloww said...

What would I do without you Mel??? So glad I found your blog!! This is a great technique...I can't wait to give it a try!!! Thanks for sharing your zany creativity!! It is as much fun to read your tutorials as it is to actually learn and do them!!!

Annapurna said...

I swear, you can read my mind. I didn't think of this elaborate design, but was thinking of doing temporary embossing folders by putting punch outs from punches and dies.

Thanks for the idea of making them permanent. You should start selling these. I will be the first one to buy :-)

Now say this word and you then you can rest:-)

Eva said...

Mel, this is so awesome...I like how you made it a permanent folder!!! Never thought of cutting out patterned papers I like, or stamping image, so this is fabulous!!! Love it!!

Michelle Pearson said... neat! Now I have to go get that stamp so that I can try this out! Your results are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

You are BRILLIANT! This just opened the door to many new designs with coordinating embellishments.

Chriserendipity said...

Mel, you have the most creative, imaginative & innovative mind going! I absolutely ADORE all of your special tips & tricks, and the way you write about them (*snort!). Would love to actually "play" with you, as I'm sure we'd have a hoot!

You sound like you're feeling better, and that's a blessing! You go, Girl!
Chris in Calgary AB

Kim Etherington said...

Wow. You started to tell me about this and I got sidetracked with the girls.. sorry! That is awebomb!!! Too much work for me, but I sure enjoy watching you do it. See ya tomorrow Moldy Mel! :o)

Anonymous said...

Just had to take the time to thank you for all your great ideas, patterns and neat tricks. But today's 'diy embossing' trick is the absolute best. There are so many designs that I've imagined to be wonderful backgrounds and now you've given me the tutorial to do it myself. Thanks again. MarilynY

Anonymous said...

WOW, this idea ROCKS!!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!You're a genious!!Incredible!!TFS,,,Gina

Anonymous said...

Amazingly creative!! Thanks for this great idea! I love your cheap tricks... I can't afford to own all the latest gadgetry and you show us how to do it without the expense!


akagreenhouse said...

This is amazing!!! Thanks for sharing all this neat stuff with us! I always enjoy getting your blog updates in my reader because I know that a treasure awaits! Cathy

Naomi said...

OMG!!! This is such a fabulous idea. I can't wait to try it out.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I was reading through your great tutorial and I saw that you can use a pasta machine. Really? I had no idea you could use on for embossing!

I have a pasta machine for making polymer clay beads and have always wanted a die cut machine. Are you saying if I bought the dies I could run them through my pasta machine? Tell me more!

lalalla said...

sooo creative! love your ideas!

Anonymous said...

Mel, you are amazing. Is there ever a time that that creative brain of yours ever freezes. Thanks so much for sharing. truly inspirational.

julietk said...

That's a great tutorial thanks, Juliet

take a little piece of my art said...

WWWEEEEE!!!! SQEEEEEEEEEEL!!!! OMG!!!! I seriously LOVE this idea! I have the cuttlebug and while I have a lot of their folders, I sometimes wish they had what's in my brain. Now I can make it real!!! THANK YOU!! Glad you seem to be feeling better, Mel

Anonymous said...

my GOSH!! How do you come up with this stuff?? It's wonderful!! Mel, can you give me the answer for dummies as to what gesso is used for??? Thanks for your great tuts!

Unknown said...

Thank you so very much for commenting on my blog Mel. It led me back here and WHAMMO!!! INSTANT excitement. Love your blog, what ya do, how ya do it. off to add you here and over here and there too.

nancymt615 said...


AnnMarie said...

It is soooooo nice to have you back! Love this cool idea!! Big hug! :)

Anonymous said...

How fun!! I can't wait to try it out!!

Sue from Oregon said...

This is way have so much patience''''''''''1

Christa said...

Mel, you are THE BEST! I experimented with this two weeks ago but couldn't get anything I liked, mainly because I was trying to make a "folder" instead of a "plate". I can't wait to go try this again!!

Maria said...

Oh, my gosh! What an ingenious idea!! I love it. I have to try this out!! Too cool. The problem is. . .I don't even use the CB embossing folders I do have!! LOL!

When I have the time, I'll definitely try this project out!! Thanks, Mel!! You're fabulous!


Erum Tasneem said...

Thank You so so so so so so so so so much Mel for this tut!!!! You will never know how happy I am and how I ready your tut like a child in school!
I dont have a background stamp but i can do it using photoshop Mel! And all of a sudden I have soooooooo many ideas already! I gotta try this with one small image first though! LOVE you! Thank You!!!

Carol P said...

I've been thinking about doing this. I'm so glad you worked the bugs out for me :0

Extreme Cards and Papercrafting
ONE YEAR OLD TODAY (the blog, not me)

Anonymous said...

I must give this a go, what a fantastic idea. You've gotta get a camera and put some stuff on You Tube ;)


Billie xx

Jessica Diedrich said...

Girl when you are back, you are BACK!!!!

WOW! Love the last few are SUCH an inspiration! What a lucky girl I am to be able to work w you! Hugs!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel, I am a new follower of your blog. I just love it. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas and tips! I will certainly have to give this one a try!If you get a chance stop by my blog. I will post when I get it done. Happy Stamping!

Catherine said...

Wow thanks so much for this. My mind is just spinning with possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Now that is way cool!

Crafty-liz said...

I just found your blog and I should go to bed, it is 2 in the morning, but I just lost my tiredness when I came across your blog! You are a talented lady! Thank you for sharing all these wonderful tips and tutorials with us.

trishia said...

after seeing the prices on letterpress cards (for which I wanted no color, just the embossing) I went a-searching for a DIY method. This is so super fantastic awesome! I'm off to try it out, and will be doing the super cheap version as I do not own a embossing machine, but do own a pasta press from my polymer clay days. :) thank you a TON for sharing this!

Allison Rankin said...

Look at you Ms. Smarty Pants!

Katie said...

What silicone sheet do you use? I just got my cuttlebug for christmas and I'm still learning all the fun tricks!

Danielle Daws said...

I've been undecided about whether to get a Big Shot now that they're available in Australia through SU... but you've just helped me make up my mind! I LOVE how this works and how easy it is! Thankyou! I love my Mod Podge too... :-)

Laura said...

Oh Mel, Did you hear me scream when I read this? I love you, love you, love you! I have been a fan since I got my Cricut last December, and am ALWAYS amazed at the things I find here, the inspiration I get, and the great projects you share (making the baby in the tub card for a friend). EUREKA! - I CAN USE MY PASTA MACHINE (formerly dedicated to my polymer clay creations) TO EMBOSS! I should have thought of this, but, alas, I did not. Not to worry, Mel's got my back, once again. I do have a Sizzix Texture Boutique, which I love, but it is rather limiting in size, and the dang Cuttlebug folders don't go all the way to the edge of an A2. (Why???) I am going to go now, & pour all my cereal into Ziplocs. Thanks!

christy said...

i was just asking on a yahoo group how to do this. i knew there was a way, thanks so much for the ideas and how to save money on embossing folders. i wouldnt mine spending the money, but they never have what i am looking for.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had seen your post before I spend hours searching ebay for templates. Wasted my time, either they came in sets and I only liked one or didn't like them at all. Just need my daughter to save her Pamper boxes. Thank you, I can't wait to try this.

Kerstin said...

Very clever idea! I have to try it :)

Lovinglf_Designs said...

I just got through reading the very restrictive Provocraft Angel Policy and decided I needed to make my own embossing folders. Thanks so much for a great tutorial with great pictures. I hope you don't mind that I've posted your tutorial to Pinterest. It's too good not to share.

Unknown said...

I am happy dancing all over the house!!! I mean you MADE MY DAY...why???

Let me tell you, I was going nuts, depressed as all heck because I was trying like gangbusters to find a way to make specialty embossed artist bio cards.

At first I was going to do cutout borders with a center front with my logo, and the center back with a brief bio.

I know I'm rambling, but stay with me... :D ...

I bought a Cricut Explorer Air exactly for this purpose, but no matter what I did to actually succeed in what I wanted to have done, it didn't turn out as planned because the cutout design I created was too flimsy in parts to be successful, and it took way to long a process to cut one, so making a hundred would take a week (at the very least) just cutting alone.

The idea of embossing the border of my design struck me as an alternative, but I wanted to wait a while before investing in another machine -- and then I discovered I was pretty much tied down to whatever embossing folders were out there per whatever machine I'd get, so I knew that was out of the question.

BUT, you can imagine my frekin' LOVE for discovering your tutorial because now I can take this to the next INFINITE level!!! All I have to do is cut my designs with the cereal box cardboard on the Cricket, and just follow what you've done!! WOOT! I'll have my own embossing in no time!!!!

I wish I could hug you through my laptop, but just know, you've made me so happy!!!! I'll update you when its finished!!


Unknown said...

Can you tell me what this thingy is in regards to the cricut?