Thursday, April 24, 2008

modifying small Cuttlebug folders

I'd like to mention here at the start that I didn't come up with the idea of modifying these folders this way. I'd read about and commiserated with folks who were trying to figure out how best to use these small Cuttlebug folders. This is just my take on a way to make these folders more versatile.

Here are the supplies that I used. My paper cutter, cutting mat, A2 size card, transparency, small Cuttlebug folders, Tombow multi-purpose glue, and Fiskars fingertip cutter. Not pictured in the photo below due to oversight, my Scor-It. Oops! You'll see it in several shots later though. It makes a wonderful backdrop for taking photos besides being a super scoring tool. :-)

One idea that interested me was cutting the folder apart. That way the design could be placed anywhere on a card front. As you can see below, even on an A2 size card, placement of the embossed design can be limited. Don't think about putting it in the center. You can't.

If you cut the folder open, you can do it though. So, I took my set of Stitched Circles to serve as illustration. First I did a CB folder no-no and opened that folder as far as it would go. I wanted the hinged part to bend back and away from the inside of the folder. Then I worked that plastic hinge back and forth a few times. One snapped on its own. For the others I used my craft knife, cutting from the inside. I mention this because I didn't want to leave any rough edges on the inside of the folder that might show up when embossing. You could always trim or file them, but I like easy.

The next problem was coming up with a way to have these two separate pieces meet up the way that they're supposed to. I try to eliminate the guesswork when possible and make things more foolproof. This step had me stumped for a while until I saw someone mention acetate, like the kind used with Sizzix folders. Aha! Now we're getting somewhere!

Up above are four 2" by 11 1/4" strips of transparency. These are cut from a heavier weight transparency. They used to be a GBC Clear Presentation Cover. The ever-resourceful and very creative Sue Nelson of Heart Prints found these a while back. They're wonderful for making gift boxes and are a great weight for making transparent cards. I found these at an office supply store. I used them here because I wanted something fairly sturdy that would bring the two sides back together properly. The 2" dimension is the width of a CB folder. I just went with the transparency's original length.

Up above you can see the score that I made with my Scor-It at the halfway point of each strip. If this was cardstock I'd have folded the card so that the opening was away from me, but I just went ahead and folded the two ends toward me. It just seemed to work better. Those are now ready to go.

Okay, so I cut all of the folders open. I laid them so that the insides of the folders, the embossing surfaces, were face down. I placed a small dab of the Tombow multipurpose glue at the corners and smeared it around. I wanted something that wasn't necessarily going to be permanent. I also wanted something that would be fairly flat so that it wouldn't cause any problems with embossing. I let it dry until clear. It just took a minute or two.

Here I've opened up one of my folded transparencies and I'm placing the side with the glue down onto the transparency at the edge opposite the fold.

With the folder still open and the first side in place, I placed the other half of the embossing folder on top of the first so that it would be just where it needed to go when embossing. I then let the other free side of the transparency close on top of that and pressed down gently on the corners so that the glue would stick.

And there's my finished folder.

You can see that I can now place the design in the center of the card if I want to.

I can center it along the folded edge.

I had to use a different folder here to say that I can tilt my design at a diagonal if I want to and place it anywhere on the card front. Heheheh, circles don't have diagonals, eh? But that's why I left the transparency at its original length. It just maximizes the reach that the folder has, and it still positions both sides of the folder so that they'll meet properly to emboss the design.

And here you can see that I've embossed a stitched circle at the center of the card front. There are no folder lines either. The heftier transparency does add some thickness. On my Big Shot I used Tab 2 instead of not using any tabs at all--this made my platform slightly thicker than usual when running embossing folders through my machine. But I also removed one of the clear plates, so my stack was actually thinner than usual. The embossing came through just fine though there was very little pressure applied. This is a case where less is better!

There you see the finished folders and the example on the card. Hope this might help make those small CB folders a bit more versatile.


  1. Wow!!! I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks so much for a great tutorial! I have a CB though so what plate order would work on the CB? I love your tutorials and look forward to seeing more!

  2. Hiya fellow Missourian. I am in St. Louis. Where are you?
    The main reason I stopped by is to say thank you for the idea. I usually make 5x7 cards and the A2 embossing folders cause headache with those. So off to find some transparencies and to cut up all my embossing folders.
    Great cards btw.

  3. I just want to say thank you for all the work you put into your incredible Cuttlebug tutorials. I have learned so much from your blog, and I appreciate the time and effort it takes for you to do this.
    Y O U
    R O C K ! ! !

  4. I just tried my modified folders in the CB. You'll have to play a bit depending on the thickness of your transparency, but I got a nice embossing and no folder line by using plate A, then the card with the front inside the folder and the back tucked under, plate C, then a thin chipboard shim on top. The usual 2 B plates made the stack too thick. The C plate alone wasn't quite enough to give a good impression.

    Hope that helps!

    Thanks for stopping by and for leaving comments, everyone! Appreciate it. :-)

    Oh, and I'm in St Charles, btw. :-)

    1. sounds good..I am going to try...I wish someone would make a you tube video on this, so more visual minded people could see how it is done...I understand,but I know some people who better understand it when they see it....good job...

    2. Loved these ideas...I just wish someone would make a video for people who need a more visual. I get it, but I know of crafters that are more visual...I can't make a video but it would be nice if someone did...great job and such a good idea...

  5. This one seems a bit more challenging. I'll keep watching to see how you use these. Thanks for all of the details.

  6. WOW-- this is such an innovative way to use what we already own in more ways than the manufacturers even thought of. Thank you for sharing this, and doing so in such a clear manner- Brilliant!

  7. the only size i can find is 8 1/2 x11 not 11 1/4 will this work.
    Ann W

  8. Hi Ann, I was using what I had handy. It just happened to be a little longer than the usual 8 1/2" by 11" size. The main thing is cutting it into strips lengthwise so that when you fold it and attach the Cuttlebug folder, the folder will have a much longer reach than it did originally.

    Hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Very impressive, you are a clever girl

  10. Thanks for your ideas. I have recently got a CB and had been wondering about just this very thing. I will definitely give it a go.


  11. Just another great way to use our favorite folders.

  12. I was wondering how to do this and someone sent me a link to your blog--perfect!!!!

  13. Glad you found the info that you were looking for! This is also a way to correct any folders that might not line up properly. I've had this issue come up with some of the 2x2 QuicKutz folders. The fold is a bit off so the design faces don't match up perfectly. I'm going to cut them apart and use this technique to realign them and give them the longer reach.

  14. Just found your blog whilst googling MS punches and came across your brilliant tutorials for use with CB so glad I did all I need now is some Acetate!! xx

  15. Brilliant, Jay! Thanks so much for taking the time to share these steps with us. I can't wait to try this.

  16. Way cool. I love to use my folders and it's great to be able to use them in non-traditional ways. Keep up the creative thinking.

  17. Uh oh! If Provocraft gets wind of this idea, you just might see a new product being introduced. Cuttlebug Extra-long Extended Embossing Folders. I should patent that name! I have some of the long slim folders and hate the way you are limited with space. I am cutting mine apart tomorrow and getting more bang for my buck!

  18. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  19. This is an excellent idea, I have thought about cutting my folders but could not think of how to align them to work right - never thought of acetate. Thank you!

  20. Thank you for such a wonderful idea. I have several small CB folders that I haven't used is a long time, because of their size. I tried your idea with the acetate folder and it worked beautifully! Now I have more versatility with the small CB folders.


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