Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Look, Ma! No lines!

I've been enjoying these new border embossing folders from Cuttlebug. It sounds like others have been, too. I've seen one question come up a few times. It's not a new one, but these new borders seem to have brought this issue to the forefront again. It's those pesky folder lines and how to get rid of them!

I decided to try to tackle this problem in a methodical way. When I modified the small Cuttlebug folders a while back, I'd eliminated the folder lines by changing the overall "thickness" of the stack that I put through my Big Shot. That is, I'd made the stack a bit thinner. It made, and still makes, sense--a thinner stack means less pressure on the folder, including the edges, and less likelihood of embossing those edges. Of course it also means that the image might not emboss as well, so it's a little tricky. I wanted to see if there was any other way to get rid of or avoid making those lines altogether. I tried a number of ways that I'd seen online.

First I had to find a border that would leave some distinct lines. I found this one from the Frills set. I'm not sure how well you can see the lines in the photo, but I could see them fairly clearly in real life, especially with indirect or oblique lighting hitting the test page. I used my Big Shot with the multipurpose platform, no tabs, and two clear plates, as usual.

Some of the techniques that I tried and subsequently discarded since I still saw lines:
  1. Adding text weight paper inside the folder.
  2. Adding text weight paper strip outside folder.
  3. Adding cardstock strip outside of folder.
  4. Using the somewhat softer Sizzix crease pad rather than a clear plate.
I'd read on the Provo Craft forum a while back that thin chipboard the thickness of the folder could help prevent fold lines. Didn't really work for me or for others that I'd heard from.

I decided that my best bet would be to alter the "stack" after all. I set my multipurpose platform to Tab 2 and eliminated one clear plate. That's too thin to get even a faint impression. I cut a thin shim from Cuttlebug packaging and added that. You can see in the photo up above that the impression wasn't very distinct. I added a second shim. You can see the results a bit better in the next photo.

You can see the nice crisp impression and no folder lines. YES!

For the purposes of experimenting here, I'd cut my shims the width of my cardstock. What I'll probably do is cut some to fit the full length of the border folder.

What I wanted to illustrate here is that I'd cut my shim so that it would apply pressure only to the embossed design and not put any pressure on the edges. And just for the sake of completeness, I tried running the cardstock and folder through using Tab 2, one clear plate and two full sized Cuttlebug packaging shims. That was still too much pressure on the edges and caused them to be embossed. So much for doing it an easier way without the cutting.

BUT WAIT! I'd had to pause here because, gee, the family was hungry and dinner was ready. I came back to this and had a *lightbulb* moment! This is very similar to creative Cuttling!

Okay, so I just now tried this. Here's an easier way to do accomplish what I did above, and no having to cut out shims from Cuttlebug packaging--though I have to say that recycling would be a good thing, eh?
  1. Using my Big Shot and multipurpose platform, I went back to using no tabs.
  2. I placed my cardstock inside the border embossing folder on the naked platform.
  3. I placed a regular craft stick on top of the folder design.
  4. I put the clear plate on top of that and ran it through. The result was a so-so impression, so....
  5. I added a shim and ran it through again. BINGO! Good impression, no folder lines.
The best part? You can emboss the wider borders using the wider craft sticks! These are perfect for these borders! Most of us have these on hand. You don't need to make any specially cut shims and keep track of them. You may or may not need to shim with a layer of chipboard or cardstock to get the crispness that you like, but if you use the craft stick method, you shouldn't get a folder line because they're thinner than the folders. Woo hoo!

As for those of you with Cuttlebugs, I didn't pull mine out, but you should be able to accomplish something similar. Substitute a craft stick for one of your clear plates. The craft stick will most likely be thinner than the plate, so you'll need to shim to get to the right stack thickness to get a good impression. Work your way thicker slowly--you might be surprised at how little pressure it really takes to get a good impression--but you should be able to get to that point and not have a folder line.

Hope that helps everyone use these new embossing borders with less frustration. :-)


  1. smart,smart,smart!
    I've made a note of your findings next to my new cuttlebug.Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Thanks so much - I will give that a try!

  3. Hope this does the trick for both of you. I've also written up a short how-to for Cuttlebug users, mitch, if you'd like to take a look at that as well. I've added these posts to my Cuttling tutorials menu in my sidebar.

    Thanks for the commenting. Appreciate it! :-)

  4. Hi, I tried your method and it works! Thank you so much for sharing.


  5. Great! I'm glad to hear that it worked for you Barbara. :-) Thanks for coming by.

  6. thanks so much for the great information.
    Can't wait to try it.

  7. Hi, please tell us "newbie's" what a craft stick is. Thanks

    1. posickle stick, tongue depresser

    2. Thank you! I was wondering the same thing!


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