Monday, February 09, 2009

embossed shape outlines on the cheap

Last week on the Gingerwood stamping forum we were talking about do-it-yourself embossing folders. Folks with Cricuts were improvising and embossing shapes similar to the Spellbinders Nestabilities shapes. The only drawback was that they said that they couldn't emboss the border of a die cut the way that you can with a Nesties die cut. I got to thinking about this, and I thought, well, why not? They can cut out frames--a 1/4" wide frame could give the same effect as a die cut with an embossed border. Now, someone may have done this already with their Cricut. I don't have one, so I don't follow those blogs or forums, but I thought that those of us who don't have an electronic die cutter for whatever reason shouldn't be left out. LOL!

I've made DIY embossing folders before. This time I wanted to see if I could emboss the outline of a shape--something similar to an embossed Nestabilities die cut look. I was gonna do it on the cheap, too. No Cricut. Hm, but how....

I knew that I'd make it out of chipboard. I needed a way to make an open frame in some kind of shape. I don't have one of those nifty tracing tools that will trace a design in a smaller or larger size. Wouldn't that have been cool! But hey, I thought of something that might work! So simple, too.

This is an octagon that I printed out on computer paper. Spellbinders will be offering an octagonal set of Nestabilities dies soon, but they aren't available yet for most of us.

I cut out my octagon.

This is my cut out shape laid on top of chipboard which I'd received courtesy of the USPS with a stamp order. Love to recycle!

I cut out shape from the chipboard.

Here is my makeshift tracer! Yep, two colored pencils held together by a rubber band. Woo! High tech stuff! You don't see this just anywhere! ;-)

Time to trace the inside border of my frame. One pencil rests on the chipboard, and the other one rides along the outside edge of the shape. I have that piece of scrap paper underneath so that I don't trace an octagon on my table.

Pull the pencils along one edge, like so. Then do the same for the other edges.

Here is my shape with all of the edges traced.

Now it's time to cut along the marks with my ruler and craft knife.

When I was finished it looked like this. Gee, aren't you glad that I'm not into making videos? No need to watch some of the more tedious parts of the procedure. LOL! But more seriously, that's why I use photos. It's like those cooking shows where they put a cake in the oven, then turn around and pull out the one that's all baked and ready for the next step. Some videos drive me nuts when they take almost 10 minutes to describe what they're doing and there's no good way to skip ahead. ARGH! But I digress.... :-)

This is my cut out shape (frame) which is on top of my multipurpose platform open to Tab 1, black silicone embossing pad, and card front. I placed my clear cutting plate and the backing from a Cuttlebug folder package as a shim on top of all of that, then ran the stack through. If you have an impressions pad, you probably could use that instead of the clear plate and shim.

This is the embossed border on the card front. It's not as crisp as what you'd get with Nesties, but it's not bad for a different, softer look. It's definitely not bad when you consider my materials, i.e. recycled chipboard, two pencils, a rubberband, a craft knife, a cutting mat, and a ruler. I think it took me longer to write up this blog post than to make it, too. :-)

And here is that border used as an accent on a card. The stamp is from My Favorite Things and stamped and colored using Memento dye inks and markers. I embellished the flowers with a bit of Flower Soft to add dimension.


  1. love that you experiment and figure all this stuff out!
    I've been thinking that I could make an all over design
    by scattering chipboard heart or stars over a card front and use the same method you did for embossing.

  2. Wow, I don't call this: embossed shape outlines on the cheap but Clever embossing. I don't have all these fancy stuff like Nestabilities or cricut. I love you idea. Thanks so much for sharing your brilliant discovery!

  3. Wow you are amazing. The idea and card are fantastic. I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago and have visited it every day since . You are what this craft needs!! Tips on working with what we have. Most of us don't have a huge budget to buy everything that comes out. Thanks!!

  4. Wow, this is amazing...correction, you are amazing and soo creative! I have a Cricut but no carts to cut out something like this...or do I? I'll have to take a peek at my cartridges. Either way, great tip and I just love your high tech instruments!!! LOL

  5. Great idea! The image looks great to me, but you mentioned that it's not as crisp as you'd get with a Nestie. What if you spritzed the cardstock with a little water before running it through?

  6. What a clever idea!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I just love all the ideas you come up with for the cuttlebug--especially the inexpensive ones like this. I was trying to figure out how to use grungeboard cutouts from Tim Holtz for this same purpose, but I just haven't had time to play around with it yet. Not quite as cheap, I mean inexpensive, as your idea, but the shapes are already cut out for you. Just a thought I'd love to see you expound on. Thanks for sharing your creativity with us all so freely.

  8. what a great idea! I can't afford all those nesties that available but I can afford 2 pencils and a rubber band lol :0)
    **Hugs** Heather x

  9. Jay you are a winner! Just love this idea! YOu are so crafty!
    Debra #352

  10. Happy accident finding you this looks fab will try it tomorrow

  11. These are great tutorials...and i also want to give you a big ty for NOT using videos..being on dial-up i can't veiw themm..and you are one of the few that is thinking of us..and doing it in visual pics..loves ya Gail


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