I've played around with Stamped & cut embossing plates & with Grungeboard embossing plates, but a woodsy Cuttlebug challenge project wanted organic shapes that I didn't have, so this time it's freehand cut embossing plates.... in the shape of leaves.
I find these Do It Yourself plates work best with de-bossing & the effect is a little more like the letterpress look.
- Cereal Box Cardboard (thickness is important. I've had success with Quaker Harvest crunch, Cheerios, & Shreddies. My fave is the Quaker Harvest.)
- Mod Podge & brush
- Good sharp scissors
Please Test! :O) Before you work on making a finished folder, it might be wise to test the thickness of your cardboard in your particular machine--(since they all vary in how they are calibrated)--to be sure it'll work. Then you won't have to curse my name! ;o)
Try this simple test to see if your thicknesses will work:
1) Stick a few pieces 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 it needs to dry so the paper won't stick---hence 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 very lightly spritzed with water on both sides.
If this works, then you are a-go; if not maybe eat a different cereal to get another thickness? ;o)
Step 1}-Cut a piece of cereal box cardboard to a little bit smaller than the size of your Cuttlebug plates (I just find it TOO cool that this lets you emboss paper this big!)
Step 2}-Cut the cereal cardboard into whatever freehand shape you'd like.
Shaping up: Of course, if you prefer, you can draw shapes. The leaves that were cut for this one were a really easy shape to just cut without drawing but the cloud plate was one I sketched out before cutting.
For larger drawn shapes rough cut the cardboard around the shape (This makes a huge difference. It'll make your fine cutting easier & tidier.)
To make the cutting easier on your hands... You can break up the cutting & gluing. I cut as much as I could, then glued some. When I ran out of leaves to glue, I went back to cutting and so on...
Step 3}-Cover a section of the cereal cardboard with Mod Podge. It will set up a little bit, so working in sections & adding more Mod Podge when you need it seems to do the trick. Removing any blobs is also a good idea (so they don't harden & show up when you emboss.)
Step 4}-Adhere your cut pieces to the base cardboard. I like to stick the coloured side down in case of any colour bleed when damp cardstock is embossed on it.
Step 5}-Clean up the gluey bits as you go along: The modgodge will harden & whatever texture is there can 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 6}) 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 really is easier than I make it sound, honest. :O)
This can be done with die cut shapes or large simple hand cut shapes in about 15 minutes, but the leaf plate took me about an hour and a half. The tiny leaves just took a long time since there are around 3 hundred on this particular embossing plate. That might seem very time consuming, but it creates a one of a kind embossing tool--that you can use again over & over--so to me it was worth each minute it took to make it.
to the cereal cardboard, then cut out etc.
Here's a die-cut version:
...Die cut 2 thinner ones & layer on top of each other to get the thickness needed to emboss it. One of my ingenious readers suggested layering the shapes (so that a little one is on top of a larger one & you'd get variations in levels.) I looked & looked for your email to credit you with the idea, but couldn't find it. I'm SO sorry! :O)
Have punches you're crazy about? You could punch several out of cardstock & stack them to test for the best thickness. Might take a while, but would be original & would match your punched embellishments.
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
(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'! :O)