I have been experimenting with the various ways to make my own embossing dies for the Cuttlebug for almost a year now. I have watched all the videos and bought all the products. The results have been OK, but the processes were complicated with lots of room for error. The first thing I learned was that 2 piece folder-style dies did not work any better than one piece and the next thing I learned is that none of the home-brew methods work as good as a manufactured Cuttlebug folder, but you can get decent results that are useable and best of all, custom.
For one piece images, the easiest and cheapest method is to cut a shape from chipboard or stack several layers of cardstock and use that with an embossing mat (like the tan Spellbinders mat). I used that method in my earlier post and you can see a video on that here. But I’ve been trying to come up with an easy way to do a more complicated multipiece die and I think I have found it. Here’s how:
1. Get some self-adhesive magnetic sheets from the kids craft section at Walmart. Each pack contains 2 5 x 7 sheets and costs $1.97. It has to be self-adhesive with a backing sheet. (Cricut magnet sheets or inkjet magnet sheets will not work as is.)
2. Create your design to cut at 5 x 7 or smaller, load a magnetic sheet black side up on the mat and kiss-cut so that the magnet is cut through but not the backing. You may need to experiment first. I used a deep cut blade/housing at depth 4.5, pressure 4, speed 3 and multicut 2. I am pretty sure you can cut this with a regular blade and housing, though, as it is pretty thin and cuts easily.
3. Carefully remove all the magnet material from the areas of the design that you do not want to emboss with. If you are used to working with vinyl this “weeding” will be a familiar process. You can cut or tear the waste magnet material but be sure that all of your design positive remains in place on the backing. Once you get the hang of it you will find the magnet material really easy to work with.
4. Run your new custom die through the Cuttlebug with the “sandwich recipe” as follows: A plate, B plate, your new die with magnet side up, paper or cardstock to be embossed, embossing mat (such as tan Spellbinders mat), additional card stock shims as needed (I used 4 sheets of cardstock), and B plate. Enjoy the results. (Image on right is white core cardstock sanded after embossing.)
Download the Gypsy file and a few other Gypsy backgrounds for embossing here.
Download some CDS embossing backgrounds here.