June 23, 2011

Frugal Friday Tip: DIY Embossing Folders

Design Team Member Christy submitted this Frugal Friday Tip. 

Last November, I was very happy to add a Sizzix Texture Boutique to my arsenal of scrapbook tools. Of course, what would an embossing machine be without the embossing folders? Since I purchased the Texture Boutique, I began to slowly acquire a variety of folders. However, most days, my budget did not allow me to purchase more. So you can imagine that I was quite intrigued by the idea that I could make my own.  I had come across the photo of just such a handmade folder on Pinterest. The Photo led me to a blog post with directions. Mel, the owner of Mel Stampz blog, had shared, in detail, how she created an embossing folder out of recycled cereal boxes and mod podge. So the very next day, I went out to the craft store and purchased the mod podge so that I could get to work.
  Now while I do have access to quite a lot of cereal boxes, I chose instead to raid my stash for some sheets of chipboard. I had a whole pack of this thick chipboard that I had purchased at the craft store. I felt that it would be a bit heavier and longer lasting than the cereal box. Next, instead of cutting chipboard pieces, I used some of the precut ones I had in my stash. Warehouse sales and Manufacturer grab bags have left me with quite the variety of chipboard pieces. The precut pieces are also thick and durable, which in my mind, would translate to better impressions when I used them to emboss.

The folders were incredibly easy to make. I simply used my embossing folders as a template to mark out the size I would need on the chipboard sheet. Once that was done, I cut the sheet and set to work adhering the chipboard shapes. For my first folder, I chose some chipboard stars from the rusty pickle. I laid the stars out onto the chipboard sheet, then used a brush and mod podge to adhere them. I did go back and cover the whole thing with a layer of mod podge. Very little mod podge was needed. The hard part was waiting for an hour so that it could cure. While I waited, I made another embossing plate with chipboard hearts from Maya Road.

Once the handmade embossing plates had cured and were dry, I next set about experimenting with a variety of sandwiches to use in my machine. I tried an extra sheet of the chipboard-cut down to size, a piece of craft foam, and also an old mouse pad. The results were very pleasing.

Handmade embossing folder made from Maya Road
chipbaord hearts, Mod podge, and a sheet of chipboard
The sandwich with the craft foam and the sandwich with the mouse pad produced the deepest embossed impressions on the paper. Some weights of paper worked better than others. I found a medium weight paper provided the best results. I also tried embossing pieces of soda can. I got a very light impressions which, though visible to the naked eye, did not photograph well. It seems that paper will work the best with these homemade embossing plates.
hand made embossing folder with rusty pickle stars,
mod podge and chipboard
I did try the recommendation of spritzing the paper with water prior to running it through the machine. I found however, that this caused the paper to stick to the hand made template. You can see the red fuzz it left behind on the star plate above. I believe mod podge does make a water proof sealer which may be worth looking into. All of the paper's I embossed were done without water though, except for the one. I tried it with Coredinations colour core card stock. Even with the water, the paper was so thick that a deep impression was not made. It does not even show well in the photo above. There was a slight impression on the star which showed through a little after I sanded it. I still recommend medium weight card stock.

While the hand made templates do not emboss every type of paper, I can still see them as a useful tool and a money saver. I plan to make some more and may even attempt cutting my own shapes or designs to use. Meanwhile, I have plenty of extra precut chipboard shapes with which to work with.

Do you have a Frugal Tip to share?  Just send it along with a picture to Scrappinpsycho@live.com.  You could be featured as a future Frugal Friday Tip.


  1. Great tip, thanks for sharing! I am now a follower. :)

    Stop by my new craft blog, Made Especially For You. It's still in its early stages but I promise I have many creative plans for it!


  2. What a fun tip!! I will have to try that!

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