Thursday, February 2, 2012

Basic Cuttlebug

Do you ever: Want to make flowers, butterflies, titles &/or tags that perfectly match your layout? Want to be thrifty & make beautiful embellishments from your leftover scraps? Want to never worry about running out of the letter E again?  Then the Cuttlebug just might be the tool for you.
What is the Cuttlebug?  It is a personal Die Cutter & Embosser. Huh? Put simply the Cuttlebug uses  "dies" to cut out shapes and "folders" to emboss.  Here is a sample of things I made using the Cuttlebug in less than an hour (& I stopped to take lots of pictures for this tutorial).  The Cuttlebug at your local store may or may not look exactly like this:
 (ProvoCraft, who makes the Cuttlebug recently changed the design). But it doesn't matter if it doesn't look the same, it will still work the same way. the dies & Embossing folders can come in many shapes & sizes.  In fact the Cuttlebug is made to work with dies & folders of other brands as well. So the possibilities are endless.  Here are a few that will work with it:

Weighing about 7 pounds and with a handle on top, It is made to be portable so you can take it when you go to a crop. And Since it folds up it is pretty easy to store.  Mine fits in a small shelf next to my scrap space.  See:








As you can see, the Cuttlebug is one of my favorite tools. If you've never used a diecutter it might look intimidating. The good news is...It's very simple, if you remember a few things:

1) Make sure you are on a stable work surface. If one isn't easily available, I often use the floor.  The Bottom is designed to grip the work surface when you open it up, so it won't slip around when you are turning the handle, But if your work surface is moving around, that won't do you any good.
           
2) You can cut many different materials, paper, felt, vinyl, fabric, chipboard, even cork, but don't try to cut anything thicker than 1/8 inch.  Not only do you risk bad cuts, but it can void the warranty.  Also it must be no more than 6 inches wide, or it won't fit.
(Length doesn't matter it can trail off the edge as long as you want. I run 12" strips through mine all the time)

3) Make sure you use the right sized parts in your "sandwich", & in the right order:
               The Cuttlebug comes with 1 spacer (A) and 2 cutting pads (B) There is also a Thin Die Adapter (C), which doesn't come with the Cuttlebug, but is designed for use with other companies dies. You will always need at least 2 of these & I've found most of the time I use  A & both B's.

If the sandwich is  too thin, it won't cut and if it's too thick, the cutting pad can break, so don't force it.  Here's how you can tell when you turn the handle:
  If it turns very easily it's probably too thin.
  If it creaks loudly &/or is very difficult to turn, it's too thick.
Either way simply adjust which layers you're using.

Here is an example of a sandwich:
 As you can see, A is on the bottom.  (Unless you have a very thick die & don't use A, it is Always on the bottom)  B is the cutting surface, so it comes next, followed by the paper (or whatever material you are cutting), and then the die with the cutting side (Usually there is foam covering the blade on this side) down.  Then for this one the dies are thin so C is on top. (When using dies that are made for the Cuttlebug & most embossing folders you would use the other B here Always make sure you have one of these on top.).
Then you just put your "Sandwich into the Cuttlebug like this:
and turn the handle until it comes out the other side.

It doesn't matter which side you put it in, so both lefties & righties can both use this machine with no problem.







So when it comes out you take apart the sandwich & this is what you find:



Notice that the cutting mat is scarred with the shape from the die. 


 4) When embossing, make sure the paper is inside the folder & lined up where you want the pattern to be.  (For large background embosses this isn't important, but for our example it is, as you can see:  If it isn't lined up, you can end up with only part of the butterfly embossed.  It's also important to make sure you have the butterfly right side up.  (Especially if your paper is double sided, or has a "wrong side" for flat, non-textured card stock, it doesn't matter) the side you want embossed should face the "Sticking out side", not the "Sunken in side" or you will have Debossed, instead of Embossed.  In other words the area that is raised on the folder will press into the paper so that it makes a bump.  The mostly sticking out side has grooves where the bumps from the sunken in side fit and press the design out (aka Embossing).  So here is our sandwich with the butterfly in the middle:



And after running it through the machine we have a beautifully embossed butterfly.






So that is the Cuttlebug!  A simple user friendly tool.  I've included a links to some more information, including Provocraft's downloadable  Cuttlebug manual (PDF). &  This link has some information that i found very helpful:
http://cuttlebug.net/Cuttlebug_information.html

I'd love to see what you do with the Cuttlebug!  You can find me at http://k84mansramblings.blogspot.com/.
Posted by Katrina Forman of Katrina's Kreations

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