I’ve just tried out a craft that I’d never attempted before – card making. Aside from making cards when I was a child and a feeble attempt at making a homemade card for my husband when I ran out of time to get to the shops, I’ve never even had a go at ‘proper’ card-making so when the opportunity to review an embossing machine presented itself, I thought that now would be a good time to learn a new craft. So I was rather excited when a parcel full of cardmaking goodies arrived and I took myself off to the caravan to try out my new kit.
The product that I’m using is a Sizzix Texture Boutique beginners kit (great for me then!) which is a card embossing machine that can be found in the die-cutting machines section of the Hobbycraft website. It uses patterned plastic ‘folders’ to imprint a design onto card by pressing it through roller inside the machine. There is everything you’d need to get started inside this kit, including cards and envelopes, greetings transfers, three embossing folders and even a pack of embossing card in different colours and a square of sandpaper. For a while I couldn’t work out why on earth there was sandpaper in the pack of card, but once I’d read the label I realised that once the card had been embossed with a pattern the raised design could be rubbed with the sandpaper to lighten the embossed areas and make the print more obvious.
I embossed the largest folder pattern onto a ready-folded white card to create a background print, then I chose piece of green card to emboss the medium-sized design. It was a simple process of placing the card inside the folder and putting the folder between the two black embossing places. This embossing ‘sandwich’ was fed into the machine and the handle turned with practically no resistance to roll the plate through the machine and press the design into the card. I repeated the process one more time on a small piece of purple card using the smallest folder. The card crinkled a little as it went through the machine and I now realised that I should have cut it down to size before putting into the folder. It didn’t effect the embossed design though and I just cut it down afterwards instead! When I put the card together I decided to lightly sand the purple piece of card to make the flower pattern more prominent.
After this first attempt I thought I should try something a little more adventurous and used an embossing folder that wasn’t part of the kit – you can easily buy extra embossing folders with different designs from Hobbycraft but watch out for the sizes as this machine can easily emboss the 4.25 x 5.5 inch card I was using but anything wider wouldn’t fit between the embossing plates! I had a Kirstie Allsop vintage rose design pack to try out which included one large folder to make a pattern on the background of the card along with a thin folder 1 inch x 5.5 inches which I used to decorate a strip of card to layer on top. I added a blue piece embossed using the original folder then layered up striped washi tape and a gingham washi button to finish off my card design. I’m still deliberating which greeting to transfer onto the card!
Finally, I wondered what would happen if I attempted to emboss an envelope and I gave it a go, using the biggest embossing folder from the original Sizzix kit. I think it looks rather good, and it ended up with a pattern on both sides so it might be hard to write an address on, but for a hand-delivered greetings card it would be a nice touch!
My overall impression of this kit was positive – it was easy to use (and let’s face it, for a beginner like me, it’d have to be!), required no physical effort to press the cards and gave pleasing results in a super-fast time. I think these two cards probably took me half an hour to make and that’s with unpacking the kit, reading the instructions and trying to figure out where there was sandpaper in the pack! I reckon that now I’m a ‘pro’ (yes, my two attempts makes me a professional embosser now!) I would be able to emboss and decorate greetings cards within minutes. I felt like I was making something with my own two hands, but without it being a chore; in fact, it was rather fun!
Let me know if you’re an avid card-maker and whether you would use a machine like this. Perhaps you already have an embossing machine and fancy sharing your card creations with me? What do you use sandpaper for?? Get in touch my email or tweet me @Cassiefairy.