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Best Cuttlebug Ideas and Tips

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

The Provocraft Cuttlebug

The little machine that does it all

The little machine that does it all

Cuttlebug Tips And Ideas

When I took my Cuttlebug home in this box, I did not know the new world I was about to enter. It's a creative world where the only limits are your imagination! What could you create with this amazing machine? Let's take a trip together and find out!

Learning how to use your Cuttlebug is our goal. Sharing the best tips and ideas to help you use your Cuttlebug is our promise. Letting your Cuttlebug sit on a shelf cause you are or frustrated with it is about to change because we believe every crafter should have one and be using it.

The Cuttlebug is a die cutting and embossing machine made by Provo Craft, the same manufacturer that created the popular Cricut personal electronic cutter.

The Cuttlebug is a machine that uses no electricity. The paper is pressed between three plates, advanced with the manual movement of the bar. That makes this machine very portable. When it's not being used, the "table" that the plates glide on also act as the "dust cover" for the machine.

he Cuttlebug has a suction function so that when you unfold the base to open the machine it will sit firmly onto your smooth work table

The machine will cut dies and embossing folders, which make it very useful for all of your papercraft projects. Here are the best Cuttlebug tips and Ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing.

As of 2019 Provocraft announced that the Cuttlebug was no longer going ti be sold. But we know that there are still a lot of machines out there, so we continue to offer ideas and tips.

Everything You Need To Know About The Cuttlebug

The Amazing Cutting Unit—You Will Get Hooked To This Machine!

This is a terrific buy. I paid $58 for my unit in Joann's and that was one sale! Once you get started and see what you can create, I promise you will get addicted. The cost for this unit which includes the plates and one folder is under $50.00.

With the Cuttlebug, you get the "A"plate( a spacer), two "B"plates (for cutting), One embossing folder and two metal dies. You also get one rubber embossing mat which is 6 by 8

More Cuttlebug Advantages-Why Should You Consider Getting One

  • It's a very affordable unit Unlike the Cricut which can go towards $150 and up, the cuttlebug is very reasonably priced...(check out the sales I have posted for you !) For those folks who don't have a large craft budget, it just makes more sense
  • Like we said earlier, the cuttlebug accepts dies from other machines So if you have scizzix dies and others, you can use them on this machine. This was a big selling feature for me.
  • Cuttlebug can be used anywhere..it uses no electricity Take it to a class or a crop. It saves money and stores easily
  • Cuttlebug can emboss and cut on almost anything You can use it on cardstock, parchment paper,vinyl, chipboard, patterned paper, craft foam, light metal,mesh and fabric paper
  • Unlike other types of units, it's "sandwich system" keeps the dies from moving, so it has a more accurate cut

What Does The Cuttlebug Cut?

Try using cardstock, thin metal, thin wood, some fabrics, thin felt, poster board, chipboard, tissue paper, and fun foam just to name a few. The height of your cutting materials should not exceed 1/8".

Never force any materials through the machine, you may cause damage

Cuttlebug Plates

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Cuttlebug Plates

The plates that you need to use the Cuttlebug include an A Plate, Two B Plates and a C plate.

It's normal for the Cuttlebug plates to get marked from the dies that you use. And you might even see a little warping on your plates.They are still very useable.

The plates need to be aligned on the front and back for the machine to work correctly. If the plates are lined up correctly and inserted the handle will start turning on its own and you know you are good to go. Never force anything through the machine ! If it won't move, realign the plates or check your sandwich configuration.

The plates come in the standard size. There are also 6" by 13" plates as an extra purchase. These are perfect for your larger projects.

There are also magnetic mats that hold your dies and act as extra shims.

In addition, you can also get magnetic cutting mats for the Cuttlebug You would use these with thinner does. They require two B Plates and i A Plate

The A Plate

The A plate is about 1/2 " thick. It gives your sandwich most of the bulk that is needed to get the right pressure for all your projects. It is used for all projects except for the " All In One Embossing Folders"

The B Plate

There are two plates that come with your machine. Each plate is 6" by 8". There is also a 6" by 13 " plate that is available for longer projects as an extra purchase.. These are the plates that take the most wear. They will have die cut marks, but those marks will not affect any of your projects. You will want to flip your plates every cut or embossing to minimize warping.

The C Plate

The standard size is 6" by 8" in your bundle. There is also an extra plate for an additional purchase that is 6" by 13". The C plate gives you extra height especially when embossing.

These are the longer Cuttlebug plates that will help you create longer projects

These are the longer Cuttlebug plates that will help you create longer projects

Cuttlebug Embossing Folders

Cuttlebug embossing folders offer a wealth of design opportunities, They come in different sizes for all of your needs. They can also be used in other embossing machines

Cuttlebug embossing folders offer a wealth of design opportunities, They come in different sizes for all of your needs. They can also be used in other embossing machines

How To Use Embossing Folders With The Cuttlebug

The embossing folders are so easy to use! And the results are spectacular! I use them on cards, scrapbook pages and all kinds of paper crafts. You can get seasonal or general purpose...the great part is that you will use them again and again. The idea is that the folder presses the design onto the folder. The cost for the embossing folders in very reasonable. I make a list of the ones I want and shop around. The best buys that I have found so far in on eBay.

When I am making cards, I place the top part of the card between the two embossing plates, It will emboss only the front of the card, which really speeds things up if you are making a lot of cards for a holiday or party invites

You will use these embossing folders over and over again, so any that you purchase will be well worth the cost.

How To Emboss With The Cuttlebug

  1. Cut a piece of paper to the size of the embossing folder
  2. Place the paper inside the embossing folder
  3. Create a sandwhich ="A"plate on the bottom,"B" plate, the embossing folder with the paper inside and the other "B" plate on top
  4. place the sandwich on the platform and give it a very slight push.
  5. Turn the handle till the plates go through the machine.
  6. Remove the paper from the embossing folder and admire


Embossed paper with a little white ink to showcase design

Embossed paper with a little white ink to showcase design

More Embossing Folder Techniques And Ideas

Create Cuttlebug Embossing Folder Inventory

It is easy to create a Cuttlebug embossing folder inventory

It is easy to create a Cuttlebug embossing folder inventory

Organizing Your Cuttlebug Embossing Folders

Create a sample of all your Cuttlebug embossing folders. It's part of getting your craft space organized and it's easy to do. That way when you are working to create your designs, you will have a quick reference to what you have.

Another reason to create your embossing folder inventory is that when you are shopping for new folders, you won't duplicate your folders.

Supplies

  • Heavy colored card stock
  • Embossing folders
  • Large tag die
  • Label maker
  • Permanent black marker
  • Large metal ring
  • Hole punch
  1. Number all of your folders with the permanent black marker and allow to dry. Mark them on the outside of the folder
  2. Count the number of folders that you have. Cut large tags with the heavy colored card stock with a die. If you have an electronic cutting machine you can cut tags with that. You can use all the same color card stock or vary your colors.
  3. Emboss the tags -one for each embossing folder.
  4. As you are working with each tag, number the tag with the same number as you have placed on the embossing folder.
  5. When you are done, punch a hole in the top of each tag
  6. Place the tags on a large metal ring.
  7. Organize the folders in a box, bin or basket or
  8. Arrange the folders in pocket pages in a binder
  9. Use the label maker to name and number the pockets


Cuttlebug Smooshing Technoque

The Cuttlebug smooshing technique is a quick and easy way to add color to all your projects

The Cuttlebug smooshing technique is a quick and easy way to add color to all your projects

Cuttlebug Smooshing Technique

You can create a lovely smooshing technique with your Cuttlebug.


Supplies

  • Embossing folder
  • Ink Pad
  • Brayer
  • Card Stock
  1. Ink the brayer by rolling it over the ink pad till it is fully covered
  2. Roll the ink pad over the top of the embossing folder several times until the embossing area is totally covered with ink
  3. Place the card stock in the embossing folder
  4. Create a sandwich base plate, B plate, the embossing folder and another B plate on the top
  5. Run it through your Cuttlebug
  6. Remove the card stock from the embossing folder and allow to dry



CuttleBug Dies

They are a little thicker than a lot of dies you may have seen, but they cut beautifully

They are a little thicker than a lot of dies you may have seen, but they cut beautifully

Using Cuttlebug Dies

The Cuttlebug dies are thicker than most of the dies that you are used to using. But they create very nice detail and cut beautifully. You can only use them with the Cuttlebug.

To use Cuttlebug dies you need to create the following sandwich starting with the bottom plate and working your way to the top

  • Plate A-the thicker white color plate
  • Plate B- the clear plate
  • Cuttlebug die with the cutting face up ( place the metallic side down)
  • Card stock
  • Plate B- the other clear plate

Place the sandwich on the platform against the opening, Roll the handle and gently guide the sandwich to the opening until it grabs and starts moving into the machine.

Once the plates have gone through the Cuttlebug you are ready to remove them and see your project. Do not pull the plates. Allow them to come through.





Using Other Dies With The Cuttlebug

Any other die can be used with the cuttlebug

Any other die can be used with the cuttlebug

Using Other Dies In The Cuttlebug

You can use other dies to create in your Cuttlebug. The trick to success with other brands of dies is knowing the right sandwich to use

Sizzix

These does are thicker, so the following sandwich is used bottom to top:

  • B Plate ( see through plate
  • Sizzix die
  • Card stock
  • B Plate

Nestabillities

  • A Plate ( thicker white plate)
  • Die with the cutting side up
  • Card stock
  • B Plate
  • C Plate

You can also emboss the Nestabillities die cuts by using an embossing mat.

  • A plate (thicker white one)
  • B Plate
  • Die with the cutting side down
  • Die cut that you made placed back into the die
  • Foam Embossing Mat
  • Piece of scrap cardstock

Making Acrylic Windows For Your Shaker Cards

Never throw away that acrylic packaging that comes with so many supply packages. They ,make perfect windows for your shaker cards. Take the A plate, then the magnetic mat, a piece of acrylic packaging, the die shape,a piece of card stock for a shim and the B plate. Run it through your Cuttlebug once or twice. You will have the perfect window for your shaker card

Cutting vinyl is easy with the Cricut Cuttlebug

Cutting vinyl is easy with the Cricut Cuttlebug

Cutting Vinyl With The Cuttlebug

You do not need a fancy cutting machine to cut vinyl. You can cut it with your Cricut Cuttlebug.

You can use any type of vinyl to either cut with a background die or make a die cut . This gives you for more options to make stick on backgrounds or other projects beyond card making.

The vinyl sandwich is the same as any other die cutting

  • A Plate
  • Magnetic Plate
  • Vinyl
  • Die or background die
  • B Plate

Run through the machine and enjoy the results

Cutting Adhesive Foam Or Regular Foam

It is fun to use adhesive foam for projects and the Cuttlebug will die cut pieces hust right every time.

Sandwich To Cut Adhesive Foam

  • A Plate (the thickest plate)
  • Magnetic plate
  • Adhesive Foam
  • Die with the cutting side down
  • B plate

Cut your piece of adhesive foam or regular foam to fit the die, If you have adhesive foam you can remove the covering to the adhesive side and add fine glitter yo your shape !

Making Foam Flowers With The Cuttlebug

Stamping And Cutting Multiple Images With The Cuttlebug

If you have or buy stamp sets with matching dies to cut them out, you can save a lot of time with the Cuttlebug. Yes, you can stamp and cut multiple images at once. This is a huge time saver, especially if you have holiday cards to do.

  1. Stamp the images on cardstock
  2. Create your sandwich (the order that the plates are stacked from bottom to top}
  3. Place your A plate on the platform. Then your magnetic mat, Then one of your B plates
  4. Next place your stamped images on the B Plate
  5. Place the coordinating dies with the cutting side down on top of the images. You can use a bit of low tack tape to hold them on.
  6. Place the other B plate on top
  7. Run the project through the machine
  8. Remove the plates and all your images will be cut to perfection

Cuttlebug Accessories

There are a few accessories that will make your Cricut Cuttlebug experience more successful

  • The Magnetic Mat-when you are using dies they often tend to slip on the plate. The magnetic mat will hold the die and the paper so that they stay perfectly aligned.
  • The Embossing Mat-this mat can be used in place if the C Plate

Cutting Fabric With The Cuttlebug

Basic Cuttlebug Tips-Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

These are my favorite Cuttlebug Tips. They have been lovingly gathered from all over the internet. I am sharing them with you so that you get as much from your machine as possible.

  • When you need a little texture to a shape that you have cut, run it through an embossing folder to give it that little extra texture.
  • The best way to extend the use of your mats will be to periodically flip them over! The Cuttlebug Mat will get scratched. That's a sign that your machine is well used.
  • Combine your embossing with features from your cutting machines. I often will use a Cuttlebug embossed card and then add things that I have cut from my Cricut Machine.

Free Cuttlebug Downloads And Instructions

Cuttlebug Projects—Tutorials, Ideas and Inspiration

I have searched the internet for the best projects for use to use for your Cuttlebug! I hope they inspire you and get you using your machine. I have several of these projects in mind for this week.

Treating Warped Plates

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Treating Warped Acrylic Pads

AS you use your acrylic pads in projects, you will notice that the pads will start to warp or bow. The more they bow, the more likely the projects that you are working on will shift as you run them through the cuttlebug,

One if the things you can do, is to turn them every time you use them to minimize warping.

If your acrylic pads are really bowed, there are a few thing you can try.

Flatten Them In Your Oven

  1. Wrap the plate in aluminum foil-one plate per cookie sheet
  2. Lay them on a cookie sheet with the bowed side up
  3. Place a Pyrex baking dish on top of the plate
  4. Fill the baking dish 2/3 of the way with water
  5. Turn your oven to 350 degress and bake for 20 minutes
  6. You want to place them in the middle rack, one at a time. If you use the bottom rack, you may ruin them
  7. If the plate did not flatten enough give it another 10 minutes.

Note-Oven temperatures may vary, so you need to watch these very carefully. You may need to adjust your temperature.

Heat Embossed Background

You can create a stunning embossed heat embossed background using the Cuttlebug. With just a few supplies, your custom background is fashioned in just a few minutes.

Supplies

  • Versamark or embossing ink
  • Fine embossing powder
  • Cuttlebug embossing folder
  • Card stock base
  • Craft heat gun
  • Sanding tool or a piece of fine sandpaper
  1. The goal is to cover the entire piece of card stock with Versamark or embossing ink. Cover about 3/4 of the piece with the ink, leaving a small section so that you can hold it when you heat it.
  2. Cover the inked card stock with the embossing powder
  3. Heat emboss the embossing powdered side till the powder is melted
  4. Repeat the process with the other side. You will get a bit of a line which you will not see when you finish your card.
  5. Allow the card stock to cool
  6. Place the embossed card stock in the Cuttlebug embossing folder
  7. Run the folder through your Cuttlebug using the embossing folder sandwhich
  8. Gently sand the top of the embossed card stock till you get the look that you like
  9. Use the project as a background for your greeting card

1.

Cuttlebug Technique Ideas

Cuttlebug Distressed Ink Technique

Placing a small embossing folder in the corners of your card stock creates an interesting design

Placing a small embossing folder in the corners of your card stock creates an interesting design

Cuttlebug Distressed Ink Embossing

Distressed Inks are a lot of fun to use with your Cuttlebug. They give color and character to your embossing projects.

Supplies

  • Small embossing plates
  • Card Stock
  • Distressed Inks
  • A sponge or a Cut and Dry foam piece
  1. Place the embossing folder at an angle on the cardstock
  2. Run it through your Cuttlebug
  3. Repeat this using different angles until you are pleased with the effect.
  4. Take your distressed ink pad and run it gently over the top of the embossed side of the card stock. The ink will be picked up on the raised part of the design.
  5. If you want to add more color, take the foam or sponge and add color to the flat areas of the design.
  6. Allow the ink to dry

Note-you can also do this technique on the reverse side of the embossed card stock, The design will be reversed

Partial Embossing

What a lovely idea for a card with a single image that you would like to enhance with a little embossing feature on the end of the card ! So simple to do and yet people will wonder how you got it done.

Supplies

  • Card stock card form or make a folded card
  • Stamped image of your choice
  • Embossing folder
  • Markers of your choice
  1. Stamp the image of your choice on the top of the left side of your card
  2. Color the image
  3. Allow to dry
  4. Place the top of the card stock form partially into the embossing folder on the right side. Leave a little space between the image and where you are going to emboss. Keep the card stock straight si that the embossing is even
  5. Create your sandwich using the base plate, the B plate, the embossing folder, the B plate on the top
  6. Run the sandwich through your machine
  7. Admire your project


Foiling With The Cuttlebug

Cuttlebug Tips and Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ideas and tips for use of your Cuttlebug:

  1. To prevent warping of the plates used with the Cuttlebug, flip them. Use one side and then the other. Place a little piece of washi tape or a post-it note on the side you last used.
  2. To use a scizzix die with your Cuttlebug make sure to use the B plates only and set the die at the back portion of your plate so that it will go through.
  3. To prevent paper cracking or ripping, especially on intricate designs, roll the plates slowly. You can also lightly mist your paper with water, using a very fine mister to prevent cracking.
  4. If you are using dies, place a piece of wax paper between the die and the paper. The paper will release from the die a lot easier.
Technique Or ProjectWhich Plates To UseNotes

Thin Dies

A and two B plates

A plate on the bottom, B plate, die(with foam up), paper and B plate

Thicker Dies

A, C and B Plates

A plate on the bottom, C plate, die(foam up)paper and B plate on top

How To Cut And Emboss With The Cuttlebug

Storing And Organizing Your Embossing Folders

I like to store my folders/dies upright in a plastic store container. You can also use one of the several folder/die storage units that are available on the market. Another alternative would be to use one of the decorative photo boxes in your local craft store. Some folks like to store them in page protectors categorized in a binder. Decide what storage idea works best for you.

If you want to be really organized, you can create a catalog for your embossing folders. That way, while you are designing, you can flip through your samples and save lots of time!

What You Need to Create an Embossing Folder Catalog

  • Index Cards or Pieces Of Cardstock
  • Hole Punch
  • Permanent Marker
  • Your Cuttlebug
  • All Of Your Embossing Folders And Dies
  • Binder Rings

First, emboss one copy of each of your embossing folders. Cut each piece to the size you desire. Punch a hole in the same end of each sample. Mark on each sample the size and name of the folder. Thread your samples on the binder ring.

The nice thing about this project is that you can put it in your purse or refer to it when you are shopping.

Want More Inspiration?

  • A Paper Craft Workshop
    Resources, ideas, information and projects that will help you learn, create and share your passion for paper crafting
  • Paper Craft Workshop Facebook Group
    Paper Craft Workshop. 103 likes. Community for everyone who loves to craft and make projects with paper. We invite you to join in the conversation.

© 2013 Linda F Correa

Tell Us About Your Cuttlebug - We'd Love To Hear From You !

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on September 20, 2020:

I am so glad that you found this article helpful. Even though I have an electronic cutting machine, I still enjoy and rely on my Cuttlebug almost daily

Nancy Parker on September 19, 2020:

Thank you for this comprehensive overview of the Cuttlebug. When I first got mine I was at a loss of how to use it. Your overview is so welcome.

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on September 15, 2020:

I would try Amazon or Etsy to find the longer plates. You might also try Ebay. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find that plate. I am not sure if other plates could be used. Most companies design their plates for that specific machine.

Iona snedeker on September 14, 2020:

Where can the longer plates be found!

Can you use plates from other machines?

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on May 21, 2018:

I have the cuttlebug and a Gemini machine. The Gemini machine is a little more expensive but is faster and easier on the hands. The Gemini however requires electricity, so it is less portable. I still iuse my Cuttlebug. I always tell everyone make a decision what is right for you based on the copst and use you want your cutting tool to have. Thanks fior stopping by.

Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on May 14, 2018:

After many years paper crafting I am finally exploring the idea of buying a manual die cut machine. I appreciate this review and the tips you offer here.

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on January 21, 2015:

I have never cut vinyl with the cuttlebug. I think vinyl might be too thick. Having said that it would be worth some experimentation. I have a Cricut explore that cuts vinyl perfectly

tia on January 19, 2015:

Hi i was wondering does this cut vinyl?