Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cuttlebug Letterpress

Recently, while shopping online for a Cuttlebug storage binder, I discovered the L Letterpress from Quickutz--it's basically DIY letterpress, at home, with just a die cutter/embosser.  It looks very impressive! (har har, I wonder how many other craft bloggers have made that pun)  The kit itself isn't out yet, though it should be soon, as "late October/early November" is basically now.

My ProvoCraft Cuttlebug, however, is not an Epic Six, so I'm dying to find out if I can get the L and use it without having to buy another die cutting machine.  I really love my Cuttlebug; I've had it for a couple of years now and it's very reliable.  Considering that I can use nearly any brand of die in my Cuttlebug, I'm going to guess that it's compatible--all that really matters is, will it be too wide, or too tall?

Very likely, I will end up getting one of these, although I will probably wait until it's actually released so that I can read reviews by real crafters.  I couldn't help but do some frantic online searching, however, and I did come across the idea of using the Cuttlebug and embossing folders as a makeshift letterpress, however, and I wanted to try it myself.  Combined with the fact that I recently took over Ben's abandoned camera, my endeavours required some bloggin'.

There's a video available on, which involves cutting the embossing folder, but I didn't feel that was necessary--most of my embossing folders are the A2 size, so they're patterned, and it works just to flatten the folder.

For a shim, I used some felt, cut to size.  I started with 2, which provided adequate cushioning for a couple of presses, but I had to add 1 after that, and ended up with four sheets of felt underneath.

You can kind of see my layers:

B - cutting
inked embossing folder
B - cutting
felt (just scraps in that photo above, though, from testing)
A - block

For ink, I just used some stamp ink that I've had around forever.  Not being much of a stamper, I don't have much ink.

Yeah, that's about it.  There's a black pigmented ink pad that I found when I was moving things around, but I didn't get around to trying that one.  I also tried out my Marvy Wet Looks markers, but that didn't turn out too well:

The ColorBox inks weren't bad, especially the little Chalk cat eyes.  The dye ink was okay, but not great--I used it for the present, below:

Overall, I think it worked out fairly well.  I could definitely see myself trying it again, although I think I need to pick up a rubber roller, and some more ink, or some paints.  The ink came off fairly easily with stamp ink remover and a paper towel.  The paints for the L Letterpress are more oil-based, though, so I'm not sure how that would make for cleaning the embossing folders.

Don't be surprised if I end up getting the L, assuming it works with the Cuttlebug, or at least some of their printing plates and inks.  I would be extremely surprised, though, if the L wasn't compatible with the Cuttlebug and the Sizzix, or any other basic die cutter/embosser on the market.


  1. I've heard about these elsewhere and wondered if they would really work. I don't think they can ever compare to a real letterpress, even a small one, because the real ones can generate so much compression strength. I'm not sure how much they cost, but if it ends up being a few hundred dollars after you buy all the accessories, you may as well look for a small and less expensive tabletop letterpress like a kelsey. But you have to be careful. You think the small one will be enough and next thing you know you'll be lugging home a 1,600 pound machine! :)

  2. If you're near a Paper Source, they'll have them out this weekend for demonstrations:
    I'm definitely going.

    The L machine is appealing because I don't have space even for a small letterpress. I'm assuming that I can (nicely) stuff all of the L tools into a bag and put it in the corner of the closet.