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Top Tip - Engraved Effect

Updated: Feb 5, 2022

Who says mistakes don't make for happy endings?

Not me, thats for sure! So I'm not confessing to anything.. lol... but "maybe"

I was prepping for a show and tried to cut a die out of acetate and it failed to cut through... This often happens with dies when faced with the evilness of the uncutable acetate, especially in manual machines, with more intricate dies (normally)... more on that later ;)

Anyway, back to my non-confession... so the die may not have cut the acetate.. and i may have put the sheet to one side forgetting this little mis-hap, I then may have used the sheet to create a Caught in Crystal style background... That was then (once dry) turned in to a card front at haste... Many days later I may or may not have then noticed this small but very obvious engraved die outline in my acetate.. Not in a discrete corner or hidden away from sight... On the main card, bold as brass for the world to see! It may not also be the only one either, as when my "failed" attempt took place I had a few dies on the sheet at the same time.

But through this mistake I realised the potential of engraving my own acetate!

Now full disclousre - I went through a stage many years back of engraving card with my dies, then inking over the top... That too looks amazing, and well worth trying, even as i type this I'm thinking 'I really must do more of that again'. (See example of this at the very end of the post) So by now you may be wondering how do I go about this...

well we have lots of variables to consider/ experiment with...

1- Intricacy of the die

2- Brand of the die/Depth of the cutting blades on the die

3- Power/pressure of the machine you use

4- Thickness of acetate

Now all these will play about with everything I am about to say... so you will have to experiment!

1- I find more intricate dies are more likely to struggle cutting through your acetate, so ideally pick ones with lots going on! - Basic shapes, such as circles, will normally cut acetate on any machine without too much fuss... where as a delicate butterfly doesn't stand too much of a chance.

2 - We all know with most of life you get what you pay for and dies are often the same... the higher end dies will happily cut through acetate easier in my experience as the depth of the die is often a little thicker. So again... worth keeping in mind.

3 - This is to me will be your biggest variable... we all know that the electronic machines pack much more of a punch when it comes to pressure, normally this is a bonus, for this tecnhique... not so much lol. I have an electronic machine... And although it doesnt cut all of the intricate dies out when I put it through it will pick areas and cut out odd pieces... To me this then looks faulty and renders that piece no good for this technique.

So for mine I have used the Vassen Creative Cut Em Easy... This little work horse is an amazing manual cutting machine, but of course does not have the strengh and power of the much more expensive electronic machines... making it perfect for this technique

Now you may well only have an electric machine... If so, try changing your plates about so you have slightly less pressure put on the die, or try cutting a piece of card aswell as the acetate or two pieces of acetate at the same time... If you put to much in the machine it will soon refuse it and although you may think I can't put that much in my machine... Don't forget the manufacturers actually say you can cut wood in them!!! So a couple of sheets of acetate should be fine, as for your die... they spend all of their life cutting in to plastic cutting plates and still carry on regardless so a sheet of acetate shouldn't hinder their ability.

4 - Acetate comes in many thicknesses and styles, and this of course will vary your results considerably. For mine I have used the Creative Expressions Heat Resistant acetate.. It certainly isn't the thickest of acetates... so again if you have a die that cuts through your acetate too easily... Try one of the thicker acetates we stock. Acetate is no different to card stock.. It also comes in many "weights".

So... For mine i have used the - Elegant Snowflake die - Layered Snowflake - Sue Wilson - Craft Die | Craftmania (

I have randomly cut the die to create a panel

Then I have brought in a selection of Cosmic Shimmer - Crystal Tints - Crystal Tints | Craftmania

And randomly placed the colour down on the reverse of the acetate (non-engraved side)

Using my fingers i have spread the colours out to cover the sheet

I have covered over the top of the crystal tints and then misted with water to activate the Pixe Powders & Pixie Sparkles.

I have then left it to dry on its own... and this is the end result...

Now to be honest... Trying to photograph this is a nightmare... lol... but it looks lovely in reality..

Couple of bits to mention....

Also with this in mind, when you do come to adding your products to the reverse of the sheet you may wish to use some masking tape to hold the sheet flat... You may notice i have taped mine down on to the surface. Now I hope this inspired you to give this a try! Don't forget you don't have to

add products on to the aceate, here is one just laid on top of a sheet of gold mirror card, I think this has lots of scope for creativity too :)

Lastly... I mentioned engraving normal card to...

For this I took a sheet of card, folded it in half to make it double as thick... This will give it a much less likely chance of cutting through the card, it will just engrave it again.

If you do find that it cuts, or odd bits cut... Add a self adhesive sheet to back to give it strengh and to keep the bits from moving... You can also do this before you cut it as well as it will make it thicker and stronger once again so it is less likely to cut through. For my example i have then blended over the top with Turquoise Pool - Colour Cloud ink...

I hope you enjoy this Top Tip and find it helpful in your crafting. I can't wait to see your creations with this style! Please do make sure you pop your creations up on our Groups/Pages... Facebook Group - Create With Craftmania & Jamie Rodgers Jamie Rodgers Crafts - Jamie Rodgers Crafts | Facebook Jamie -x-

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