Wednesday, May 23, 2012

use your scraps week 2 | border strips with spellbinders edgeabilities

I'm back with the promised post showcasing one of Spellbinders' new tools that can help you stretch your stash by turning your scraps into gorgeous layered border strips! Actually, Edgeabilities dies do a lot more than that, and I'll walk you through some of those features as well, though they won't be used on my final project today.

Edgeabilties dies were actually introduced at CHA Summer 2011, but for CHA Winter 2012 Spellbinders changed up the way they're packaged and, in my opinion, made them much more useful in the process!


Each pack of Edgeabilities border dies comes with three different decorative edge designs. Think of them as border punches for your manual die cutting machine- except that these dies cost less per design than the average border punch, are more versatile, and take up a lot less storage space.


There are currently two sets of decorative edge dies available (six designs total), and they can be combined with one of six sets of decorative inserts (eighteen designs total) to create a huge variety of both styles and sizes of decorative edges. All dies and inserts are 8" in length, and each set has an MSRP of $19.99 US.


I mentioned a recent packaging change by Spellbinders that I'm really happy about- the shift from packaging one edge die and two decorative inserts per set to making sets of either three edges or three inserts. In my opinion this makes them much more cost effective, especially for those who are more interested the edges themselves than the decorative aspects.

The dies are compatible with almost any manual roll-through die cutting machine- I've used them in the past with my own Sizzix Bick Kick- but today I'm going to demonstrate them on Spellbinders' own Grand Calibur machine.


Why demonstrate on the Grand Calibur? Because, unlike many of the consumer-level die cutting machines on the market, the Grand Calibur has an 8" track (an can accomodate 8.5" paper if the inner guides are removed), allowing the full width of the die to enter the track without having to turn it sideways. You'll see why this is handy in a minute.

To use the dies, start by placing your selected edge die (edge dies have a cutting edge while decorative inserts only create a pattern but don't actually cut across the paper) and decorative insert(s) cutting edge down across the edge of the paper to be cut.


Many of the Spellbinders instructional videos show a small piece of tape being used to secure the dies (in order to keep them aligned with both each other and the edge of the paper), but I'm always afraid that I'll tear my paper trying to get the tape off. I prefer to use the sticky edge of a Post-It Note instead- no worries about getting the adhesive off later!


The dies need to be secured since the next step is to flip the paper over and place it (die-side down, with cutting edges facing up) on the Grand Calibur's base plate.


A "C" Cutting Plate is then added to the top of the stack...


...and the sandwich is rolled through the machine.


This is where the 8" track of the Grand Calibur becomes very convenient. Since the dies are only on the edge of the paper, it's only necessary to roll the plates in a few inches (the back view of my machine below shows how far I rolled mine in), and then back it out. No running the whole plates through the machine every time, which saves a bit of time!


Spellbinders dies also allow for embossing, though it's a totally optional step. If you want to emboss your creations, make sure that you leave the dies and paper together and only remove the C plate after making the first (the cutting) pass in the machine. In the photo below you'll see that the end of the paper that was cut off detached when I removed the cutting plate, which is perfectly fine, but you'll want to leave everything else as-is before beginning the next step.


To emboss, cover the paper (with the dies still underneath, cutting side up) with a tan Spellbinders embossing mat, then top with the pink embossing plate.



After rolling the embossing sandwich through the machine, it's now safe to take everything apart.


And here's the finished result- just look at the detail on the cuts and embossing!


You can also layer up multiple decorative inserts behind the edge die, making this system very flexible.


Now, let's take a look at re-creating my earlier layered border strip project with this die, shall we? Spellbinders does make a line of 12" Borderabilities dies, but I'm all for making one tool do lots of jobs, so I worked out a way to get the same effect from the Edgeabilities.

The biggest issue to work around is how to cut a 12" strip of paper with an 8" die. Luckily, the design of the Edgeabilities makes this pretty easy.


Start by lining up the die on one end of the paper strip and cutting as usual, again using tape or Post-It Notes to hold everything in place before flipping it upside down.




As expected, the cut only goes part of the way down the paper.


It makes life easier to tear off the cut end, so carefully detach it...


...and then line up the die with the already-cut portion of the strip, this time with the die extending down the length of the un-cut portion of the strip.



Then run through and cut again to create a 12" strip with a full-length decorative edge!


There's also the option to cut down the entire length of both sides of the strip to create a two-sided design using either the same Edgeabilities die, or a different design altogether!

I used both single- and double-sided designs to whip up the decorative layered borders shown below (scroll down to today's earlier post for assembly instructions).



And then I used portions of those borders to make cards. It's amazing how fast these came together- with such pretty border strips, these cards didn't need much more embellishment!



Edgeabilities are one of those multi-purpose tools that will be seeing a lot of usage in my scrap room from now on, and I'm hoping to see more additions to the Classic Edges line especially at the next CHA show!

Supplies (click on images for product links):