paper: pretty paper. true stories. {and scrapbooking classes with cupcakes.}: How to use letterpress plates with the Big Shot (and a travel layout process video!)

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How to use letterpress plates with the Big Shot (and a travel layout process video!)

scrapbook page with letterpress plates @ shimelle.com
It seems absolutely ages since I pulled out the kraft cardstock to scrapbook some travel photos, since I feel pretty spoilt for choice with baby photos these days. With a week away (part work, part play) last month, it seemed time to bring the two together, and kraft cardstock feels like an old friend I haven’t seen in years, yet the conversations start just where they left off. I’m tempted to say the rest of the scrapbooking world can keep all that white cardstock for their backgrounds and I’ll just stick to patterns and kraft. It’s a happy combination.

travel scrapbook page by shimelle laine @ shimelle.com
I was also really excited to use a new product we added in the True Stories collection – letterpress plates. WeR Memory Keepers has had these for a while and they have a special tool system that makes it all work beautifully, but… I do not have that tool system. I have a Big Shot that I use for my die-cutting and if I could make the plates work with what I already had, then that would make me very happy. It was actually far simpler than I imagined, and I love the look. Admittedly it is a look that is very difficult to show the detail in a photo, but I love it in person and it is definitely worth the extra step to just stamping, especially when it turned out to be so simple. Scroll down for those steps – the video covers the layout and then the letterpress plates are below with step by step photos.


It’s an ‘As It Happens’ video, so who knows what random tangent will turn up this time! Pretty sure I made it through without any grammar debates today.

scrapbook page with letterpress plates @ shimelle.com
All these pieces of patterned paper came from my scrap basket, which always feels like an accomplishment! It’s a mix of paper from True Stories plus October Afternoon (Travel Girl and 5 & Dime) and an old Studio Calico woodgrain. The embellishments include True Stories ephemera and stickers, Heidi Swapp gold foil stickers and epoxy word, Studio Calico sequins and map star stickers, stamps from October Afternoon Travel Girl, and gold rub-ons by My Mind’s Eye.

how to use letterpress plates with the big shot @ shimelle.com
I didn’t use any special supplies aside from the letterpress plates themselves. They come in a set with a background and several smaller pieces (images and sentiments). I also used watercolour paper, dye ink, and my Sizzix Big Shot with the tabbed base and two cutting plates.

how to use letterpress plates with the big shot @ shimelle.com
I set up the tabs and plates exactly the same as I would for thin metal dies: tab one on the base, one cutting plate, and the paper.

how to use letterpress plates with the big shot @ shimelle.com
Then ink the plates. The trick is to make sure there is no ink on that bordering edge, because it will hit the paper. I found dye ink easier for this because my pigment ink pads were all a bit spongy so made a real mess of the edges, but you could use pigment ink applied with a brayer or brush to keep the edges clean.

how to use letterpress plates with the big shot @ shimelle.com
Place the plates onto the watercolour paper. Make sure nothing moves so you get a clean impression.

how to use letterpress plates with the big shot @ shimelle.com
Top with the second cutting plate and run it through.

how to use letterpress plates with the big shot @ shimelle.com
You’ll end up with a beautifully inked and debossed accent for your project!

scrapbook page with letterpress plates @ shimelle.com
The plates can also be used without ink for a textured embellishment, like this heart.

Admittedly, it’s not quite how the system was designed to be used, but it works for me and I love the added detail on my page. I need to try that background plate next!

You can find the True Stories collection – including the letterpress plates – at Blue Moon Scrapbooking, Scrapbook.com, or your favourite crafting retailer.

11 June 2015



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10 Comments for How to use letterpress plates with the Big Shot (and a travel layout process video!)

  1. Paula Pascual Says:

    Excellent tutorial. One thing though, do you use tab 1 for thinner metal dies? Sizzix recommend Tab 2 plus two cutting plates (Tab 1 and two plates wont cut any wafer thin metal die). Unless you meant that you use the same sandwich for the letterpress as for embossing folders (Tab 1 plus two cutting plates). AsI dont have any of the letterpress from Studio Calico I cant check myself!
    Also, have you tried Versafine inkpads or even Brilliance? I found those to work really well with embossing folders even though they are pigment due to the nature of their pad not as spongy as other pigment pads.
    Thank you for a fab tutorial!

  2. Julie F Says:

    I was halfway through watching the video and I had to start setting up strips of paper to try this myself! Love it!

  3. Janette Says:

    Shimelle, I love absolutely everything you do (and if you could look through my albums you’d see just how often I’ve scrap-lifted you!) but I have to tell you that these “As It Happens” videos are my absolute favourites! I love listening to you ‘thinking out loud’ as it were, in addition to watching your actual process! (Makes me feel almost like I could be scrapping across the table from you – I wish!) Thanks for EVERYTHING you do for this hobby!

  4. maria s Says:

    Although I’m not a “letter-presser”, I really admire this l/o with all it’s pretty little strips of color and additions. (And of course, the photo!) And count me as another one who loves to hear you “think out loud”. Maria

  5. Wendy Says:

    Love, love, love all of your videos. Can you please tell me where you purchase your kraft cardstock? Thanks!

  6. Lisa-Jane Johnson Says:

    Big yay to the thinking out loud thing! Also – I don’t think bonkers is ever a word I would use to describe you but never say never. I talk to my stash when I’m scrapping as well as making little noises – I thought that was the norm… ;-)

  7. Gab Says:

    What a great photo – love the light at the bottom of it. And I love how you just cut and stick! You make it look so easy! And I can see all the smaller scraps being used on a card too with the same design.
    I really like how you signify WB’s age on each LO – such a great idea!
    I also really like how you used the stamps to make a border.
    Great use of the letter press plates too – I didn’t know you could use them in a normal die cutter so maybe now I need to order them!
    Thank you so much for taking the time to do these ‘as it happens’ videos – I love the little peek over your shoulder!

  8. Miascraps Says:

    Love how you bring it all together! Great photo…awesome combo of your stash. Bonkers….now there’s a word I have not heard used out loud in quite awhile. Fun!

  9. Maddie Says:

    Sooooo needed this video today! Thank you! Love everything about this page. Which scissors do you use/recommend please?

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