Just bought a Cuttlebug and not sure how to use it?

You aren’t alone. The instructions are not very detailed, and that’s a bit of an understatement.

Don’t give in to disappointment. You’re itching to get started but this quick guide compiled by Katy at Crafternoon Treats includes best-pick YouTube video tutorials to get you on the right track.

A great place to start

If you’ve just unpacked your Cuttlebug, watch this excellent 2 minute introduction to using the Cuttlebug as a diecutting machine and embossing machine from CraftALotAustralia.

How the Cuttlebug works

The Cuttlebug is a manual diecutting and embossing machine. This means it doesn’t plug in or need batteries, you do the work by cranking the handle.

The basic principle of the Cuttlebug is the same as an old-fashioned mangle. You make a sandwich using the A and the two B plates provided and mangle this through the machine. As it goes through, the roller inside the machine puts the plates under quite a bit of pressure. This forces the blades of the diecutter through your paper or cardstock, or it impresses the design on your embossing plate.

To get it to work properly depends on getting the thickness of the sandwich right and putting all the components in the right order.

When I first started using a die cutting machine, I was so busy concentrating on the order of the plates that I forgot to put the paper in a couple of times. If you do this don’t worry, even when you do put paper in your plates get scratched and often get an impression of the diecut. That’s normal and your plates will be fine, you can run them through literally hundreds of times before they get too worn to use.

Cuttlebug dies

If you’ve not used dies before, the different kinds can be a bit of a mystery. You can use your Cuttlebug with all Cuttlebug dies and most other brands of diecut too. Your machine comes with an extra plate, a C plate, which you need to use with very thin dies.

This video (7 minutes 3 seconds) from Christina Thomas explains how to use the Cuttlebug dies first (the Provocraft ones). Christina then explains how to use other brands, including the Sizzix Framelits thin dies. She also uses an embossing folder from Tim Holz, dies from Nestabilities (which she then embosses with an edge using a thin rubber sheet and two lightweight card shims) and the Sizzix extra large dies or Sizzix Originals dies. Finally, she shows how to diecut  medium weight chipboard, which is much thicker than cardstock.

Experimenting with your Cuttlebug

Embossing acetate

Try embossing a transparent acetate sheet or a ribbon as shown in this video from Jennifer McGuire (just 1 minute 33 seconds).

Cutting out felt

Cut some shapes out of felt using diecutters in the Cuttlebug – this video by Stephanie Dawson demonstrates this in just 2 minutes and 9 seconds.

Colouring and embossing with an inkpad

You can also try inking up an embossing folder so that you can colour and emboss cardstock or paper at the same time. Use water-based ink stamps though, so that it washes off the embossing folder easily afterwards. This video is a bit longer, but it does show different techniques and effects.