Earlier this year I saw embossing displacers (also called diffusers) for sale at different crafting stores. The idea is that one of the plates you use in your embossing machine sandwich is replaced with a plate of equal size that's got a shaped hole in it. Wherever the hole is, the embossing folder won't emboss. Similarly, if you use the cut out shape, you can emboss ONLY where the shape is.
I wanted to see if I could make my own embossing displacers before I bought some and finally got around to trying this. My problem with the store bought ones is that you're stuck with the hole in whatever position the manufacturer put the hole in (because the plates are made to a specific size you can't put them anywhere. So if there's an oval at the bottom of the panel you can make your hole at the bottom or the top, not the sides because the plate won't fit through your machine that way (they're longer than they are wide, unless your card is short enough to go through sideways. Similarly you can't put the hole at the center of the card without running your card through the machine a few times making sure your circle is in the same place as you point it up and then down to get the embossing all around). Anyway, I thought if I could make my own panels I could do any design I wanted (circle, oval, heart, etc.) anywhere I wanted on my page.
So I took a heavy piece of cardboard and cut out a circle using a craft knife. I also wanted to see if I'd need to cut the circle into all my pieces or just have it one piece thick with a full piece of cardboard behind it. I ended up cutting circles out of two pieces of cardboard to make sure the image would be deep enough to not interfere with the embossed area.
My hope was that if it worked I could set up a system where all I'd need to change for displacing would be the top layer (the one that goes next to the embossing folder).
Well, it worked. I used the panel with the hole to emboss a piece of white cardstock, and the two cut out circles to emboss the blue. As you can see, there's a segment where each one has not been embossed.
I used a Sizzix Christmas set 3 embossing folder for the cards. When you place these in the machine, you have to sandwich it so that the hole/shape is next to your embossing folder with the solid parts towards the top.
My design may not be as crisp in definition as the professional ones (I haven't seen any in person so I don't know if they are or not) but they look pretty good. I can see doing hearts and embossing them in specific areas on the page for a Valentine's or Anniversary card...
Here are all the layers I used for the displacer. In order to emboss you need your displacer to be the same width as the top plate you'd normally use. The first photo is all my layers next to my Bigshot top plate. I ended up with two circles (or cut out circles), two other pieces of heavy cardboard and two shims of thin cardboard (the stuff you get from pantyhose packages). You may have to experiment with the width depending on the cardboard you use and your machine.
Check back tomorrow to see the first of the finished cards.