I can still remember the awe I felt when I first learned how to heat emboss a design on my cards--that gorgeous, shiny, raised texture you saw on store-bought cards. Magical! And, who'da thunk we could achieve that effect so easily?!
Here are some tips & tricks for achieving great embossing results on your projects!
First, start by prepping your paper surface. I like to use an Embossing Magic Pouch to eliminate moisture, static cling, and any residual skin oils that my fingertips might have left behind on the paper surface. Simply pounce the pouch across your paper surface. Don't worry about the powdery residue; after you finish embossing, it can be easily cleaned off with a soft brush.
This initial step is a good strategy when embossing dark papers with white embossing powder, as it will help prevent stray embossing powder from sticking to unwanted areas and only to your stamped image.
You can ink and stamp your image with either Versamark ink or Ranger Distress Embossing ink (Distress Embossing Powder smells of cinnamon, which is kinda cool!); both of these are clear and contain glycerin, the ingredient that creates the "tack" that will hold the embossing powder to your paper surface while you melt the powder with your heat tool, fusing it to the paper.
Depending on what your desired effect is, the grind of embossing powder can make a difference. In the sample shown here, I used Hero Arts White Embossing Powder, which I love for its finer grind than most standard white embossing powders. It has a nice, opaque white finish and embosses evenly. Due to its finer grind, it often works very well for embossing sentiments, which can sometimes "blur" if the powder grind is more coarse.
Once you've applied the embossing powder and tapped off the excess (returning it to the jar for future use), double check for any stray flecks of embossing powder--sometimes, depending on your climate, you may still have a little static or humidity in the air that causes a few particles to cling despite your careful preparation; just flick them away with a small paint brush.
Pre-heat your heat tool; you want it to reach its maximum temperature before you begin embossing the powder. Start with the heat tool about 6" from the paper surface, bringing it just close enough to begin melting the powder. You want to see that granular powder become glossy and shiny and then quickly move onto another area. It often helps to tilt the project in the light to make sure all the embossing powder has melted and no longer appears grainy anywhere.
Take care not to over-heat the powder by getting too close or lingering too long; it is possible to scorch the paper and melt the powder so much it actually burns off the paper. Heat tools can exceed temperatures of 300 degrees; take precautions to protect your fingers/hands by using tweezers to grip/hold your project if it is somewhat small.
I'm often asked if a hair dryer will work for heat embossing; the answer is, "No." LOL! Hair dryers have too high an air flow, and do not reach high enough temperatures to melt the powder.
Once you've finished embossing, allow the project a few seconds to cool down, to avoid smearing the embossing. In some instances heat embossing can warp the paper somewhat. To combat this, there are several things you can try:
- "Warm" up the paper gradually with your heat tool, keeping it at a little further distance and then when the paper feels sufficiently warmed, move the heat tool in close enough to melt the powder
- Immediately after embossing, heat the opposite side with the heat tool to reverse the warping
- When completely cool, place the paper under some heavy books overnight to re-flatten it
- When all else fails, be a little more generous with your adhesive (and use a strong one, like Be Creative Tape!) when mounting the paper to another layer, taking care to cover the entire surface for the smoothest/flattest adhesion
Doesn't this cluster of roses look fabby?! I love the clean, crisp embossed effect!
It only takes a few extra steps to achieve professional looking results when embossing and I hope these tips have been helpful! If you have any other methods or tips that have worked for you, please chime in! We'd love to hear them!
Thanks for stopping by!
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