Heat embossing is one of my favorite techniques for adding dimension and texture to a project. It’s a process that intimidates many, which is why I’m here today. Read on as we break down each step and give you lots of helpful tips for mastering the art of heat embossing.
Let’s start at the basics. What is heat embossing? So glad you asked. It’s the process of curing (or melting) a a special powder to create a raised image on a surface. To heat emboss at home, you’ll need a few supplies:
You can heat emboss any stamp, including clear, wood mounted, and rubber cling stamps. Images or sentiments with fine lines and lots of detail may not appear as crisp as when stamped with just ink.
A juicy ink pad is key to stamping an image that’s ready to emboss. You want an ink that won’t dry quickly to let the powder stick to the image. My personal favorite is VersaMark Watermark, a clear ink that will not be visible under the powder. You can also use pigment or hybrid inks, such as Distress Oxide, VersaColor, or ColorBox.
A black, white, and clear are great essentials for starting your collection of embossing powders. Clear powder can be poured over colored ink which makes it a versatile product. If you end up loving this technique as much as I do, you can add metallics, tinsels, and other specialty powders.
Most powders are opaque, allowing you to emboss over dark cardstock and patterned paper. Once cured, it will be permanent and smear-proof. This allows you to emboss on materials like canvas, acetate, vellum, and so much more.
A heat tool designed for embossing is essential. Sorry, friends, but a hair dryer will not work (it’s not hot enough and blows more air than needed). This tool ranges from $15-30 and may seem like an investment. You’ll find yourself reaching for it to heat dry lots of other mediums — And nothing works better for quick and flawless embossing.
There are a few optional supplies I can’t live without. Let’s take a look at those:
A static pouch or powder tool eliminate static and moisture from the surface. You’ll quickly find out that the powder will stick to more than ink, such as oil left from fingers. Rubbing this onto your surface is a great way to prep it for easy, fool-proof embossing.
This plastic tray eliminates the mess that comes with pouring powder onto a sheet of paper or other makeshift funnel. It’s designed to work with embossing powder, and makes clean up a breeze. I never emboss without it.
Now that we’ve covered all the supplies, just how do you use them?
- Rub the pouch or powder tool over surface to eliminate any static or moisture.
- Apply embossing ink to your stamp, and press down on prepped surface.
- Sprinkle embossing powder over image, tap off excess into tray, and return excess powder to jar. Use a small paintbrush to remove any unwanted flecks of powder.
- Use a heat tool to cure powder. To do this, allow the tool to heat up for 5-10 seconds. Place the tool above the powder, and watch as the powder melts. As it melts, move onto the next piece of stamped design. // Avoid moving the tool in large circles and heating the entire image at once. By holding the tool steady in one spot, the powder will quickly melt. Moving it around will warm up all the spots slowly, forcing the tool to be on longer, and you risk burning the paper.
- Allow the powder to cool for a few seconds before touching. If still warm, you risk smearing the melted powder.
After completing the steps above, you’ll have a beautiful, raised image ready for your project. If you haven’t dove into the world of heat embossing yet, we hope you’ll give it a try. It’s a quick process that will transform your images and stretch your stamps.