Monday, March 2, 2009

Embossing 101

There have been alot of questions about embossing techniques so I thought I would take some time to explain some of them to you in pictures so it will be easier to understand.
There are many embossing products and colors on the market and it was so hard for me to choose so I bought them all! Well, maybe not all of them but I am pretty close! This is my collection of glittery embossing powders. Aren't they puuuuuurdy? The glittery powders add that special touch to fairy wings to make them sparkly arkly.

These are the non-sparkly embossing powders. They also come in some pretty colors including gold and silver. I should tell you I got all of these at JoAnns but you can find them at most craft stores.

These smaller tubes of embossing powders come in a package of 12 pastel or bold colors. Judging by the amounts in some of the tubes you can tell that I use these alot. I have heard from some that they don't really care for these types but I have not had a problem with them.

And then there are the clear or transparent embossing powders. The clear can be use in any number of ways all with a different effect. After I go through the rest of my embossing arsenal, I will show you a couple of examples.

I recommend the VersaMark or Top Boss embossing pads. They seem to be working the best for me but you may have tried something that works better for you and that is fine. I don't think there is much difference in what the embossing pads can do. There are also these really cool things called embossing pens and an Embossing Buddy that I will go into further down the list.

One very important tool for embossing is some kind of handle to hold your card so you don't burn your fingers with the heat gun. I use a pair of tweezers or a jewelry tool with a flat edge. When you are using your heat gun, turn the heat gun on and let it run for a few seconds so it can heat up before applying it to your embossed image. This will prevent alot of the embossing powder from blowing off before it can be melted. After your heat gun is hot, hold it about 8-10 inches away from the image and slowly bring it closer, moving the heat gun side to side so you don't melt your embossing powder too much where it will absorb into the paper. As soon as you see it turn shiny, move the heat gun away from the area that has melted and wait for it too cool off before touching it. The hot embossing powder will stick to your skin and burn if you touch it too soon.

So here is the first demo. This is a dark colored card that I have stamped with the embossing pad. I am dipping the stamp in the clear embossing powder.

As the heat gun melts the clear embossing powder, the image will appear darker but in the same color as the card that it is stamped on.

I have also done this on an orange card so you can see two different outcomes with the clear powder.

This next demo is using a colored ink pad and the clear embossing powder. The best ink to use for this technique is a pigment ink because it takes longer to dry. I would recommend dipping the ink in the embossing powder as quickly as possible so more of the powder will stick to the image.

As the clear embossing powder melts, it becomes the color of the ink pad.

This little item is great for your embossing powders because it makes it easy to pour the powder back into the bottle. I believe this tray is used for jewelry making so you will probably find it in the jewelry section of the craft store. A thick paint brush helps to get all of the grains of the powder into the bottle.

And then we have the embossing pens. These work great when you have missed a spot and you can fill it in with the fine tip or the thicker tip of the pen. They also work great if you want to write and emboss.

This is a total 'must have' when embossing. It is called the Embossing Buddy. I got mine at Stampin Up! but I have seen them around at craft stores. An alternative to use is a used dryer sheet but I still insist that the Embossing Buddy works best.

It looks like a rosin bag for bowling or baseball and the powder inside keeps the embossing powder from being distributed on the card where you don't want it to be. Just swipe it across the paper and apply your image dipped in the embossing pad.

I apologize for the blurry image but I tried to get close to the card so you can see the difference in the cards. The card on the left I used the Embossing Buddy on and the card on the right I did not. You can see some of the red embossing powder residue left on the card on the right.

If you do get some of the embossing powder on your card where you don't want it, I small paint brush will help to brush it off before you heat it.

Someone had asked me once why my embossing lines come out so smooth and the key is to use embossing for thin lines rather than a large area. Again I apologize for the blurry picture but you can see that at large concentrated area that is embossed will look like it has bubbles or pot marks because the embossing powder doesn't melt evenly.
These are a few of the basic techniques for embossing. I hope they were helpful. I will be demonstrating more in the future but these should be good to get you started. I hope you come back soon and check out more crafting techniques.


  1. Okay, I want to emboss something now. i do not think my powder is true embossing powder. I'm taking one of my 40% off Hobby Lobby coupons and going shopping.

    Thanks, Janet, Blooming Flowers

  2. Aha! The beading tray is brilliant and I am immediately re-designating mine as my embossing tray! Thanks, CFL- another Very Useful Tutorial.

    Lory- Poodle Dudes

  3. Might I also add - - - when borrowing one's husband's heat gun used for model airplane covering to emboss LTCs, do not use the defuser attachement. It makes the stream of air more powerful and splatters hot embossing powder all over one's dining room table. I'm just saying hypothetically. . . . .

    4ch, whose dining room table is a hand me down from the nirghbors whose guide dog trainee chewed up one leg. She refuses to get a nicer tables because this sort of hypothetical accident while doing art is not uncommon.

  4. Someone told me to heat from underneath; then the powder won't blow off!

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I learned some fine-tuning tips I hadn't thought of, such as how to use the embossing pen for touch-ups. Wish I hadn't already mailed that batch off today!

  5. I like the little tray - looks easier than the method I've been using. :o)