Heat embossing uses powders that are melted on the paper to create a raised image. There are a variety of powders for heat embossing. Most produce a shiny image, though some combination powders have colors that melt at different rates and appear quite nice "in the rough" (verdigris is an example). Note whether the powder you have selected is regular, ultra fine, or ultra thick. Regular embossing powder is the all-purpose embossing powder. Ultra fine powder is excellent for art stamps, calligraphy, or other free-hand line drawing. Use ultra-thick powders to get a tiled or crackled glass effect. You will find embossing powders in many colors--matte, opalescent, glitter, metallics, or just use clear powder over colored inks.
What you will need:
Scrap paper or tidy tray
Anti-static powder (talc--baby powder--will do) or a fabric softener sheet
Paper or cardstock
Pigment or Embossing Ink
Small Brushes or toothpick
Fold your scrap paper in half to capture excess embossing powder if you do not have a tidy tray. Dust the paper you will stamp with an anti-static powder (you can frequently skip this step with bold-imaged stamps, but do not try to skip this on finely lined stamps) (you can rub a softener sheet on the paper also). Ink your stamp with pigment ink (dye inks may work with glossy stock, but will dry too quickly on matte papers) and stamp on some scrap paper before you use your project paper. Sprinkle embossing powder over stamped image. Tap excess powder off stamped paper and onto scrap paper or tidy tray, then tap excess back into powder container. If necessary, use small paint brush or toothpick to remove the rest of excess powder. Heat the powder with the heat tool until it melts--try not to overheat, or the powder, and paper, will burn. Brush off any excess anti-static material. Color in project with pencils, paints, or chalks, or leave as is!
Try mixing small quantities of your embossing powders together with other powdered pigments to create new colors. Why buy orange embossing powder if you can mix your yellow and red to get the effect you want? This is also a great way to add Pearl Ex powder to achieve a shimmer look.
Dry embossing produces a subtle, but sophisticated appearance. Dry embossing uses a burnisher to raise the surface of the paper by burnishing a design on the paper using templates. Metal templates work the best, but you may also use the plastic templates designed for stenciling. You may wish to add paint, pencil, or other embellishments or leave it plain.
What you will need:
Light Box or Window
Tape your template on a window or light box. Position your paper over the template and tape it securely with a removable tape. Rub the surface with some waxed paper so your burnisher won't catch on the paper and tear it. If your paper is very heavy or brittle, wipe a damp cloth over the paper to soften it a bit. Use the burnisher to gently press the paper into the template. Use the large tip for large areas and the smaller tip for smaller parts of the design.
Add color to your stenciled design by leaving the stencil in place and using a small stencil brush to rouge or stipple color onto your paper. Try dyes, pigments, chalks, and acrylics--whatever coloring tools you have! Be sure you do not have excess paint or pigment on your stencil brush--otherwise there the color may run under the stencil holes.
You can emboss on all kinds of surfaces--including metal! Using special foil embossing tools you can emboss metal embellishments for your paper craft projects.
Dry Embossing with Vellum
Collecting the Materials
For this technique you will need a number of specific items. They include vellum paper, a piece of paper (ideally a Post-It note that is sticky on the back), your favorite stamp image, dye ink, a soft surface and a stylus. Once you have those materials, you are ready to start.
To begin, stamp an image on a sticky or “Post-It” note using dye ink. Let the ink dry completely so you don't transfer any color to the vellum. Next, place the stamped note onto a spongy but firm surface, such as a piece of fun foam or the backside of a mouse pad. Lay the vellum over the stamped image. Using a stylus or cuticle stick, trace your stamped design using even pressure. As you work through the process, you will see the vellum turn white.
Turn the vellum over and you will see your raised image! You have done dry embossing.
The Next Level
Now that you have done a basic dry embossed image, you can go a little further. You can fill in areas for a solid look, or just leave the outline. You can also retract areas that did not’t work as well and touch up or add little extras as you like. Be sure to experiment.
For words, stamp the letters or messages on the backside of the sticky note (the “sticky” side), place it right side up on the foam surface, and trace. That way, your letters show up in the proper direction.
Once you have a dry embossed piece you are happy with, you are ready to mount your piece to cardstock to show off the frosty details. Ideally, you should use a rich color for your card in order to best highlight the embossed image.
Use clear embossing powder and colored inks or clear emboss ink to protect your underlying paper or stamped image. Now stamp, stencil or use a direct-to-paper pigment application and buff off the embossed areas. This produces a very dramatic appearance. You can make more than one layer, adding complexity to your image.
You may want to try clear resist ink to make images "pop out" on the paper. Use a stamp, stencil or texturizer to apply clear resist ink to glossy paper (stamp or brayer other colors before clear resist ink for a more complex layering), then quick dry with a heat tool. After the clear resist ink is dry, apply ink over the paper. This will give you the same effect as you get when you write your name on an Easter Egg before coloring it in the dye!