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Embossing With A Heat Tool

Learn how to get started with embossing using a heat tool.

Heat embossing is a technique for creating a raised design on paper crafts. It uses an embossing heat gun to heat special embossing powder, which creates a wonderful raised texture and shine that is permanent.

This short video explains it, but read on if you prefer just text!

Materials for Heat Embossing

  1. Stamp(s): Any rubber stamp will do, but just note that extremely detailed ones don’t emboss well. You can use a pre-carved Lino stamp, which you can read about creating in this blog.

  2. Thick paper, such as cardstock.

  3. Pigment Ink or Embossing Ink: This is a slow drying ink that will hold embossing powder until you are ready to heat it with a heat gun.

  4. Embossing Powder: Looks like glitter, but this is a special powder that will melt and rise when heated

  5. Heat Gun: Gently blows very hot air that will melt embossing powder. Be careful not to touch any metal tips of heat guns.

  6. Sheet of scrap paper to put underneath your cardstock: to catch excess powder.

Get started with Heat Embossing!

1. Ink your stamp with the embossing ink pad, then stamp the image onto your paper.

Make sure entire surface of the stamp is covered with the ink. Thick paper works best as it is more durable and less likely to curl, but you can experiment with papers like vellum, too! You want to use an embossing ink pad as opposed to a regular ink pad because the embossing ink does not dry as quickly. This allows you time to sprinkle your powder so it sticks to the ink, and you will get a sharper raised image as well. Clear embossing ink is the most popular, but you can use any other color; the stamped image will take on the same color as the embossing powder, not the ink.

2. Once you have stamped your image, sprinkle a generous amount of embossing powder on it.

Embossing powder comes in a variety of colors. You can use clear embossing powder if your aim is just to give your paper some texture, or select any available color for a beautiful stamped image. This card features gold embossing powder. Make sure the image is completely covered. Dump excess embossing powder back into the container. You can do this by shaking the powder gently onto a sheet of computer paper, rolling it up, and creating a funnel back into the jar. Make sure there are no stray flecks of powder on the card where they shouldn't be. You can even use a small detail brush to dust them off, taking care not to brush the stamped image.

3. Use your heat gun to heat emboss the image.

This is the fun part! Watch the stamped image change before your eyes. If you have stamped your image on a smaller piece of paper, you will want to hold the paper with tongs when you heat the image so you don't burn your hand. You'll also want to move the heat gun across the paper so you do not burn the paper from holding it in the exact same spot too long. Think of moving a hair dryer across your hair; if you hold it in one space too long, you'll burn your scalp! Hold the heat gun about three to six inches from the paper and a perpendicular angle so it is focused directly on the image, not angled as though to blow the powder away. Pass the gun across the paper until the stamped image changes: you should be able to see the powder set into a clear and shiny raised line. The powder will go from a dull finish to a very glossy one signaling you that your embossing is done. Note: You can overheat the embossing. If your embossed image is cracking use less time to heat. If your embossing is uneven or still powdery you need to apply more heat to melt the powder.

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