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How To Heat Emboss: Embossing For Beginners

If you're new to the crafting world, the process of how to heat emboss can be a little intimidating. We're here to break it all down for the novices, from what embossing it is, what materials to use and how to do it!

Embossing Definition: What is Embossing?

Embossing is the process of leaving a raised impression on a surface.

Different Types of Embossing

Embossing is a broad term that covers all the techniques to create a design in relief. Before we move on, let's go over the different types of embossing.

  • Dry Embossing: Dry embossing is the process of creating a raised impression by tracing a stencil with a stylus. Die embossing is a type of dry embossing using a die plate. The use of embossers is a great example of dry or die embossing. Embossers are a handheld device that embosses paper without the need for a die cutting machine or a professional printing service.
  • Heat Embossing / Wet Embossing: Heat embossing, also known as wet embossing, includes the use of (wet) embossing ink, embossing powder and a heat source. We will be showing you how to heat emboss today!

NOTE: Have you ever heard of debossing? Debossing is actually NOT embossing. It's the opposite! It creates a depression, or sunken design.

Heat Embossing Materials & Definitions

Study these terms, and you'll learn how to heat emboss in no time!

  • Rubber stamps: If you can stamp it, you can emboss it! Rubber stamps create the design that is to be embossed.
  • Ink pads: For embossing to work, you need to use a slow-drying ink with your rubber stamp to allow enough time for embossing powder to stick. You can use embossing ink (also known as watermark or resist ink), or pigment ink. Most dye ink pads won't work because they dry too quickly and won't retain enough powder.
  • Embossing powder: After stamping with the embossing ink, pour embossing powder over the impression. Embossing power gets melted down during the heating part of the embossing process and dries to reveal a glossy, raised impression. You can purchase different grain sizes for different effects: finer for more intricate stamps, and thicker for bold stamps. It also comes in a variety of styles: clear, glitter, matte and more.
  • Heating tool: A heating tool, also known as a heat gun or embossing gun, melts down the embossing powder. A hair dryer isn't interchangeable because it blows too much air and doesn’t get hot enough.
  • Paper: Heat embossing works on a wide variety of papers. However, the heavier the paper, the less it will curl or warp from the heat.
  • Anti-static tool: Anti-static tools remove static or oils from your paper so that the embossing powder doesn’t stick to areas that you don't want embossed.
  • Funnel: A funnel is what you use to catch any excess embossing powder in and put it back into its container. A piece of scrap paper creased down the middle works, or some people use coffee filters, embossing trays with a funnel & brush or glitter trays.
  • Paintbrush: Just in case you have a little bit of stray powder not where you want your impression, a small paintbrush is a good tool to delicately brush that away.
  • Embossing pens & markers: Instead of an ink pad, you can use embossing pens and markers to heat emboss as well. They work great for handwritten messages or intricate handmade details.
  • Embossing dabber: An embossing dabber is a bottle of embossing ink featuring a dauber top. Dabbers are great for applying ink to any sized stamp, as well as for resist embossing.
  • Tweezers: Tweezers can help you comfortably hold small pieces of paper while using the heat gun.

The Process: How To Heat Emboss

  1. Dab ink on your choice of stamp and press it down firmly on paper. Or, if you are using an embossing pen, write or draw your impression.
  2. Cover the impression with embossing power (over your funnel).
  3. Flick the back of the paper, and/or use the paintbrush to wipe away any excess powder. Put the powder back in its container.
  4. Turn on your heating tool and let it warm up for a few seconds. Hold the paper with tweezers if needed. Aim the heat towards the impression, always keeping it moving in small circles to help prevent burning. Watch as the powder melts down and becomes shiny.
  5. Allow to cool.

Have any questions on how to heat emboss? Comment below!

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