Category Archives: Heat Embossing

A Guide to Heat Embossing

Embossing is a great way to enhance card or craft projects by giving a stamped image, or even a hand drawn image for the more artistic of you, a shiny raised finish. Embossing can also be known as heat embossing or thermal embossing. Heat embossing is not to be confused with the technique of making a raised or depressed impression in paper with a stylus tool that is also sometimes called embossing but does not involve heat.

Items you will need to start heat embossing are:

Rubber Stamp & Ink Pad – An embossing or pigment ink pad, coloured or clear depending on what powder you choose. Slow drying ink is a must for embossing to ensure the powder sticks to the wet ink.
OR instead of the stamp & ink pad you could choose an Embossing Pen – A clear or coloured ink pen depending on what powder you choose. These pens contain slow drying ink designed specifically for embossing.
Embossing Powder – Clear or coloured depending on what ink colour you choose.
Embossing Heat Tool – This is a specially designed tool that gets very hot to melt the embossing powder.
For safety reasons we would recommend that you do not use a heat source that is not designed for this specific task i.e. An iron could be dangerous and would not produce a good result and a hair dryer does not get hot enough and the powder is simply blown away.

How to produce an embossed image:

  1. Stamp or draw an image with a slow drying ink, such as embossing ink, pigment pads or embossing pens.
  2. Add embossing powder to the wet image.
  3. Remove excess powder from the card / project by shaking or tapping it off onto a spare sheet of paper, later you can put the excess powder back into the powder pot.
  4. Lastly apply heat with an embossing heat gun moving the heat gun evenly back and forth over the image from a distance of approximately 3 inches away. Take care not to leave the gun in one place too long or you can scorch the paper and overheat the powder. Once the powder has evenly melted to a shiny finish remove the heat and leave to cool down.

You can either stamp your image using a clear ink pad or draw/write your image using a clear ink pen and use coloured embossing powder over the top or you can use a coloured ink pad and use clear powder over the top. If you are new to embossing, it would probably be a good idea to start by using a coloured ink and use a clear embossing powder over the top as it is harder to overheat the clear powder. Also if you do happen to leave any excess powder on the project then it will show up less.

Other types of embossing powder :
Detail Powder – This is suitable for use with stamps that have finer detail, the finer granulation of this type of powder ensures the intricate detail of the design is kept.
Embossing Enamel – This powder is sometimes also known as UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel). It has a thicker granulation which is ideal for building up thicker layers for a more enameled look to the finished design. You can make the finished design more pronounced by adding two or three layers. If you are quick enough you can add the next layer of powder as soon as you’ve finished heating the previous layer as it should stick to the hot image, if not you simply add more ink on top of the image and apply the powder before re-heating.

Helpful Tips

  1. To make it a bit easier to remove excess powder lightly dust over the surface to be embossed with a small amount of talcum powder on a cotton wool ball, then stamp or draw your image and apply the embossing powder. Excess powder should then tap off easily.
  2. If any excess powder still remains you can use a small soft bristle brush to carefully remove the excess from around the design before heating it up.
  3. Finally, practice a few times on a spare sheet of paper before trying it on a proper project and you should soon be really pleased with your results!

Technique guide written by Janine