How to Heat Emboss: Tips and Tricks for Embossing
After seeing a few embossing videos on Instagram, I decided I just had to try embossing. There’s something magical about heating the embossing powder and seeing it bloom before your eyes. So I decided I had to share the magic. To learn the ins and outs of heat embossing, read on.
What is heat embossing?
Heat embossing is a technique that adds texture and dimension to stamps, hand lettering, and more. In general, you stamp or write with a special ink, sprinkle embossing powder over the design, and heat it to create the raised effect. Embossing powders are available in many colors to create different effects. You can get them in sets or purchase them individually. Embossing powders come in super fine (for detailed designs) or regular. My favorite powders to use are white, clear, and gold.
Materials Needed to Emboss
- Embossing ink (one of the options below)
- Embossing powder
- Heat tool
- Used dryer sheet or anti-static pad
- Small paintbrush
- Paper (a thicker cardstock or coverstock will work the best)
How to Heat Emboss
First, you’ll need to make sure the embossing powder only sticks where you want it to. Did you know paper can have static? This static makes the powder stick in non-inked places, leaving little specks of embossing powder where you don’t want it. To eliminate static, there are a few tools you can use.
- Run a used dryer sheet over your paper several times to lessen the static.
- Rub an anti-static pad over your paper.
- Make your own static-remover by following this video tutorial (I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve seen several other crafters recommend similar methods for DIY anti-static pouches).
Once your paper is static-free, you’re ready to emboss. This next step will vary depending on the kind of ink you use.
If you decide to use a stamp pad and stamps: Ink your stamp like you normally would, making sure that the ink covers the whole stamp. Press the stamp firmly down on the paper and carefully lift to leave behind the inked design.
If you decide to use the embossing pens or brush marker: Use the marker like you would a normal marker. The Versamark brush pen has a dual tip with the brush tip on one side and a bullet tip on the other. I generally go back and trace over the thin lines (upstrokes) because the embossing powder doesn’t always stick perfectly the first time. (If you want to know more about how to create brush lettering to use for embossing or otherwise, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Brush Lettering.)
If you decide to use liquid ink: Dip your brush into the ink and draw or write with it to create your desired pattern.
Now that your pattern, design, or words are inked, you’re ready to emboss. Pour the embossing powder over the ink, taking care to cover the whole design. Tip: Use super fine embossing powder if your pattern has small details. Pour the powder off onto a plate, back into the original container, or into a new container. Tap the back of the paper to remove the excess powder. If there is any stray powder that you don’t want on your design, use a small paintbrush to remove the powder.
Plug in your heat tool and let it run until it has heated up. Hold the heat tool about 6″ away from your paper. (Depending on your heat tool, you may need to hold it closer. Start further away and then bring it closer if you need to.) The embossing powder will melt, leaving a shiny raised version of your design. Once one part of the design begins to melt, make sure you move your heat tool to the next part to make sure powder doesn’t bubble or the paper doesn’t discolor.
Let the paper cool and add other details to your project if you desire.
To see this process in action for each of the methods, check out the videos below: