USING MECHANICAL HAND IMPRESSION TOOLS
When the term “embossing” is used, most people think of using a press of some sort to lift an image on a chosen medium (paper, cloth and metal). This is true, but not the only method for scrapbookers–see “Wet Heat Embossing.“
For this article we will focus our attention on the mechanical method of embossing–using tools to add the relief and rise to our images. For simplistic sake, what you envision in your mind when we talk about embossing, is the raised seal you see notary public’s affix to their signature using a hand crimping tool. This is the process–simple, huh?
In most instances where a mechanical tool is used, hand held or not, there are two facets to the embosser of importance that make it work. It usually requires a metal die and a receiver for the die, which could be another soft substrate, or metal. In the case of metal dies there are two of them: one is a “female” and the other a “male” that fit together when pressure is applied to them using leverage via the hand held crimper.
The dies are the most important part of the embossing process. They are made of several materials. Generally brass dies are the most expensive, because the last so long and provide high quality results. The other two metals used in top end dies are copper and magnesium. Each provide good impression, but have less life to them. This evaluation is based more on their commercial use. Crafters would likely not wear out any of these from use. The newer embossing systems, however, can use plastic or synthetic materials. They give good impressions too, but not the same as metal.
These embossers are generally easy to operate. One of their limitations, however, is based on the where you plan to place your impression on the paper or card . . . they don’t extend onto a sheet of paper very far. On larger sheets of paper you may have to emboss a smaller piece of paper and then affix it to your page because most embossers lack the ability to insert paper or cards in the middle of the page or card–usually only an inch or two is allowable. Also, they require different dies to emboss different designs. Part of the versatility comes from being able to change the die inserts to get different designs. When purchasing these hand held embossing tools, pick die designs you favor and feel you will use most frequently as your first purchases. This will help reduce your scrapping costs. Some do not have interchangeable inserts, so be careful what you purchase.
Let’s consider the other three methods of embossing besides the “hand impression” method noted about. (Click on one of the three embossing processes noted below to learn more specific details of each method.)
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