WET or HEAT EMBOSSING
If you already know the basics of rubber stamping, then half your education in this process is complete.
For those of you who are not familiar with stamping, we suggest our quick course to learn about:
If, however, you feel well versed and experienced at rubber stamping, you can get started now to learn about this fun and useful embossing technique. You will surely add to your embellishing capabilities when you are finished. Remember this is a basics overview, but should give you enough information to get you started.
Heat embossing can turn a very ordinary stamped image into a stunning dimensional work of art. You can do this with the help of embossing powders and a heat source–usually a heat gun. Because of the versatility of this technique, you expand the breadth and scope of your ability to embellish your scrapbook pages and cards. With the right embossing powder you can get different finished images: glittery, matte, glossy or iridescent. You’ll need to experiment a little to find what suits you.
Supplies Needed to Get Started
- Rubber stamps you want to use on your project.
- Paper to stamp on – and extra paper to hold the excess embossing powder you shake off.
- Ink(s) in ink pad(s) – one color only is recommended to begin.
- A heat source – preferably a heat gun.
- Small brush – a small artist paint brush works well to help remove excess embossing powder.
- Anti-static medium.
The Heat Embossing Process
The paper you want to stamp and emboss may be loaded with static, which means embossing powder could end up sticking to areas where you don’t want it. To help eliminate some of this static, wipe your paper with an anti-static medium first–before you get started stamping. A fabric softener sheet works well, but there are products at craft stores you can purchase that also take care of this problem.
If you are using a heat gun as your heating source, having it plugged in and warming up will help speed your embossing process. There is more on heating further on in the article. One word of caution: don’t let your heat gun sit too long unused, or you may burn up your heating element. If you find you’re taking longer to get to the heat process than you planned, unplug or turn off your heat heater (this is if you are using a heat gun).
This is a good point to talk a little bit about what inks to use, their benefits and short comings. You can use most any wet/damp ink, but those that dry the slowest give you the most time to work with your powder and image.
- Dry based ink, while usable, dries quickly. This means you have to work quickly–maybe too quickly to allow you to get your stamped image adequately covered with embossing powder and get your heat applied.
- Pigment based (colored) inks work well. They do not dry as fast. The color of the ink isn’t as important because if you are using colored embossing powder, the powder’s color will become the dominant color–so choose wisely the embossing powder colors you prefer for your project(s).
- Pigment free (colorless) inks also work well, and give your embossing powder a more true color once it is heated and melted because the only color showing will be that of the powder–again, choose your powder colors well. These are often referred to as embossing inks. They, too, dry slowly.
- Watercolors and colored markers don’t work. Markers dry too fast, and watercolors are too wet–don’t dry fast enough and spread out too much.
With your rubber stamp and ink chosen, you are ready to begin. Place the rubber stamp you’ve chosen onto the stamp pad. Load your stamp up good…moving is up and down on your ink pad a few times to help ensure good coverage on your stamp. Place the inked stamp onto your paper, page or card where you want it. Press down firmly, but don’t wiggle the stamp around or you could get smudges and ink where you don’t want it . . . you could obliterate fine points of your stamp image with the movement. Lift the stamp straight up from your paper or card stock.
Next, take the embossing powder you have wisely selected and sprinkle it generously over the entire stamped image area. When you feel there is sufficient powder covering your image, lift up the stamped paper or card and pour off the excess power onto an extra sheet of paper–to be poured back into the powder jar. You could skip the extra paper part and pour it directly back in to the jar, but you have other things to do before your ink dries, so go the extra paper route to help speed the finishing–heat process.
Use your paint brush to brush off any powder that continues to stick on your paper/card where you don’t want it. Once you apply your heat, it will become a permanent item on your page . . . so be forewarned.
With a heat gun (already warmed-up and ready to go) move the heat gun–keeping it an inch or two above your image. You may need to play with the distance from your powder. You want it to melt, but not burn your paper/card. Apply even heat to the image. The heat will melt the powder making it shiny, creating an elegant raised image of your stamp.
If you don’t have a heat gun (a preferred method):
- You can use a bread toaster–on high heat setting with the handle down to turn the toaster on. Move your stamped paper/card over the toaster’s top–WITH THE POWDERED IMAGE SIDE UP. Keep your paper/card moving, and be prepared to lift it up away from the heat to avoid scorching as needed. The process is complete when all of the embossing powder is melted.
- You could also use a hot plate, electric light or electric stove burner. Just follow the same process and cautions as for the toaster method above.
- DON’T USE A HAIR DRYER. In addition to having a blower that will spread your powder everywhere, they generally don’t give off the heat needed to melt the embossing powders (200 – 300°).
Recommended hand held embossing heater guns:
Beware that all heating tools are subject to burning out. If they get over heated for too long you could ruin the heating element. Be sure and read the manufactures instructions and safety rules thoroughly before using your heat gun. Also, keep the heat gun away from items that could burn or scorching.
All of the tools recommended are available at Joann.com! And at other craft and scrapbook stores. They run around $18 – $25 a piece.
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