Heat Embossing - How to use Embossing Powder

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What do I need?

  • A Heat Tool (Heat Gun)  works similarly to a hairdryer in that it blows hot air. There the similarity ends, though. Heat guns don't blow so much as hairdryers, and they are extremely hot! Don't try to use a hairdryer for embossing - it will blow all the powder away, and NEVER try to dry your hair with a heat gun - you will burn yourself badly!
  • Embossing Powder was originally made for the printing industry to use in thermal printing machines, and melts to give a raised, glossy finish most used in the printing of greeting cards, fancy letterheads etc, and for printing braille.  Crafters have grasped it's decorative uses, and more powders are becoming available to us these days.
  • Pigment Ink Pad and Rubber Stamp or Embossing Ink Pen to draw your design. The powder needs pigment ink to stick to as it is slower drying and tacky - dye ink dries too quickly.
  • Card to put your design on. Heavier card will work better as it will not distort from the heat of the gun. When using lighter card, you can minimise distortion by applying heat to both the back and the front of the design alternately.



How is it done?

  • Stamp or draw your image with either a pigment ink or an embossing ink pen. 
  • Quickly cover the whole image generously with Embossing Powder before the ink starts to dry.
  • Pour off the excess Embossing Powder and return the excess to the pot.
  • If you have stray flecks of powder around the design, use a clean paintbrush to brush it off.
  • Hold the gun approximately 15 -20cm away from the image, and keep it moving gently around whilst the powder melts. On larger images, work a smaller area at a time, and move the gun away as soon as the powder has melted.

The heat produced by the gun is not just warm, it's HOT! If you need to work on a surface, make sure it's heatproof. Don't do your embossing on a cutting mat - it will warp the mat. Card - sized pieces can usually be done by holding the piece in mid air, but hold well away from the design. NEVER point the gun whilst on towards yourself or anyone else.

Watching it turn is like magic! :)   It goes from powder to liquid and then hardens quite quickly.           


Voila!       A finished, raised, glossy design.

Any top tips?

Avoiding touching the card before embossing will minimise grease from fingerprints picking up stray powder. Rubbing an anti-static cloth or pouch over the card before stamping will also help.

You could decant your powder into a larger tray, e.g. a tupperware box, and hold your work over this whilst spooning powder over the image.

You may find it easier to work over a large scrap piece of paper which can then be pinched to funnel the excess powder back into the pot.

When you need to heat small pieces, use a gluestick to temporarily fix them to something bigger to hold, or hold them with long reach tweezers.

Play and experiment! - mix powders, mix glitter with powders and see what happens. Add more powder whilst the first layer is still liquid and heat again. Sprinkle Micro Beads, seed beads, etc. onto the melted powder before it hardens.

Happy Crafting!

Michelle :)

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