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Using Embossing Powders

For some reason, I had always thought it was complicated to use embossing powders. With some experimentation over the past year or so, some of it spurred by our monthly How Do I Use This? series, I have found that it is easy to use embossing powders — although it can be a little messy!

This post will feature a page that I worked on recently, which has a shell theme going on, because I am creating the backgrounds for pages that will be completed during my family beach vacation.

Supplies needed when using embossing powder

Above, my materials and tools:

  • Yellow foam printing mat — the “give” of the foam gives you the best results when rubber stamping, and is a necessity when using wooden printing blocks
  • Embossing stamp pad — this brand is tinted pink, which is supposed to help you by being visible (in my opinion, it doesn’t help so much!)…also pictured here is a re-inker
  • Embossing powder — this is a metallic brand from Ranger; embossing powders come in a wide variety of colors and textures
  • Rubber stamp
  • Pre-painted shipping tag to stamp on

Here are the easy steps to using embossing powders:

Embossing powder applied to wet stamped imprint, ready for heating

Stamp your image using a favorite rubber stamp and an embossing stamp pad. Rather than ink, these pads hold a type of glue that holds the embossing powder to your surface. Immediately shake the embossing powder over the wet stamped image (above, left). The powder will cling to the wet imprint of the stamp’s image. (right) Shake off extra embossing powder and return it to the container.

Embossed tag by Judy Gula

Move your tag or paper to a heat-resistant surface (do not use your heat tool on your foam mat). Heat the embossing powder imprint using the tool for a few seconds. You might find it helpful to use a skewer or some other kind of implement to keep your tag or paper in place. You will be able to see the embossing powder melt and fuse together (photo, right). Presto! Magic! It can be difficult to see in photos but metallic embossing powders melt into a wonderful shiny surface.

I think I might add some lighter color paint around the face to make it stand out or I could have stamped and embossed the image on text papers and them applied it to the tag. The ideas are limitless.

Embossed shells by Judy Gula

The fuchsia shell is a smooth embossing power, versus the green ‘bubble’ ribbon at the bottom, which is a Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder. After you heat that powder and let it cool, you rub the image with your fingers to remove special release crystals, giving you a worn and weathered look.

Detailed view of two different embossing powders used by Judy Gula

Above is a close up view of the two. Can you see the difference in the texture?

Embossed and collaged shell page by Judy Gula

The above photo uses the same stamp as the fuchsia shell, and the same type of embossing powder… but you can see that I pressed my stamp into the embossing pad too hard, leaving too much embossing “glue” on the stamp, and thus my image details are somewhat “blurry” and difficult to see. But still pretty — I think it looks like the shell is sandy!

Embossing powders were created to use on paper for the stamping/scrapbooking world, but can be used on different surfaces. So of course I have tried it on fabric! Below, the results on a blue cotton using a Pomegranate Halved wooden printing block and a gold metallic embossing powder

Judy Gula using a wooden printing block with embossing powders on fabric

The embossing powder has more of a tendency to cling to the fabric even without the ink adhesion…you can see a few stray marks in my sample. You can use a brush to try whisking them off.

Note that if you experiment with embossing on fabric, the material is not washable, but is wonderful used in an art quilt and or journals.

Posted in Family, Fiber, The Annex, Tutorial | 4 Replies

About Judy

I am a fiber person. I have been involved in fiber art since elementary school. After graduating college with majors in Fashion Design and Business Marketing, I have since learned to weave, sew, dye, stamp, quilt, bead. All those experiences and contacts have bought me to fiber art and mixed media through art quilts and my fiber jewelry. And I inherited the collector gene too - I enjoy hunting and gathering really cool stuff which the casual observer would think has outlived it's usefullness and use it in my art.

4 Comments to “Using Embossing Powders”

  1. Lea

    Hi! Enjoyed reading about the embossing. Could you please tell me where you got the “bubble ribbon” stamp that you embossed with the green distressed embossing powder. Do you have this image available for sale? It is VERY cool indeed. Thanks so much! 3D-Lea

    Reply
    • Judy Post author

      Lea, my apologies for not being able to completely recall! It is an unmounted stamp that has been in my collection for quite awhile…perhaps it was from Colorbox? I had it out at the last “How Do I Use This” demo night, and several people remarked on it too!

      Reply
    • Judy Post author

      We recently had a class where the instructor experimented with embossing on wood, and it worked beautifully. We think the key would be good coverage of the embossing medium getting into any holes or dips considering the texture of the cork. You might want to add more than one coat of the embossing powder too.

      Reply

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