Thursday, August 21, 2008

Heat Embossing

One versatile technique used by stampers and scrapbookers alike is heat embossing. With just the basics of materials, you can create many different effects on your layouts, cards or altered books. To start, you will need the following supplies:

- Heat gun (found at most hobby stores or stamp companies)
- Stamp (image stamps and/or alphabet stamps)
- Embossing ink pad, pigment ink pad or Versamark Pad
- Embossing Powder
- Tidy Tray (optional)
- Anti-static product (optional)

1. First wipe the area to be stamped with an anti-static bag (a laundry fabric sheet will work too). This step is optional, but is a good idea to do if you want to make sure no stray embossing powder granules are on the surface surrounding the image. Anti-static products reduce static on the paper, which attracts embossing powder granules.

2. Next ink your stamp with your embossing ink pad or pigment ink of choice, and place the stamp down on your paper. In order to heat emboss, you must use an ink that dries slowly, which is why embossing ink (clear or tinted), pigment inks or Versamark inkpads are great choices. Dye inks dry too quickly for this process. Also keep in mind that if you want to have a totally transparent embossing effect, use clear embossing ink, not the tinted. The tinted ink will show through. If you use different color pigment inks remember that your image will be the color of your embossing powder not the ink you used. Using different color inks can enhance the color of the embossing powder, but will not be what you see unless you emboss the tinted ink with clear embossing powder.

3. Generously sprinkle your embossing powder over the image. Pour the excess powder into the Tidy Tray or container. If there are some granules in areas that you don�t want, use a small paintbrush to swipe away.

4. Using your heat gun, heat the image until the powder melts and turns shiny. Hold your heat gun about 6 inches from the paper. Sweep back and forth over the image until you notice the embossing powder melting. Melted embossing powder is smooth and shiny, and has a raised edge. Remember that if you heat too close to the cardstock, you can cause the embossing powder or the paper itself to burn. Many times I use my scrapbooking tweezers to hold what I am embossing so that I don�t burn my fingers.

So there you have it! The basics to heat embossing! But how can you use heat embossing in your scrapbooks? You can use this technique to:

Emboss images on your pages. Just stamp an image on your page and emboss. You can also use an embossing pen to highlight an existing image on your paper and then emboss.

Random embossing. Swipe your ink pad over your paper and just emboss an area on your layout.

Change the color of metal embellishments. If you run out of a gold brad, you can easily change a silver brad to gold by using gold embossing powder. Holding the brad with tweezers, heat the top and then dip into the embossing powder. Heat again until the embossing powder is melted.

Description: On this layout I randomly embossed around the edges, embossed the letter �L� with white embossing powder, and changed the metal flower from silver to gold with embossing powder.

Make your own faux metal embellishments. You can make your own faux metal letter tiles and words just by embossing. Many times this technique works best with UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) but regular embossing powders work just as well. With regular embossing powders you will need to build up more layers.. For example, if you wanted to make a circle letter tag, you would emboss a paper circle tag with silver or gold embossing powder. (Other colors would work as well). Build up several layers. Then take a letter stamp, ink it with embossing ink and push the stamp into the hot embossing powder. Leave it there for several seconds. When cooled, pull the stamp away from the circle and you should have an impression of that letter. To make the letter stand out better, either use a black Sharpie to color in the letter or restamp with black Staz-On ink. You can use this technique to create other impression images as well.

Emboss transparencies. Type a title or phrase out on a transparency and as soon as it comes out of the printer, sprinkle embossing powder over it. Carefully heat the title, making sure not to warp the transparency. The best way to do this is to have a piece of cardboard wrapped in aluminum foil. Place the transparency on that surface while heating in order to speed up the heating process before the transparency has a chance to warp.

Emboss on vellum. This works the same as transparencies.

Create a cracked-glass effect. This technique works best with clear UTEE because you need to have multiple layers of embossing powder. First, take a paper embellishment or copy of a photo and ink it with clear embossing ink. Sprinkle UTEE on it and heat. Build up about 4-5 layers (more if you use regular clear embossing powder). Once the image has cooled, crack it by slightly twisting the cardstock. When you have the desired effect, seal it with Diamond Glaze or crystal lacquer.

Create your own embellishments. Using clear UTEE or clear embossing powder, you can heat several layers and put items in different layers for artistic effects. Try floating microbeads, glitter, dried flowers, Pearl Ex in different layers for your own custom embellishment.

As you can see, heat embossing has unlimited possibilities! These are just a few of the great effects that can be made by using this versatile technique!

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