What is Embossing?

Embossing is the practice of creating a raised design or text on the surface of your card, paper or other materials you may be using in your papercrafting.

Texture is so important. Embossed surfaces are nice to look at, it's tactile and it's a great empty space filler! - Olga Direktorenko

Embossing adds a subtle finish to your papercrafting, giving it extra dimension and interest. It can be left plain or enhanced with colour to really bring out the design. You can achieve an embossed effect using readily available craft products on the surface or with dry embossing using pressure to create the raised effect.

In the following guide which is packed full of links to further embossing tutorials we share the key forms of embossing that most crafters will want to add to their portfolio of papercraft techniques.


Embossing using Embossing Folders

An Embossing Folder is folder designed to go through a die-cutting machine. Rather than cutting the card as a die would, instead the design of the folder creates an embossed pattern. On the lower inside of the folder the design is raised and on the upper inside of the folder it is recessed.

The embossing folder clamps down hard on the card when put under pressure from the embossing (or die-cutting) machine in the same way as passing fabric through a mangle. You may need to adjust the 'sandwich' on your die-cutting machine to achieve a more prominent effect.

Embossing Folder Techniques to try

Selective Embossing Masterclass

Embossing Acetate

DIY Embossing Folders

Embossing Folder Techniques - Sam Calcott

Lou Collins has a great video with 5 different ways you can use embossing folders in your papercrafting.

Wet Embossing

Traditional wet embossing involves thoroughly dampening the card and using raised designs to create an embossed effect once the paper dries, or using wet tissue on top of card.

Most modern crafters are referring to using inks and sprays with embossing folders when referring to wet embossing. You can create some great effects, well worth experimenting.

105 FREE printable papers to download - perfect for all kinds of papercraft!

Heat Embossing

Heat embossing involves stamps or embossing pens, embossing ink, embossing powder and a heat gun to melt the powder and create a raised design. There are so many products available and so many different effects you can achieve!

Who doesn't love that magic moment when the powder melts and turns a stamped image into a metallic marvel. Great to use on papers or vellum and acetate when making flowers. Lots of colours to choose from including metallics and of course white and clear. Pauline Hickey

Heat Embossing - Step-by-Step

In this beginners guide to heat embossing Lou goes over all the basic equipment you will need to begin heat embossing.

Heat Embossing for Beginners

1. Stamp an image using embossing ink - this is usually a clear ink and is essentially a kind of liquid glue in the form of a stamping pad. You can also buy embossing ink pens for very detailed embossing or to create your own designs. Do not use Watercolour Paper!

2. Pour over the embossing powder covering all of your inked areas. It's a good idea to use an anti static wipe on your card to avoid any powder adhering to other areas of the card.

3. Just as you would do when adding glitter, pour off the excess which can be reused. You may need to give it a good tap to make sure all the loose powder is removed.

4. Using a heat tool (not a hairdryer!) heat up the embossing powder, taking care not to overheat. You may find heating from under the card creates a smoother effect. You'll be able to see once the powder begins to melt and transform into an embossed design.

Watch Lou's handy video tutorial for heat embossing from underneath

Experiment! You will find all different colour and types of embossing powders - including glow in the dark and beautiful metallic colours!

More Heat Embossing techniques to try

Iron off Embossing Tutorial

Partial Heat Embossing Tutorial

Heat Embossing Pen Tutorial

Heat Embossing on Acetate

Two Tone Heat Embossing - watch Lou's quick video tutorial to see how easy this effect is!

Masked Embossing Tutorial

Modern Calligraphy Embossing with Watercolour Tutorial

Emboss resist technique - Sam Calcott

Gold Embossing with Watercolours

Heat Embossed Die-cutting Tutorial for an inlaid effect

How to refresh your heat embossing pad

Dry Embossing Technique with a Stylus and Stencil

Dry embossing using a stylus and stencil is a simple technique to get you started and ideal for small projects. Place your card or paper over the stencil and using the stylus which is like an inkless pen with a little ball on the end, you simply apply pressure to the card following the design of the stencil. Then flip the card over and you'll see the raised design.

Embossing stencils are often made of brass but you can use general plastic stencils which are designed to be used with colour.

More dry Embossing Tutorials to try

Dry Embossing on Vellum gives a particularly great result - read our full masterclass on

Dry Embossing on Vellum

Embossing with Dies

If you have found this complete guide to embossing useful please share it with your friends or pin on your Pinterest boards, we'd also love to hear your comments or if you have any questions!