Partial embossing is a fun technique that allows you to dry emboss card whilst keeping part of it free and clear from embossing. There are different ways to achieve this effect, and by far the easiest method is by inserting only a portion of your card into your embossing folder before running it through your die-cutting machine, thereby leaving the remaining card un-embossed. You can create embossed borders from full embossing folders using this technique.

If you wish to create a frame of embossed card whilst leaving the centre un-embossed, or emboss a shape into plain card, you will need to use an embossing diffuser. Embossing diffusers are pieces of thin plastic or chipboard cut into the shape you want to emboss. You can purchase ready-made diffusers, such as the Sizzix Embossing Diffuser 3 packs, (refs 657945 and 660245) or make your own using chipboard, as I have done. To create a frame diffuser, simply trim a piece of chipboard to the size of the front of the embossing folder and cut out the shape that you want to be un-embossed, eg an oval, from the piece of chipboard. Lay the diffuser on top of the embossing folder before sandwiching them between your die-cutting machine plates, then roll the sandwich through your machine. The pressure of the die-cutting machine will be applied to the surface of the diffuser only and therefore the cut out part will remain un-embossed. You can also use the waste piece of chipboard in the same way to emboss a shape onto card whilst leaving the rest of the card un-embossed.

Experiment with scraps of card before creating your final embossed pieces so as to ascertain the exact sandwich you need to use with your particular die-cutting machine. Some embossing folders such as Spellbinders folders are thicker than other embossing folders, such as Cuttlebug embossing folders. Therefore, you will need to adjust your embossing sandwich accordingly. Most manufacturers have an Embossing Compatibility Guide on their website which gives sandwich recommendations for most die-cutting machines.


Open the embossing folder and ink the inside of the top flap of the embossing folder with Ocean Depth ink


Partially insert a 13.2x10cm piece of white cardstock into the embossing folder so that it stops approximately 2.4cm from the left edge of the cardstock. Use Washi tape to tape the card to the bottom flap of the embossing folder and emboss


Use the pierced border die from the Lawn Fawn Stitched Borders die set to add a pierced border along the top and bottom edges of a 10x2.7cm piece of Island Indigo cardstock. Wrap the centre with white seam binding


Layer the embossed and inked panel onto a 10.3x13.5cm piece of Island Indigo card. Attach to the centre of an 11.0x14.2cm tent-fold card blank. Attach the seam binding panel over the join where the embossing finishes