The Heatgun's The Boss! Embossing Technique

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While you may think embossing is for cardmaking and scrapbooking, it is actually a powerful tool to add to your bead making repertoire.

What's The Plan, Stan?
We're going to go over the basic technique of heat embossing. Try out your skills on one of the many projects and tutorials listed below. Come up with anything fantastic? Share it!

  • Embossing powder (I suggest using clear, but there are a wide variety of colors available out there)
  • Pearl Ex Pigments (optional)
  • Ink (there are literally tons of kinds of inks out there. I recommend using Stayz On)
  • Stamps (these can cost you lots and lots of money. I search through the $1 bins at Michaels, Dollar Stores and I make my own)
  • Object to emboss on (such as a pre-drilled scrabble tile, or domino)

Tools Of The Trade:
  • Heatgun (there are some good and some not so good heatguns out there. Having only worked with one, I'm not in a position to recommend a specific one. Check out different websites and read the reviews)

  • Clean the surface of the object you are going to emboss on. (EX: if you're making a domino pendant, wipe it down with rubbing alcohol)
  • Ink your chosen stamp (don't use too much ink, especially on a non-porous object. Try blotting your stamp on a tissue etc before stamping it.)
  • Stamp your image! Lay the stamp down on a table and press the object on top of the stamp, rather than the other way around. This way the image will be placed exactly where you want it.
  • Sprinkle with embossing powder over a piece of scrap paper. Tap your object to get off extra powder, and sift back into container.
  • Heat the ink/embossing powder - - don't hold the heatgun too close so it doesn't actually burn it :) You'll see powder transform into bubbles and voila!
A note about Inks:
  • Many of the projects bead artists will create use non-porous objects, such as dominoes, glass slides, etc. Regular dye-based inks, while still great on porous objects like scrabble tiles, won't stick on these surfaces. Also, if you intend to use alcohol inks with a stamped image, the alcohol will bread down dye-based inks and ruin your image. Remember these simple rules:
    • If you're working on a porous surface, and not using alcohol inks - use regular ink.
    • If you're working on a porous surface, and using alcohol inks - use "Stayz On" or "Metallic Inks"
    • If you're working on a porous surface using alcohol inks and you want to create a resist image, use regular ink.
    • If you're working on a nonporous surface, alcohol inks or not, use "Stayz On" or "Metallic Inks"
A note about Colored Embossing Powder:
  • As I mentioned above, there are tons of beautiful colored embossing powders out there. However, why spend the extra cash (which many of us are so short on!) when you can make your own?
    • Mix a small amount of Pearl Ex Pigment into your embossing powder and you have created your own unique color :)
C'est Fin!

Bead Artist Showcase
Have you made something beautiful using an embossing technique? Your work could be right here! Submit your stuff to Creativity In A Nutshell via email to Feel free to include pictures, anything new you tried and suggestions you have for improvement.

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