Cardmaking 101 - Heat Embossing

Thanks to Julie for today's tutorial. Be sure and visit her blog at

Heat embossing is a great element to add to your cards and can be done with just a few basic materials.

Here are things you'll need for heat embossing:

  • Heat gun
  • Embossing powder
  • Embossing ink - Versamark-type or pigment ink
  • Stamps
  • Cardstock or paper
  • Anti-static product (optional)
  • Tray (optional)

First, if you choose to use one, run the anti-static bag over your cardstock. This will reduce the static on the surface of your paper, which prevents stray embossing powder from adhering. (I've heard that a fabric softener dryer sheet will also work!).

Next, stamp your image in Versamark or pigment ink. These inks are stickier than regular dye ink, and take much longer to dry. This allows you plenty of time to get your powder in place. Pigment inks and clear embossing powder will allow you a wide variety of colorful results; experiment to find what you like best.

Now cover your inked area thoroughly with powder. Don't be stingy! After it is coated, lift your paper vertically and gently tap the excess off onto a scrap piece of paper (or your tray if you chose to use one, I confess I rarely use mine) then you can return the excess powder to the jar.

A note about embossing powders. There are generally two types: regular and detail. Either will do but for fine-lined designs I prefer the sharper results I get with detail powders. Also, beware of powders that contain glitter. It can still flake off even after being heat embossed, so it is not appropriate for OWH cards!

Finally, you are ready to heat it up! Simply aim your gun at the image about six inches away and turn it on. Be careful not to let your paper fly away. Heat the image until the powder melts and turns shiny. Move the heat gun slowly around the image, not staying in one place longer than it takes to melt the powder. Exercise caution, you can singe your paper with a heat gun! If you've never heat embossed before, start out on white cardstock - if you start to singe it you'll be able to see the paper turning brown.

One way to make white ink really pop is to emboss it with white powder. This image shows what a big difference heat embossing can make. The top sentiment is heat embossed, the bottom one is simply stamped with white pigment ink.

Have fun making heat embossed cards! Here are a couple of additional cards featuring heat embossing:

Thanks again to Julie for today's tutorial! Heat embossing is an important element in other techniques for future tutorials, including emboss resist and cracked glass technique.

Cindi (aka iring)  – (April 20, 2010 at 6:56 AM)  

Great tutorial! I love your samples!
In addition to the neat embossing I really like the vellum flowers!

Donna  – (April 20, 2010 at 2:59 PM)  

Excellent tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

Betty Benton  – (April 21, 2010 at 8:18 AM)  

Loved your heat embossed card with the large flourish and vellum flowers. I just had to CASE it right away this morning!

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