Cardmaking 101: Heat Embossing

Heat embossing was one of the very techniques I learned as a cardmaker and I really had to do quite a bit of research to figure it out. It is one of those techniques that we who have been paper crafting for a long time tend to gloss over in out tutorials (or at least I know I do). It can be so confusing about which ink to use, do I need an anti static tool, etc. So below I have five videos for you, each one rather short, but sharing answers to different questions I know I had when I was researching. If you do have any remain questions, you can always leave them in the comments here or YouTube, or shoot me an email!


It is not easily to demonstrate heat embossing in a photo tutorial but I do want to tell you a bit about each video.

Let’s start with tools:

A Heat Tool – I have linked a few different heat guns below. And before I go any further, yes you need this tool – a hair dryer, oven, etc will not work.

An Ink Pad – You need either an embossing ink pad like Versamark or a Pigment Ink Pad. Basically, you need an ink that will stay wet for a few minutes and hold the embossing powder.

Embossing Powder – I would suggest starting your collection with a clear and white embossing powder. You can also start with a black if you would rather black heat emboss with black powder, but this is personal choice (make sure to watch the video above for further explanation). I have linked all three below and they are all Ranger’s brand. Ranger is a very reputable brand and their powders emboss beautifully! If you want to further your collection with colors you might not use as often, I would suggest looking into the Wow! brand of embossing powders. They have a great price point so you an try many different colors without breaking the bank!

A few optional tools:

An Antistatic Tool: I have linked two different choices below and I would highly suggest investing in either one. (Watch the video above to see why I think this is worth it.) You can also try making your own, dipping a cotton ball in powder or cornstarch, or using a dryer sheet to cut down on static. In my opinion these options are messier and don’t work as well, and the antistatic tools are fairly cheap and keep the mess more contained.

Tweezers: They’re great to have in your craft room for many different reasons, but all it takes is one burn from your heat gun and you’ll be wishing you’d used your tweezers (Ask me how I know). Heat guns get so incredibly hot, they have to in order to melt the powder, but especially on small pieces of cardstock, or techniques where you are constantly heat embossing your paper will get HOT!! A pair of reverse grip tweezers will save your fingers from many burns! They also keep your paper from getting unnecessary finger prints that will collect excess embossing powder.

Soft Brush: You do not need any special brush, one you already have in your craft room will do. A soft small brush will help you clean up any stray embossing powder that might get stuck to your paper.



Moving on, my second video is two different ways to black heat emboss. In the video I share which way I prefer, but know that other crafters prefer to use black embossing powder, it really is just dependent upon your personal preference or even the project.  You can see in the photo the black embossing powder and Versamark leave more of a matte finish while the Versafine Onyx Black Ink and Clear Embossing Powder have more of a shiny finish. Just make sure you dust your surface well with your antistatic powder tool when using black embossing powder!

black ep comparison.jpg

Heat embossing with pigment ink is just like regular heat embossing, you just want to make sure you use clear embossing powder so the color can show through. Any pigment ink will work for this technique. This is a great way to heat emboss with color, without owning a lot of different colored powders! You can see in the results, it not only looks gorgeous on white cardstock, but also has a very unique and gorgeous result on dark colored cardstock.

pigment ink results.jpg

Glitter embossing powder was very tricky for me when first starting out. It can be difficult to tell when it is heated thoroughly. If you let your heat gun heat up for a good 30 seconds before you bring it to the paper, you will be less likely to burn the powder. Also, watch it closely and you will be able to see as the powder kind of “grabs” the glitter and pulls it into the powder. It sounds weird to type out, but once you see it happening you’ll get it! LOL Glitter Embossing powder doesn’t work well with fine intricate stamps, but it’s awesome for bold sentiments and solid stamps.

glitter ep results.jpg

And finally, the last video gives you a comparison on using the antistatic tool against not using it. I would highly recommend investing in one. It is also great for shaker cards, (A little dusting inside the shaker removes the static that hangs up your sequins) and taking away any sort of sticky residue you may want removed. It’s also great to use while using any kind of glitter!

treated untreated comparison.jpg

Heat Embossing is one technique that never ceases to amaze me and it adds a certain amount of “awe” to any card you use it on. So many recipient of cards that I’ve made where I’ve included heat embossing, have asked me (in awe) “You made this?” “How did you raise the words and make them so shiny?”.

I so hope you found the videos above helpful and if you still have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below! There is a small supply list linked with a few of the supplies I used today and mentioned in the tools portion of this post. Thanks so much for stopping by!! Happy Crafting!!

3 thoughts on “Cardmaking 101: Heat Embossing

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