How to Emboss Cards and Paper

Embossing is a fantastic way to add an extra dimension to your cards. It’s one of the most popular techniques in making your own cards and for good reason. How to emboss cardsThe different textures and looks you can create through embossing is almost limitless, and providing you emboss well (and this guide will make sure you do!) it never fails to look amazing. This article aims to give you the basis to begin embossing yourself. We’ll show you what you need, how to emboss and some extra hints and tips.

If you’d like a more in depth background look at embossing in general then check out our embossing guide. Otherwise read on to get a simple tutorial on how to emboss.


What is Embossing?

The term embossing actually refers to a technique that leads to a raised area on material be that card, fabric or even metal. In the case of cards it’s most commonly called ‘heat embossing’, as you use heat to achieve the effect. These are created by using embossing ink and powder, either on stamps or by drawing. You then heat the area, melting the embossing powder and hey presto, you’ve embossed!

How to Emboss

Right, first thing to do is get together everything you will need to emboss. How to Emboss cardsThankfully you don’t need a lot in the way of tools, and there’s a good chance you will already have some of them, which will save some time. If you don’t have them then don’t worry as they’re very common and easy to get. You won’t have to spend much either as the basics are all relatively inexpensive.

  • Cardstock/paper
  • A stamp
  • An Ink pad
  • Embossing powder
  • Heat gun


  1. Take your stamp and chosen embossing ink and stamp onto your card or paper.
  2. Cover the stamped image with your embossing powder making sure you don’t leave any ink uncovered.
  3. Shake off or funnel any excess powder back into the powder container.
  4. Take your heat gun and heat the powder until you can see it had all melted. Make sure not to overheat it though. Finding the right point is important. Overheating will cause the powder to bubble and evaporate so you should know when it’s happening.
  5. That’s it, you should be done! Easy, eh?

Hints and Tips

  • When embossing do so over a piece of scrap paper so you can easily tip any excess back into the container/pot.
  • Never use a hairdryer instead of a heat gun! All you’ll do is send the powder flying from the blown air rather than heating it.

To know more about the different types of embossing inks and powders read our full introduction to embossing.How to emboss cards

Below though we will go through some of our favourite brands and what they work best for. Hopefully it’ll give you an idea of which to start with if you’re new to embossing.

Embossing Powders

There are a fair few embossing Powders that will suit different needs. If you have a very fine detailed stamp or image then using Detailed Embossing Powder will work best. It has bet small particles that suit the more intricate details. At the other end of the spectrum you have Extra Thick Powder that is perfect for the opposite – larger, less detailed images.

If you want something a bit more glitzy or a bit of being then try some glitter powder. Once you melt the powder you will have the glitter embedded into your card and it comes in a range of different colours.

If you want something a little different there are lots more specialty powders. From glow in the dark to scented and matte. Once you feel confident embossing then you can try all the different powders to see which you do and don’t like.

Embossing Inks

You need a specific ink for your embossing. There are lots of regular and embossing inks out there. Some will be very suitable for what you need and others will not.

Watermark or Embossing ink as it’s usually called will probably be the best ink to start with. It holds embossing powder well, drys slowly (which is what you need) and should suit most of your projects.

Distressed inks gives you a different sort of look; weathered and worn. Very specific in its look but also very cool and popular. Alternatively pigment inks allow you to blend and mix colours, giving some fantastic looks and textures.

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