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Elegant Embossing- Types of Embossing Powders

Types of Embossing Powders
Complied by Marion Davis

Source credit given where known.

There are three basic grinds – kind of like coffee.

Coarseness Types

  • Regular
  • Super Fine Detail Powders
  • UTEE/Opals/etc.

Most of the time we use a regular grind or density. This is the standard embossing powder. (EP)

If you are just beginning this is probably what you use.

If you are doing a fine image or words that seem to melt into each other try a fine/detail grind. There is less flow when the granules melt giving a clearer, more detailed embossed image.

There is a caveat, however. A detail powder tends to leave a slight haze, especially the gold. Sometimes an anti static bag or a paint brush will help, and sometimes you just cover the whole paper even where there is no ink so the haze is consistent across your card.

The third is a coarse grind. UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel made by Ranger) is a perfect example of that. You get more melting and coverage, but less definition with this type of EP. The description from Ranger is:

Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel™ (UTEE™) - is a specially formulated, large particle embossing powder. Use a heat tool to produce an extra-thick embossed image or melt UTEE in the Ranger Melting Pot®. Pour into molds to create 3-D artifacts or dip to coat a variety of objects for one-of-a-kind art and jewelry.

UTEE Brightz™ - These Ultra Thick Embossing Enamels have an opaque, pearlescent quality and come in breathtakingly vibrant colors. They’ll add extra shimmer and pizzazz to all your Melt Art® and embossing projects.

Opals from Pipe Dream in Australia are a similar type of embossing powder.

Judikins make Amazing Glaze that is similar.

The coarse embossing powders such as UTEE or Opals are also used in the Melting pot but that is another whole area and I will not be addressing it today.

The next part I learned from Fred Mullet and it really helped me understand my EPs.


Opacity Variations:

Transparent embossing powder allows the color of the ink to show through. Clear is the most popular but it is also available in some colors. I mark the covers of these with a "T."

Opaque - Metallics and colors may be opaque. No matter what color ink you use, the color of the embossing powder will remain true to the color in the jar. Sometimes there is a slight difference in intensity of the color if you use a different ink color under it such as black under gold increases the intensity of the gold.

Some opaque embossing powders such as the Adirondack line from Ranger have a white core.

You would probably never notice this unless you happened to put a finger in the warm embossing powder.  The only cures I know for finger marks in the Adirondack embossing powder is an Adirondack pigment pen, or covering it with an embellishment. Preventing it is much easier. Allow the embossing powder of one section of your work to cool before you turn it to finish. These have semi-matte finish that coordinates beautifully with the rest of the Adirondack product line.

I mark all opaque powders with an "O" on the cover.

Translucent EP allows some of the color to show through but softens it. The pearl colors like silver pearl are examples of this type.  Many companies blend these to make specialty colors. I mark the tops of these with an "S" for semi- transparent.

Specialty - There are a large variety of embossing powders--each with specific features to create exactly the look you want on cards and scrapbook pages.

Distress EP is unique. You MUST shake it frequently to mix the release crystals. It is also matte so, it is harder to judge when it is “cooked” After it has cooled you rub the EP and the release crystals come off, leaving a distressed look.

Pearls – Use pearlized, interference embossing powders for subtle, pearl elegance on light papers, and more dramatic pearlized effects on dark papers.

Then there are specialty EPs such as glitter EP which is glitter you can emboss! It's in a clear base to let the color ink, glue, and paper underneath show through the granules.

Embossing Tinsel™ is glitter in an opaque or pearl embossing powder base.

There are foil EPs which look metallic, and glow in the dark EP.

Puffs create a warm, fuzzy look that puffs when heated for surface dimension.

Holographic EP is a clear EP with iridescence.

Embossing powders can be used on paper, paper mache, wood, clay and more!

Don’t be afraid to mix and match embossing powders to create your own recipes/combinations.

It is possible to emboss with any dye ink but you need to work very quickly since these inks dry faster. Distress inks are formulated to dry quickly but according to Tim Holtz the resins in it stay moist for up to 15 minutes so they also work well for embossing.

If you are not confused yet, then you are ready for the next article. See you soon.


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3 Responses »

  1. OH! I love the Embossing Tinsel.....they're great for Christmas Cards

  2. Great article! I didn't know there was such a thing as Foil EP! I am adding it to my arts/crafts shopping list! Thanks! 🙂

  3. Good information, thank you