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Heat Embossing Hints

by: Shelly Newkirk

Your goal when heat embossing is to melt the embossing powder to the paper.  This can be done without a heat gun if you are desperate, but I would not advise it on a regular basis.  When I have tried it over a toaster, candle or stove burner, I usually had one of two things happen:

  • burned paper
  • burned fingers

Neither is artistically pleasing and husbands tend to get a little hysterical about flaming paper in the kitchen.

I keep an inexpensive clip board covered with heavy duty aluminum foil for heat embossing.  There are several advantages to this: the foil reflects the heat from the heat gun, speeding you melting process -  the clip on the clip board will hold your project so it won't be blown about and it puts a greater distance between you fingers and the intense heat of the heat gun.

Just when is your embossing powder "cooked" enough?"  With most embossing powders it becomes shiny and smooth when heated properly.  I like to tilt my clip board to get a better light reflection.  You should hold your heat gun at an angle.  This serves two purposes:

  1. The heat from the gun is not ricocheted back up into the gun shortening the life of the little electric motor, and
  2. For me, the heat seems to spread more evenly when I hold the gun at an angle.  If you have over-heated, your powder will become dull and have a separated appearance.  Experience will help you determine the proper heating time and how to heat evenly.

If your heat gun is blowing your embossing powder off the paper before it has a chance to melt you can heat from the underside.  Beware that it is much easier to scorch the paper when heating from underneath.  I have a tendency to get the gun too close to the paper and have scorched projects.  Very aggravating.

Happy heat embossing. I hope these hints will make your artistic adventures less hazardous.

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3 Responses »

  1. LOVE the clipboard idea! Although I have known how to heat emboss, I haven't used it much over the years. Recently, I've used this technique a lot more and hate having toasty fingers. Such a great idea using something that we all have laying around anyway!!

  2. hummm good Ideas, I use a 12x12 ceramic tile.. it stays even cooler...LOL I am a weenie when it comes to getting burned.. binder clips go over the tile, also I have been known to use a craft knife to hold it so as not to blow. The Angle information is very good too.. thanks for sharing. cyn

  3. Great tips, Shelly. Thanks. I have an old clip board needing to be used!