Dry embossing - by hand

I think dry embossing gives a subtle, softer look to your papercraft projects. It also creates a lot of texture and interest in white spaces.

Definition: "embossed - brocaded: embellished with a raised pattern
created by pressure or embroidery;
"brocaded silk"; "an embossed satin"; "embossed leather"; "raised ..."

Dry Embossing by hand is so easy to do and can add a real professional touch to your handmade greeting cards and other craft projects.It is a different technique to heat embossing. You do not get a shiny result with this technique.

dry embossing, handmade greeting card, papercraft

You can buy metal templates and embossing tools from most papercraft stores. The templates come in a variety of patterns, shapes and sizes. I have my eye on a lovely dragon one, actually. One day it may come to live in my craft cupboard. I think working with a Big Shot machine is a perfect way to create this look, but you can also create it with the brass templates. I'll tell you how to use the brass templates here.

In the picture at the top of the page you can just see the shadow of my brass template behind the paper I am working on.

How to Create Dry Embossing Projects by Hand

  • Select cardstock, brass template like this hummingbird one and select a round knobbed tool
  • Find a window with lots of light behind it, or if you have one, use a Light Box
  • Tape or blue-tack the template to the window at a comfortable height for you to work on. In the image above you can see I've chosen a brass rose template and it is under the cardstock I am working on (you can see a corner of the template on the lower right in the picture at the bottom of the cardstock)
  • Place the cardstock over the template where you want your finished design to appear
  • Run the stencil tool firmly over the template and cardstock, making sure you rub all metal edges of the images with the tool. Work by rubbing the tool in one direction all over the paper, then return and cross-hatch the image with the tool if desired. Be careful not to press too hard or your tool may go through the paper
  • Remove the template from the cardstock, turn the paper over so the raised side is facing upwards and use the image as desired. In this case I have chalked my design.
dry embossing, handmade greeting card, papercraft

Many people have light boxes and use them to see the template behind their cardstock instead of a window. This may be a lot more comfortable for you to use, if you have one. You can also just raise the outline of your image by running your tool only along the edge of the designs instead of cross hatching them.

Other things to try with this technique:

Look for unusual 'templates' to try such as:

  • the edges of tearing rulers
  • leaves
  • holding your cardstock over an etched design on a vase, for example, and using it as a template
  • Coins

Be inventive and enjoy your manual dry embossing experiments.

Dry Embossing - by Machine

Once you have tried this technique you may want to branch out and consider purchasing a Big Shot machine. You would then be able to expand your papercrafting to include die cutting and machine embossing. It is so quick, easy and convenient to have a Big Shot machine from Stampin' Up! There is an example of a raised image created by the Big Shot machine below. The light blue cardstock mat has been run through the Big Shot machine with an embossing folder.

Remember to Contact Me if you have any questions or inquiries about the techniques or products used here.

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