How to Use Embossing Powder for “How Did You Do That?!” Reactions Every Time

In the many years I’ve been creating cards, one of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received after delivering an embossed card is “How did you do that?” Non-card makers are always impressed by heat embossing, which is a basic paper-crafting technique used to create raised images or sentiments. It’s easy and requires only a few supplies.

Closeup of completed heat embossed card

Use embossing powder to add dimension, shine and interest to a handmade card.

Embossing powders are available in a wide variety of colors, textures and formulas. Among the most common are white, clear and black. Powders are available in fine detail, matte finishes, sticky powders for use with glitter, foil, microbeads and much more.

Supplies Needed to create a heat embossed card

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Background and sentiment stamps (I used My Favorite Things Garden Flourish background and Paper Smooches Pretty Phrases)
  • VersaMark ink
  • White and gold embossing powders
  • Heat tool
  • Powder tool or pouch
  • Card stock and vellum
  • Double-sided tape
  • Copic marker slightly darker than card stock
  • Scrap paper

Embossing powder tutorial

Step 1:

Cut card stock to 4″ x 5 ¼”. Liberally apply powder over entire surface.

Liberally apply powder to card stock

Step 2:

Apply VersaMark ink to background stamp.

Apply VersaMark ink to stamp

Step 3:

Lay paper over stamp and apply pressure over entire surface to transfer ink to paper. It may be helpful to lay scrap paper over the card stock and apply pressure using a bone folder.

Stamp design onto card stockPhoto of watermark design on card stock

Once paper is removed from the stamp, you should see a very light impression of the design (shown above). Be sure to clean the VersaMark ink from the stamp.

Step 4:

Sprinkle white embossing powder over entire surface of card stock. Tap off excess.

Apply embossing powder

Step 5:

Preheat heat tool for about 20 seconds, then begin to heat-set the embossing powder, holding the heat tool approximately 2 inches from paper and moving in a circular motion. As the powder melts, the color will become more vibrant and glossy.

Heat set background design

Step 6:

Cut vellum to about ¾ inches to 1 inch wider than card stock panel. Liberally apply powder to vellum and stamp sentiment using VersaMark ink.

Apply powder to vellum

Step 7:

Apply gold embossing powder over stamped sentiment. I place my card stock (vellum) on scrap paper or hold over a coffee filter before pouring.

Stamp sentiment using VersaMark and sprinkle embossing powder

Step 8:

Tap off excess powder. Use a small brush to remove any powder from unwanted areas. In very tight spaces, I used the tip of a craft knife to carefully push tiny specks of powder into or away from stamped/powdered lines.

Remove excess powder with small brush

Step 9:

Return excess powder to container.

Return excess powder to container

Step 10:

Heat-set embossing powder by pre-heating heat tool and moving heat quickly across the area. To minimize warping, it may be helpful to also hold heat further away from the paper.

Heat set powder on vellum

Step 11:

To add just a bit of dimension/detail to the background design, I traced most of the flourishes along the left side using a Copic marker.

Add shadow to flourish edges using Copic marker

Step 12:

Trim vellum to desired height. To adhere the vellum without adhesive showing through to the front, apply double-sided tape to the left and right back edges.

Apply adhesive strips to side edges of vellum

Step 13:

Remove adhesive backing, place sentiment in desired position and fold edges to the back.

Adhere vellum to card stock folding and adhering edges to backAdhere gold cord; adhere panel to card front

Step 14:

To finish the card, I adhered two lengths of gold cord over the top and bottom edges of the vellum strip, securing edges to the back with additional double-sided tape. The completed panel was then adhered to a standard 4¼ x 5½ inch card base using foam tape.

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