What Is Embossing? Everything You Need to Know

So, what is embossing? Embossing is the process of creating raised relief images or designs in paper, cardstock, leather and other materials with a malleable surface. A variety of embossing tools are used to create pressure on paper, forming a 3D design. The raised-surface pattern elevates the overall design, which is why it is so popular in wedding invitations, high-end business cards or important official documents. It has become synonymous with luxury.

Stock up on Embossing Tools

Craftsmanship goes a long way when it comes to embossing. The process is not simple and cannot be done quickly, which is another reason why it is considered luxurious. The time and expertise of a craftsman make it valuable. Intricate designs include scrollwork, lacework or lettering. Equally tasteful are simpler techniques like borders, initials and small symbols. This non-ink technique, although colorless, offers the ability to endlessly customize any project, from minimalist to intricate.  

Dry embossing is done by using an embossing stylus to create delicate and intricate designs on your paper. Tips are available in different sizes. The quality of your paper is important when embossing. While there is a huge variety of paper you can use, thicker cardstock always produces the most opulent results. This is crucial depending on the type of project you are working on. Again, you can use almost any kind of paper when embossing, but the heavier papers are less likely to curl while in use. When planning your project, consider the end result. 

While there are a host of embossing patterns and machines on the market, we prefer using a stylus and freehand embossing. This allows you to exercise your own creativity and have a free range of designs depending on the project you are working on. This is especially important when you are trying to be cost-effective. 

embossing star shapes on cutting mat

To dry emboss, you will need to start with a cutting mat to protect your work surface. This is a must-have for any project. Excel Blades offers a variety in both size and color of cutting mats to fit your needs and the dimensions of your work desk. The next thing you will need is your preferred paper. You may use an Excel Blades craft knife to cut the paper down to the size and shape you need it, or you can use the standard size. This will differ depending on the person and project. 

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Next on the checklist is your embossing stylus. Excel offers both fixed styluses or styluses with interchangeable heads. This is a perfect product for someone who is accustomed to embossing and uses it on various materials. They come in a variety of sizes, and even a spoon tip for working on thick materials like fondant, which we will touch upon later. Now that you have gathered your materials, it is time to work. Because you are working with our aluminum stencil, you will have sharp and clean results. This will offer a professional finish. If you so prefer, you may use a ruler’s edge for sharp lines. 

It is best to start by carefully taping the edges of your paper to your cutting mat. This ensures that the paper will not slide around while you are working, giving you better results. Try rubbing wax over your paper in order to get the stylus to glide over your paper easier. Now you could always pencil draw your design ahead of time or you can freehand your design. Make sure you press firmly so the design pushes through the other side. As mentioned, thicker cardstock works better and if you use thin paper, you have to be careful here as you may break through the paper. 

As mentioned, you can use an embossing tool to work with thick materials like polymer clay, fondant and gum paste. We call this debossing. This means you are using the stylus to create an imprint on the material rather than raising it. This is popular amongst cake decorations, which can be seen at parties and events. This is also used by model makers who work with clay. These artists often stencil into their material and follow up with paint. This allows them to create lines to follow. These hobbies require the ability to be flexible and create your own individual designs. This is done by using the right tools. Another great use for embossing tools is for those who design cookies. This has become hugely popular on the internet and provides entertainment to millions. You can use the embossing tools to create specific text or design in the cookies freehand. 

embossing tool with variety of tips

Embossing is a wonderful medium for those who are interested in creating their own unique patterns and designs. If you are someone who wants to try a new hobby and show your creativity, you can use your Excel Blades stylus to create beautiful embossed or debossed designs on paper, clay, fondant or any other pliable material. Give your next DIY project an added touch of luxury.