While doing today’s tutorial I found:
- VersaMark Embossing Ink is some really great stuff. Sticky enough to hold the larger grain embossing powder with a minimum of blow off. That was startling and a really good thing to learn.
- Whisper White card stock is some really thick stuff. Combined with the VersaMark Embossing Ink and a candle warmer the embossing ink did not bleed through the paper and get a waxy residue.
I’ve been heat embossing for about eight years now and today’s results were stunning to me. Just when you think you know something, or have an opinion about something, it all changes. In this situation for the better.
Learning to heat emboss was a real chore for me. Since I am not the kind of person to just give up after the first stab at something turns out badly, I have to find an alternate way of getting the results I want. There is a driving maniac in my head that says “Other people can do this easily, why can’t I do it?” If my desire to do something is great enough, then I try to find an alternate solution.
This heat embossing tutorial is, in fact, the way I learned how to deal with a really troublesome problem. After having many, and I do mean many, bad attempts to heat emboss with a heat tool and coarse grain clear embossing powder I got really frustrated. Instead of just giving up and swearing off heat embossing altogether I thought about the process.
- The embossing powder has to stick to the surface and be held there during the heating process.
- During the heating process the embossing powder has to be heated to a temperature high enough for it to melt.
- Containing the embossing powder seems to be the problem. Keeping it on the paper and within the desired image is the process – so how to go about getting better results?
I had candle warmers in most of the rooms in our home. It was new, fairly new, at that time and the chemicals emitting from the carpet and walls was very strong. I burned my fingers many times in moving the candle jar on the warmer so I knew that thing got hot.
Since I had one in my “studio” I carefully removed the candle jar from the warmer and put the piece I had embossing ink and that dreaded embossing powder on the warmer plate. I found that where the back of the paper came in contact with the warming plate the embossing powder would melt. Getting my tweezers and another implement, I don’t remember what it was, I pressed the paper more fully to the warming plate. Exultant with the results I had, that was the way I did my heat embossing for the next several months.
The back of the paper was another story. An oily and waxy look and feel was on the back of the paper where the heat embossing took place. I had to see if there was any candle residue on the warmer plate that was causing the paper back to look so bad. Bringing in a new candle warmer, still in the original packaging from the store, I worked with a clean and new warmer plate. Same results the oily and waxy back of the paper after this type of heat embossing.
This problem lead me to heating the underside of the piece with the heat tool. Holding the piece above the heating tool and working it from the back side of the paper. I scorched paper a lot doing this. The scorch marks were not only on the back of the paper but they appeared around the edges of the front image. Adjusting the distance of the heat tool from the paper helped but too far of a distance made the results not so good. Moving the heat tool back and forth quickly beneath the paper resulted in causing thermal waves of air to come up around the top of the piece and blow the embossing powder off.
The first time I used a finer grain embossing powder with the heat tool was when things really began to work. So my lesson learned in this phase of my learning curve was to make sure I had fine grain embossing powder. Leave the coarser grain stuff on the shelf. Avoid it totally.
The outcome of today’s tutorial with the back side of the paper and the candle warmer trick was a very pleasant surprise. No oily and waxy residue on the back of the paper. The paper was clean. And there was no scorching of the paper when I heated it from the back with the heat tool. That, to me, says a whole lot about the quality of paper from Stampin’ Up! The papers I had been purchasing at my local craft/hobby store were not of such high quality.
If you are having trouble doing heat embossing I hope today’s tutorial will be of help to you. If you are in need of any products – heat tool, embossing powder, or paper – then head on over to my Stampin’ Up! website and get your supplies.