Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Club Scrap: Blog Hop: Heat Embossing and Moroccan Spice

Welcome to Club Scraps Monthly Blog Hop.  You should have arrived here from:  Tricia Morris
 If you got lost along the way, you can start at the beginning by clicking this link: ClubScrap Blog Hop

Every month it seems I have a technique that I focus on.  This month the theme is embossing or so it seems.  Everything I have made this month has been embossed in one way or the other and this posting is no different.  When I do one technique over and over I learn a lot about the process and tools, so as we look at these cards, I will share my observation about embossing.
Here we go:  Let's take quick look at the cards.

They are all so different but all are embossed with embossing powders.

So lets take a minute and talk about powders.  In my opinion all powders are created equal.  They have some differences, mainly size of the particle and of course color.  But they all react the same way. You stick it down somehow, heat it up until it melts.    There are different grain sizes; from the smallest (fine detail) to largest (labeled as bulky, UTE or deep impression).  I do think that some melt more readily and some melt smoother.  But that is more to do with your heat tool, the ink, how much has to melt, the paper (both type and thickness)   and of course the weather.  When I moved to Texas from Washington State, I had to rethink everything, from glue, adhesives, ink and embossing powders.  The bottom line, look at what you have and test it out.  Use different inks, different amount of heat.  Change one thing and see what happens, did it make it better, the same, or worse.  Often if I can't get a good stamped and embossed image the first thing I do is change the ink.  All ink will emboss if it stays wet long enough.  Mix the ink.  Stamp with versa mark and then layer a pigment over the top or visa versa.  This is a great trick when you have a lot of area to cover and a missed spot will show up.  The colored ink tricks the eye into believing the image is solid.

So let's start with working with the powders.
Here is my set up.  It is a box (Club Scrap Box), a swifter and a coffee filter.  The swifter catches all the stray powder and the filter makes it easier to get back in the bottle.  What isn't shown is baby powder or an powder tool of some sort.  All embossing powders need to have the surface de-magnetized so that the powder only adheres to the inked area.  This is most important with dark paper.  When I am using a very dark paper, I just dump a puddle of baby powder in the center and dust off.  The little powder tools just don't lay down enough powder to ensure no stray particles.  But even with the best prep, on humid days, baby powder doesn't work 100% of the time.  A fine paintbrush takes care of those buggers.  I have noted on days when we are having thunder storms, skip embossing, do something else as the garbage can will fill up fast!!

The next player in this game is the heat tool.  It needs to get hot and not blow too much. I have used almost every brand out there and burned up every brand I have purchased.  I think I am tool challenged.  So, I decided after my last burnout (embossing a lot of butterflies with thick embossing medium and on chipboard) that I needed a professional tool.  Guess what, Home Depot carries heat guns.  They are designed to strip paint and warm pipes.  Go figure. I think if they can hold up to paint stripping they can hold up to my crafting.  I bought the lowest wattage, lowest power one, it was made by Wagner and I  must say, I can emboss to my hearts content and no over heating or worse "burn out".  Turns out it works fabulous on Velum.  I will post a link to my new gun. 

So lets get to the cards:
The simplest in terms of embossing is the Sympathy card:

This is straightforward.  The band was stamped onto a scrap of the background paper, wrong side and heat embossed with Ranger fine detail gold.  The fine detail works wonderful with those images that need crisp lines.  What it doesn't do well with, is an image that is fairly solid like the flower.  If you look close it is not as smooth.  I could have used a bigger grain powder and been happier, but then the color wouldn't match.  I could give a long dialog about Gold color but will save that for another posting.  I will say that the color of gold is a fascinating story and involves the jewelry industry prior to days of marking the piece.  But another day.  

Adjusted the stamping so that the exposed image would be symmetrical and then used the flower to cover the irregularities.  A gold card stock was cut and the band glued onto that.  Wrapper finished.
Gold cord was wound into a circle and using a glue dot held into place.  

Stamped the image and embossed with the same powder, note no stray flecks.  Baby powder at its finest.  I die cut this using a label die and then used  a gold pen to edge the die cut.  Finally added tiny dots of a glitter pen.  This was attached onto a piece of fun foam and adhered over the Gold Cord. Making sure that there is adhesive only on the part that will touch one of the flaps.

This is a tri-fold card, that measures 4.25" X 5.5"finished and closed.  The card base was cut 5.5 X 8.5" and scored on each end at 2.25".  A sentiment was stamped and added to the inside of the card.  
Another view.  Ok, now that you have your primer on Heat Embossing, lets take it up a notch.

I did not photograph the background.  It is very straight forward.  I used a snowflake background stamp with snowflakes by Hero Arts and Kraft paper.  The image was stamped in Versamark ink and Heat embossed using Ranger Holographic embossing Powder.  Then using white and blue pigment ink, lightly enhanced the background.  This was cut down to 4 X 5.25 inches.

Using a Sizzix die, tags were cut out of white paper, stamped with the snowflake stamp from the kit and heat embossed with a white glitter embossing powder by Wow!.  This now is tone on tone with a little glitter.

Using a scrap from the Sypathy card, I stamped the ornament in silver ink and then used Silver glitter embossing powder.  Fussy Cut.  Slightly bent the holder to give it some dimension.
A brushable glue was painted onto the ornament and microfine glitter was added.  This  photo shows what it looked like before the glue was dry.  You can see that I deliberately left brush strokes.  When you see those frosted ornaments in the store, they are not solid, glitter falls off or failed to stick, that was the impression I was going for. 
Here is the finished, see how it looks more dimensional.  This and the package were glued onto the tags.  The package is straight forward.  Stamped onto a lavender sparkly card stock and fussy cut.  Water color pencil and Wink of Stella in clear was used to enhance it further.  The bow was filled in with Icicle colored Stickles.
A small sentiment was stamped onto vellum, die cut and adhered.  
This is an A-2 card.  All were layer onto the card.  The embellishments were popped up with 3D foam dots, the tags threaded with silver cord and glued flat onto the card mat.  See how flat that velum sentiment is.  I believe it was because of my new heat tool, no warping.  Finished.

Ok, now on to the masterpiece, well I think it is a masterpiece.  It was really more of a mental exercise masterpiece.  Once I got the details worked out it was simple.  Good news, you can just follow my lead and not have to think about all the fussiness.  

Stunning isn't it.  But relatively simple.  
Let's start with the embossing powder as that is our focus.  I needed a powder that was not too silver, not too dull.  I was wanting a stained glass look.  I tried a thick mixed powder by stampendous but lost the fine detail of the stamped image.  
See how irregular the stamping and embossed areas are.  Might work if I wanted a distressed antique look, but I didn't.  So how to resolve this issue?

Make your own blend of embossing powder!!!
I mixed 4 parts black, 2 parts Wow! brass, 3 parts Platinum, 4 parts silver.  The black toned down the silver and the platinum and brass gave it some pizzaz.  
You can see it here on this Kraft cardstock.  The light from the camera makes it appear more shiny but the finished card is a better representative of the effect.  Let's talk about the stamping.  This is the card base.  The stamp was 3 rows of the image.  I aimed for any imperfection in the stamping to occur where the image was.  Trimmed the stamp so that the red rubber edge was symmetrical all the way around.  The benefit of unmounted rubber stamps, is you are in control of your stamp.  Adjust, trim, do what ever you need to do to get what you want.  Stamps are simply a tool, take control. Then using a stamping template (acetate with the image stamped in archival ink) positioned the card stock under the acetate, removed the acetate, inked with versa mark and stamped. Repeated this process for as many times as needed to cover the background.  I did use a MISTI for this step.  Any type of positioner would work.  This was trimmed down to 4 X 5.25 inches.

The tile image was stamped onto red card stock from the kit.  Using Twinkling H20's that had been previously activated with water, carefully painted in the image.  I used the thick paint and let it flow between the embossing.  Added very little water and let dry thoroughly.  I was very pleased with the result and it does look like stained glass.  You don't need water color paper to use a water color paint, just use one that requires very little water to activate.  Twinks are perfect here.
All that metallic embossing powder and Twinks makes it hard to photograph, so here are to views.

The sentiment was stamped in versa mark, embossed with Ranger Platinum on Velum.  The focal image was matted onto red cardstock and then onto fun foam and adhered to the base.  A red card base finished the card.  I think it would make a nice Christmas Card.

Well that is it for me today.  Be sure to complete the hop and leave comments along the way.  Your next stop is:  Julie Heyer

Happy Crafting

Supplies and links:

Club Scrap: Moroccan Spice Deluxe Kit, Stamps, and Embellishments.

Embossing Powders:  Ranger:  Fine Detail Gold, Platinum, Silver, Black, Halographic
                                    Wow!:    Brass, white opaque with glitter
                                   Zing:       Silver Glitter
Glitter:  Micro fine glitter, Cloud Nine by Sprinkle and Sparkle
Ink:  Veramark
         Archival: Grey
        Versafine: Onyx Black
Twinkling H20:   Mango Mamba, Lucky Apple, Teal Zircon, Sunflower
Paper:  All came from Club Scrap except the Vellum, lavender for package  and a strip of Gold Card stock, source is unknown 
adhesive: score-tape, ATG, liquid glue
Fun Foam
Stickles: Icicle
Wink of Stella:  Clear
Various Dies: Spellbinder, Twisted Metal (label), Sizzix, Tags.  
Wagner Heat Gun: Similar one at Amazon                                   


  1. Your cards are allvery beautiful, Josette. How can we live withut embossing!
    It is the finishing touch to all your cards. Wonderful.
    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  2. Truly stunning Josette! Love the look into embossing powders and how they work with your creations. Lovely work as always.

  3. Josette I learned a lot from your heat embossing tutorial! I would never have thought to mix embossing powders but what a great look you got doing it! Beautiful cards! Have a great day and Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Wow! I learned a LOT from your post! Great job with this, Josette. And thank you for all of the wonderful tips! Off to Home Depot! LOL. (Fabulous cards, too.)

  5. Wow, your cards are stunners, each and every one! Thanks for all the tips . . . I'm pinning so I can refer back to them in the future!

  6. Wow! I learned so much today. Who knew all the variances of embossing?! Stunning cards. Thank you.

  7. Super inspiration and a great aide memoire to hot embossing! Thank you very much and Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Lots of great fun into, great cards, thanks for posting!

  9. Thank you everyone for stopping bye and leaving your wonderful comments.

  10. These are beautiful and I'm sure even more so in real life.

  11. Beautiful! Thanks for all the observation on embossing!

  12. Thanks for the very helpful information on embossing -- many great hints.