Hints & Tips: Heat Embossing

There are 2 types of embossing, heat embossing and dry embossing. We will be taking about heat embossing in this post. There are a few tools required for this and they are:


Heat Gun – this is necessary, it is much hotter than a hairdryer and supplies a controllable jet of heat that you can direct on to your image.

Embossing Inkpad – this is a clear, tacky pad which has a slow drying time. A coloured pigment inkpad can be used or any pad that is very wet and will stay wet long enough for the powder to stick to it.

Embossing Powder – these powders come in a variety of colours and textures. Available in coloured, metalic, destressing, glitter, etc, there are new varieties in the stores on a regualr basis.

The only other requirements are a stamp, some card and a tidy tray or sheet of scrap paper for the excess embossing powder.


  • Ink up the stamp and stamp the image onto the card. If using a VersaMark or a colourless embossing ink you will only see a very faint image.
  • Before the image dries pour on the powder over the whole image. Tip off the excess onto a sheet of paper or into a tidy tray and put back into the pot. Tap the card to get rid of any extra powder from the image.
  • The next stage is the most exciting. Take the heat gun and start it up. Starting at one point aiming the heat gun at the image about 3 inches away then wait until the powder starts to melt. Move the heat gun and “chase” the melting powder until the whole image is embossed. You will quickly become used to the amount of time this takes and you can see the transformation happen before your eyes!


TIP – Try not to wave the heat gun around as there is a danger of missing part of the image. If this happens, the powder on the parts that have not been heated will fall off and you will be left with its missing. It is better have a steady hand and be methodic. That way the whole image will embossed.

TIP – If heat embossing for the first time, do not worry if it goes “wrong”. It just needs a little practice, it is very easy to master.

TIP – Do not over heat your image. This is easy to do if you are new to heat embossing. If over heated the mage will raise, which is what should happen and then will go flat. The card will absort the powder, which is what you do not want.

Embossing works well on paper and card – you can also emboss onto fabric, wood and glass with a little practice!

Once you have mastered heat embossing with stamped images, there is a multitude of other techniques to be learnt,for example, ultra thick or triple embossing to name but one.

Triple embossing is building up layers of embossing powder. Taking a pigment ink or embossing ink, apply to card. Pour on powder and melt. Sprinkle on more powder while still hot, reheat and repeat. The next is optional: while still warm, stamp into the heated powder using an inked stamp to create a debossed image into the powder. If you do not use a stamp, you can leave it and you will have a tile effect.

Special Ultra Thick powders are available for this effect, but it works just as well with a few layers of normal embossing powder.

Hints & Tips: Outline Stickers & Glues

Outline stickers

These are self adhesive messages, letters and images are available in a variety of colours. They can be used on various surfaces including card, paper, photographs, acetate, etc.

They can be used as a finishing accent by using a border and/or message sticker.

Once stuck, the images can be coloured in using pencils, pens or felt-tips. They are ideal on acetate on an aperture card as the reverse of the stickers are very acceptable.

These stickers can be used as templates using chalks or inks to make a background paper for your project.

Take two or more sheets of the same image but different in colour. Take the outline of one of the images in one colour and fill in the gaps using the “waste” from the other coloured sheets. This is a lovely effect and you will be using up a lot of what you might otherwise throw away.

Try using an outline sticker the same colour as your card this will give an embossed effect that looks very sophisticated, especially gold on gold mirri card or silver on silver mirri card.

It is possible to colour your stickers using permanent marker pens. You can use over-head projector pens, CD pens or there are specially designed pens available in a variety of colours. The stickers can also be coloured using a permanent ink-pad and a sponge.

The best method of peeling the stickers away from their backing sheet is by using a pair of tweezers or a piercing tool.

When using a large sticker, place it upside-down on a flat surface and leave for a few seconds so that it regains its shape. Then place the card onto it so that it sticks without losing its shape again.

Stickers are an ideal way to secure vellum to a project as the vellum will show any glue beneath it.


  • PVA – This is an all round glue which sticks most materials, the type of glue we remember from school Laughing Out Loud
  • Tacky Glue – A veriety of PVA which is tackier than regular PVA. It will give a quicker bond.
  • Stick Glue – Ideal for scrapbooking as it is repositionable until dry. It won’t wrinkle paper and not as messy as wet glue. Also available acid free.
  • Artists Institute Dries Clear and Dries White – These glues are fantastic for loose glitter projects, especially if using the ultra-fine glitters. Giving different effects when using the dries white or clear, choose the one that best suits your project. For example, if using on card, either will be fine, but if using on acetate the the dries clear is the best.
  • Glitter Glue – Available in so many colours, they give a 3D effect to cards and papercraft projects. They can be bought in big containers, but I would recommend the smaller ones as they will be easier to direct to the places where you want them. Ideal just to accent so a small amount goes a long way.
  • Glue Dots – Ideal for scrap booking, decoupage etc. Gives a 3D effect to cards.
  • Double Sided Tape – Suitable for card making and children’s craft projects. Gives an instant result and leaves no mess. Sticks paper, card, foam etc.
  • Sticky Fixers or 3d Foam Pads- Double sided adhesive, available in pads or rolls. Ideal for shaker cards and mounting materials to give a 3D effect.
  • Fabric glue – Ideal for fabrics where finished product will require washing.

Hints & Tips: Ink-Pads

There are a number of different types of ink pads available for use with rubber stamps, all have different uses and work better on different surfaces.

These are the main types of ink-pads used for stamping:

  • Pigment Inks – These water-based inks dry slowly and are ideal for heat embossing. They can be used for general stamping and also used with a water brush for blended water colouring effects. They can be used on many types of paper, but using on shiny surfaces should be avoided as they will take a long time to dry and may not dry on some surfaces at all. Pigment inks come in a huge variety of colours which include metallic, fluorescent, multi coloured pads, etc.
  • Dye Based Inks – These are water-based inks that dry quickly on a variety of surfaces, including non-porous surfaces. As these inks dry quickly they are not suitable for heat embossing and the image may run if it gets wet. Great for general stamping as they will give a good image even when using a very detailed stamp. There are many colours that are now available and the choice gets greater on a daily basis.
  • Permanent Inks – These inks are available in both water-based and solvent- based forms. They can be used on most types of surface both porous and non-porous; card, paper, wood, acetate, shrink plastic, glass, metal, foil, leather, acrylic, etc. You will eed to use a permanent ink cleaner to clean your stamps after using these types of ink-pads.
  • Brush Marker Pens – These are usually available containing pigment inks and the colours available are countless. They can be used for stamping by colouring in the image and then stamping it. This gives a lot more freedom to use several colours on one stamp to give unusual, rainbow type effects.
  • Chalk Inks – These inks dry with a soft, pastel, chalk-like finish. They come in a variety of colours but are usually muted and subtle. They can be used for a variety of projects and are great for direct-to-paper techniques.

Just a couple of tips with regards ink-pads and stamps:

  • If you find that your ink-pads are not “wet” enough, don’t throw them away or buy a re-inker, try storing them upside-down for a couple of days, this will bring the ink to the top of the pad. If they are old pads, storing them upside down will make them available for use any time
  • Most inks can be cleaned from the stamp using a wet wipe, if possible, try to purchase alcohol-free wipes, they will be gentler on your stamps. However, use this method should only be used on a temporary basis. Every once in a while, clean all your stamps with a specially formulated stamp cleaner. Doing this will protect your stamp and preserve them for a lot longer.

Hints & Tips: Scrapbooking Glossary


A creative art of displaying photos and memorabilia. It incorporates journaling and the embellishment of the pictures to tell the story of events. The primary purpose of scrapbooking is to preserve memories for future generations, but a secondary purpose is often to exercise your creativity as you display your memories in a scrapbook.


The actual meaning of this word, in terms of scrap booking, is to cut or resize a photograph. Possibly to eliminate some of the background or a part of the image.

However, this word can also mean a gathering of scrapbookers who work on their albums and pay layouts. Normally, CROPS meet on a regular basis just like a crafting club where the scrapbookers will bring their ongoing projects with them. They can also be in the format of a workshop where an expert will host the event.

Acid free

Papers or card that have a high acid content deteriorate over time and may become fragile and discoloured. Adhesives can fail and stain photographs. It is therefore essential to use acid free cards, papers and adhesives when creating scrapbook pages. This will ensure that photographs and scrapbook pages do not become discoloured, cracked or damaged over time and will last a lifetime.

Lignin free

It is also essential to use lignin free paper or card when creating pages. Lignin is a naturally occurring substance in wood that reacts with light and causes the yellowing and deterioration of paper and card. Lignin free paper and card is produced by removing the lignin during the paper making process. Using acid & lignin free materials will ensure that photographs and scrapbook pages do not become discoloured and deteriorated over time.

A page design or the grouping of scrapbooking pages that go together. A layout can be one page; two or some are even a panoramic 4 page spread.


The term journaling is fairly self-explanatory. It means to write some information about the scrapbook page. This would normally be the who, what, why, where and when about the pictures displayed. The journaling an be done in a variety of styles.

  • Using bullet points would be straight forward and factual.
  • Captioning, which can be a title, a short explanation or a description about the picture.
  • Another way to display information is to tell the story behind the photographs, especially if the photo used is kinetic and something happened just before or after it was taken.
  • Poetry is another form of story telling which can also be very effective.

Journaling is a great way to finish off your pages.

Page Protectors
These are clear plastic pockets that contain and display a scrapbook page.


Blank book used to store scrapbooking photographs and scrapbook pages. The most popular types are expandable with top loading page protectors. They come in a variety of sizes such as 12″ x 12″, 8″ x 8″ and 6″ x 6″ and many more.


A translucent paper used to make envelopes or sleeves to store photo negatives. These can also be used for a decorative purpose, often for hidden journaling.

Hints & Tips: Direct-to-Paper

Direct to Paper Techniques with Ink-pads

Edging Paper and Card

Just by stroking the edge of your paper or card with an ink-pad creates a second mat without actually matting. This makes such a subtle that it won’t be noticeable until you place it on another piece of paper or card. Make sure that it is dry before doing this as you may end up with smudges.

Doing this after tearing an edge is very effective too.

Distressed Paper

Before using any inks crumple your paper up into a ball and then open up and and smooth the paper down. Flatten as much as possible if yo want to achieve a subtle effect or leave more raised areas if you want to achieve a very distressed look. Stroke an ink-pad across the entire page and the raised areas will pick up the ink. Once dry, flatten as much as possible before using.

For any technique, its probably a good idea to test on a piece of paper if possible, this will give you an idea of what the final result will look like. The last thing you want is a big sheet of paper that you don’t like the look of. LOL Laughing Out Loud

Shaped Ink-pads

inkers.gif There are so many different shaped ink-pads on the market, like small square, large square, round, tear-drop, triangle petal shapes and probably many more.

Use these directly onto you paper or card. For example, with the petal shaped, make a flower, make small circles with the round to form a background. Do this with the square too !!

petalpoint1.gif The possibilities are endless, have a go and you might end up falling in love with a technique that you cant live without