Dry Embossing Greeting Cards

Those wonderful raised ornate borders, flowers, and decorative designs you find on wedding invitations and handmade greeting cards can be easily done by dry embossing. Embossing creates a raised area on the surface of the card that looks very classy. Embossing shows up best when light is skimming across the raised areas.

Templates used for dry embossing can be brass, plastic, or card stock. The templates (stencils) used for stenciling can also be used for embossing. Almost any paper that will let light show through can be embossed. In addition to the stencil and paper, you will need a ball-pointed stylus (sometimes called a burnisher), removable tape, and a light box. If you don't have a light box, see light box alternatives.

An alternative to the method explained below is the ShapeBoss by Fiskars. The ShapeBoss does not require a light source.

How It's Done

Step 1

If your stencil has numbers or letters of the alphabet on it, make sure you place the stencil so the characters are not backwards.

Tape the stencil in place on the front of the paper/card stock. You can buy removable tape but depending on the paper, it doesn't always remove without taking some of the paper with it. My advice is regardless of the type of tape, pat it on your clothes a few times before using it. The lint from your clothing will prevent the tape from damaging the paper when you remove it. Always test on a scrap piece of the paper/card stock you intend to use first to make sure.

Step 2

Place the paper with the stencil attached stencil side down on the light source working surface.

Use the stylus to trace around the edges of the illuminated areas. Only use the stylus on the edges - that's all that's needed to raise the image and pressing anywhere but the edges will detract from the finished result.

Depending on the paper, you may meet with some resistance when tracing. Have a piece of waxed paper nearby and rub the stylus on the waxed paper occasionally to make tracing easier.

Step 3

Make sure that you have completely embossed all parts of the design before untaping the stencil - trying to line up the stencil (to go over missed areas) after you have removed it is very difficult.

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