CB21-008 - What is embossing powder and how to use it

What is embossing powder and how to use it?

Embossing powder can be used for all your fun projects including cards, gift labels, candle sleeves, and more. The technique gives you a chance to create glossy textured effects. Even seasoned crafting pros and newbies alike may wonder what is embossing powder and how to use it. 

Embossing powder is a fine powder that is used with ink and heat to create embossed designs. Sprinkle the powder over a design and melt with heat to create a beautiful raised, glossy, or shimmering finish. 

The texture and interest will vary depending on the ink you use. The color of the powder varies and that will determine the color of your design. The benefit of using embossing powder is to add interesting 3D craft elements that give your design texture and depth. 

Keep reading to learn exactly what embossing powder is and how to use it. You’ll learn where and how to gather your supplies, so you’re ready to emboss like a boss (sorry had to do it). 

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What is embossing powder and how to use it?

Embossing powder is a fine powder used to leave a raised (or embossed) impression. The powder is made of very fine plastic pieces that have been ground up like glitter. To use it, simply shake the powder onto a special ink and heat it so it will stick.

Dry embossing is possible, but with embossing powder and ink, heat embossing is the most common technique. 

What is embossing powder made of? 

Embossing powder is made from plastic or polymers that come in clear or shiny colors. When heat is applied to embossing power it melts quickly into ink leaving behind a design.

Since embossing powder is made from heat-sensitive polymer it requires pressure to break up the fine powder. The heat ensures not only does the powder take on the ink, but it sticks to the surface of your crafts such as wedding invitations and greeting cards.  

How to use embossing powder

To use embossing powder, use an embossing-friendly ink pen or stamp to make a watermark. Then sprinkle the powder onto the surface, ensuring the ink is covered. You can shake off excess powder at this point if you need to save some for later. 

Once the powder is stuck to the watermark or stamp gently heat your design using a heat source. This will ensure the embossing powder sticks to the ink and the surface of your project. 

Here’s how to use embossing powder step by step with a heat gun. 

  1. Be sure your embossing area is clean.
  2. Take a stamp and cover it with embossing ink. Then stamp the surface of the object you want to emboss. The stamp will work almost like a stencil for your powder. You can also draw on your design with a stencil. 
  3. Once you have your stamp in place, sprinkle the area with an embossing powder. Before you add heat, shake off any excess powder. 
  4. Use a heat gun (or alternative heat source) over the pattern to make your raised image stick
  5. Allow your design to cool and enjoy your end product. 

Using the wet technique and a stamp isn’t the only way to use embossing powder. Check out this video to see 6 Different Ways to Use Embossing Powder.

What do you need for heat embossing?

For basic heat embossing, you will need a stamp, embossing ink, embossing powder, and a heat source. More detailed tools can be used based on your preference to create more detailed designs. 

Here are some more details about what you will need and where to find it.  

Embossing Powder 

Metallic Powder on Amazon 

Embossing powders come in different colors, textures, thicknesses, and effects. If you choose an opaque powder the color will show, but clear or transparent powders will show the color underneath the powder. 

A Heat Gun

Heat Gun on Amazon

Dual Temperature Heat Gun on Amazon

Heat guns will melt the embossing powder onto the ink. Dual temperature guns can be favorable because they give you two heat settings. Having two heat settings will give you better control over your project.

Stamps or Stencils

Embossing Stamps

Embossing Stencils 

You can always draw your own, but there are some pretty fun stamps available online. 

Embossing Ink

Embossing Ink on Amazon

Only special embossing ink will hold onto your powder and stick to the design properly.

You can find embossing starter kits that have everything you need in one kit. This is great for beginners, so you’re sure you have everything you need.

From a starter kit, you can add special embossing dabbers, pens, and markers to use ink to your design. Ink pads make it easy for you to cover your stamps with juicy ink. 

Other optional tools like a funnel to get your powder back into the bottle and antistatic tools to keep unwanted oil and moisture on your paper. Remember, extra moisture means your embossing powder will stick in unwanted places.

How do you get embossing powder to stick?

To get embossing powder to stick it’s all about choosing the right ink. A freshly stamped area is best for the embossing powder to stick. What makes embossing ink special is that it’s slow to dry giving you time to spread the embossing powder onto your design. 

After you’ve removed the excess powder from your design, heat seals the deal. The heat melts embossing powder into the ink. Heat helps the powder take on the right color or shine and makes the powder stick like glue not only to the ink but the material you are placing your design.

How do you keep embossing powder from sticking where you don’t want it?

To keep embossing powder from sticking where you don’t want it to, shake off the excess powder before using a heat source. If the powder sticks to an area you don’t want it to use a soft brush to gently remove the powder.

It’s possible for embossing powder to stick to any wet surface, so the oils from your hand or any moisture on your surface can cause the powder to stick. You’ll need to ensure you are starting with a clean surface before you begin. 

Otherwise embossing powder and a gentle shake will do the trick. If you don’t have a soft brush to shake away excess powder then try using a paintbrush. 

What kind of ink do you use with embossing powder?

You’ll need special embossing ink to use embossing powder. The ink is known as resist ink or watermark because they are able to retain the powder. They also dry slower than typical ink to give you time to spread your embossing powder and for the powder to stick. 

Dye ink won’t work because it will dry too quickly for the embossing powder.

What can you use if you don’t have embossing ink?

Pigment ink or water can be used instead of embossing ink. Keep in mind,your final result will take on the color of your powder no matter the color of your ink. 

Therefore, colorful pigment inks may be unnecessary to use if you don’t already have it on hand. The goal is to use wet ink that is slow drying, which is why water can sometimes work. 

Try creating your own clear embossing ink if you don’t have any ink on hand. Keep in mind, embossing ink was made to stick to embossing powder. Therefore, it will create longer-lasting better looking results. 

Pinterest is also full of fun homemade ideas.

How do you use embossing powder without a heat gun?

Try dry embossing or use embossing powder with another heat source such as a toaster or iron if you don’t have a heat gun. Simply place your project near a heating element to melt the powder in place. 

To use a toaster as a heat source, hold the paper that you are embossing over the toaster for 2-3 minutes until the powder melts. With an iron, lay the paper flat and hold the iron half an inch away for 2-3 minutes. 

It’s important to note that if you get creative with irons, curlers, or toasters that you don’t put the project directly on the heat. The idea is to allow the heat to melt the powder without coming into contact with it. Otherwise, you’ll burn your project and melt ink into your heat source. 

The best way to use the embossing powder is as directed so you don’t have any accidents. Many will come with instructions and the preferred method of use. 

Summary: What is embossing powder and how to use it?

Embossing powder is a fine powder that is just as fun as glitter. It is similarly made of tiny pieces of plastic polymers that are used with ink to create a raised (embossed) image. 

You can use embossing powder by adding it to embossing ink or pigment ink and adding a heat source. When you use a heat gun on embossing powder the fine plastic-based powder melts into the ink leaving behind a beautiful design. 

Greeting cards and wedding invitations can be stamped or hand-drawn to leave behind a glossy textured surface.

If you’re not into using heat you have a few options to use instead including dry embossing. However, embossing powder works best with a heat gun, embossing ink, and stamps or stencils. So gather your supplies and prepare to emboss like a pro.