I keep hearing people tell me that they are afraid to try wet embossing because it looks too hard.
Now I would accept their reluctance if what they were really saying was "it looks so great, I'm
afraid I'll become too enamored of it, and have to go buy all the stuff!". But thinking it is
difficult just isn't reason enough not to try it! The principle involved here is the same as it was
back in Kindergarten - when we put glue on a page and sprinkled the glitter on top! Remember
how the glitter stuck to glue, and we'd simply shake the remainder off and put it back in the
glitter jar? This works the same way!
Let's take a look. First, we are going to need some basic supplies. For this project, I have a
stamp (Stained Glass Iris - Rubber Stampede), Glossy cardstock - card size (Inkssentials),
Embossing ink, black (Big & Bossy - Ranger) [can be pigment ink], embossing powder
(Stampendous, Detail Black), a heat gun (Coloriser - EK Success), and a piece of scrap paper to
catch my embossing powder.
Okay, lets put it all together. I chose a stamp without a lot of fine detail. You may wish to start
with a stamp that has very little detail - an outline of the object, for example. You'll find that the
more detailed the image is, the harder it can be to stamp and emboss. When using glossy
cardstock, I don't find it necessary to 'prep' the surface first. If using regular cardstock or
watercolor paper, it is best to swipe it a few times with a stamping powder - similar to bowling
powder - found in most craft stores, or use a Bounce fabric sheet. This will allow the embossing
powder to fall away from the areas where you don't want it to stick. The embossing will occur
where the powder is - so if you have extra powder on your paper - it will become permanent where
For the stamping, regular stamping techniques apply. Ink your stamp well, in this case, with
embossing ink or a juicy pigment ink. Lay your stamping paper (in this case, our card) on your
scrap paper. Make sure all areas of the stamp are well covered. Holding the paper flat, lower the
stamp straight down and press. Try to come down straight (not at an angle) and then press firmly
down - not rocking it over the edges. Then, holding the paper still with the other hand, pull your
stamp straight up - trying to remain perpendicular to the paper, so as to not let the inky edges
Now, here's the part where people think it gets difficult - but if you know what to do ahead of
time, it won't seem scary. I always have the embossing powder for the project out on the table
and opened before I stamp. Because as soon as you pull the stamp away from the inked image,
you want to sprinkle the embossing powder on the wet ink. It needs to happen rather quickly.
Not so fast that you're throwing powder about, but you don't have time to wash off your stamp yet
either! So we cover the stamped image thoroughly with the powder - DON'T worry about how
much you sprinkle on - you're going to get almost all of it back. I have yet to buy a new powder
because I ran out!
Once the image is thoroughly covered, carefully pick up the paper and put your embossing powder
jar on your scrap paper. Gently shake the powder from your paper into the jar. Any powder that
misses the jar should land on your scrap paper. Shake off again, and see if any powder is on your
project in spots where it shouldn't be. If so, shake again, or use a dry paint brush to gently wipe
the excess powder off onto the scrap paper. Set aside, pick up the scrap paper, put a little crease
in the bottom, and funnel all the powder back into the jar.
Now we're ready for the heat gun. If you are using it on the table top, you may want to put
something underneath - a towel, a silicon sheet, or more scrap paper. This will protect the table,
as the gun will put out some heat. Turn on the heat gun, and let heat for a few seconds, then aim
the heat at one corner, and hold there, watching to see when then powder begins to melt, when
that section is melted, slowly move the gun around the image, melting the powder as you move.
You should go slowly enough that you only have to move it over each area once. Reheating an
embossed area may cause it to look "burnt" and not heating it enough will leave a crunchy,
uneven, often 'flat' look.
That's it! Your embossing is complete! It looks great, doesn't it? This is a good time to wash off
your stamp - before the ink sets! Then come back and we'll look at what to do with your image!
So, now you have this stamped image that looks similar to a coloring book page. Except that it is
raised, and, for the most part, will not accept more color. Why is that important? It makes it
almost impossible to ruin while coloring it in. Here are some of my favorite techniques.
I love to use permanent markers on this glossy cardstock. If I am making the image to last (for a
scrapbook, or a card I will be keeping) I use acid-free ones. Click here for more.
If not, then I could use Sharpies or regular markers. Permanent markers dry faster and look
more brilliant on this glossy paper.
If I have stamped on watercolor paper, or regular cardstock, I love to use watercolor pencils. This
is so incredibly easy. All you do is color inside the lines - not even with meticulous care, just get
some color in each block where it needs go. Then, go over the color with a slightly moist paint
brush (with just water), and blend the colors within each section. The effect is beautiful, and it is
really easy to "stay in the lines". Click here for an example.
Then, another technique for coloring in the embossed image is painting. I love Twinkling H2O
paints for their luminescent quality. It looks different from every angle. The Angel Christmas
card was embossed in black and painted, and the Poinsettia Card was embossed in gold and hand
painted with these paints. The picture doesn't do them justice - you'd have to see this for yourself!
Click here to see the Angel Card and the Poinsettia Card
That's all there is to wet embossing. We'll take this project one step further in "advanced