Much To Do About Dry Embossing

I’m sharing most of what I know about using Embossing Folders in this post…which is why it’s so long.  If anything could be clearer, or there’s a question you have that I didn’t answer, let me know and I’ll update the post.
Anatomy of an Embossing Folder

An embossing folder is simply a hinged piece of plastic with a texture or pattern embedded in it.  When a piece of cardstock or paper is inserted between the two sides and it’s run through an embossing machine, it imprints the pattern or texture on it.

Stampin’ Up! has 2 thicknesses of embossing folders, regular ones and 3D ones.  If the name of the folder doesn’t have “3D” in it it’s a regular one.  SU! also has 3 widths of folders.​​ (Note: I add the white label at the top with the name and other info because I find it useful.  Others write on them with a permanent marker…most don’t bother).
Be careful not to place your cardstock or paper too close to the hinge and getting a bit of un-textured cardstock at the top. 
​Run your folders through the embossing machine hinge-first whenever possible. Occasionally your materials will need to be placed in the folder in such a way that they can’t pass through the machine hinge-first, and that’s ok, just be careful.

Embossing Cardstock and More
This card has a panel embossed with the Lace 3D Embossing Folder.
This is simply the Evergreen Forest 3D Embossing Folder on Green Foil Sheets, and below on some Designer Series Paper.

Embossing vs. Debossing

Some embossing folder patterns are the same on either side of the paper, while many have a “front” and “back” side to them.  Another way of referring to this is embossed vs. debossed.

You can see in the picture above that the embossed piece has a raised pattern, while the debossed piece has a sunken pattern.  Most of the time it’s just a matter of choosing which look you want for your project.  On a few of the techniques below paying attention to which side you will want to show will be important as you go.

Adding Ink

You can tap an ink pad onto one side of an embossing folder before running it through the machine with your cardstock.  This will enhance the pattern/texture of the folder.

As long as you’re using one of our Classic Stampin’ Pads or Memento Tuxedo Black you’ll be able to wipe or rinse the ink right off.

On this card I added Pretty Peacock ink to the side that presses the pattern into the Soft Sea Foam cardstock, so that the ink is on the debossed side.  Below is how the pattern looks when the same ink is applied to the embossing side of the folder and run through with White cardstock.

Adding Ink + Glitz

Similarly, you can add Versamark ink to one side of an embossing folder and then add either Embossing Powder or Heat & Stick Powder to get some neat effects.

For this card I tapped Versamark ink randomly on one side of the folder, then ran it through my machine with Old Olive cardstock.  I added Heat & Stick powder, heated it briefly, then added Gilded Leafing Embellishment.

Adding Ink + Stamping

In addition to simply adding ink to enhance a texture, you can stamp onto an embossing folder and have the image transfer to your cardstock when you run it through the machine.

Here I tapped a blue ink pad onto the embossing side of the folder, then stamped the evergreen tree.  I also went in with a brown Stampin’ Write Marker and swiped the brush tip on the lines of the birch trunks.  
This technique not only makes the embossed trees stand out from the background, but puts the evergreen “behind” the trees.  I’ve also done this with a deer image to great effect.

Using an Embossing Folder as a Stamp

Sometimes you want the pattern, without the embossing texture.  You’ll get a different effect depending on which side of the embossing folder you use.

When I make panels like this I like to use a larger piece than I intend to use on my project so I can cut down to the “best bit”.

Faux Quilting

Add pieces of patterned paper to a cardstock layer as you would piece or appliqué a quilt and then use an embossing folder to add a “quilted” texture.

Have you used a folder in a way that I haven’t mentioned?  I’d love to hear about it!

If you want to check out the embossing folders currently available through Stampin’ Up! click here.


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