Embossing at Home

A guide to simple embossing techniques – or how to make a raised shape in paper.

Tools of the trade – a bespoke set of embossing tools with six graded, smooth round tips.
You could try improvising with some of these if you don’t have the special tools : dead pen, blunt knives, hair grip, cocktail sticks, bone folder…
Design and cut out your shape in thin card – cereal packets are good for this. Your design will be reversed – flip the card over?
Lay paper over cut out and tape in place. If you have a home light box use this to help you see the shape (improvise with a window or feel your way round the edge of the shape with your finger nails). Start rubbing into the edges with the largest rounded tip.

The paper has to stretch without breaking so there are limits how far it will go. Some papers work better than others – soft printmaking papers are best, cartridge is ok, but hard, dense card probably won’t work with this method.

Use the fine tipped tools to stretch the paper into corners to get detail and a crisper edge.

Adapt your design if the shapes aren’t working.

You can overlap shapes and reverse the process (deboss).

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