The Basics of Dry Embossing
Dry embossing is a popular technique used in all kinds of papercrafts. It requires a few simple tools – a template or stencil, stylus, some cardstock, repositionable tape, waxed paper, and a light source. A stylus is a metal tool with a small ball on each end. The smaller ball is handy for reaching into very small, tight spaces. Many people use a wooden stick, or an old, dried out ballpoint pen instead.
This technique will not work on ordinary paper. Card stock is required, and 60 - 80 pound works well. The light source can be as simple as taping your cardstock to a window, or you may use any of the wonderful light boxes on the market. It is also possible to make your own light box by placing a piece of glass or plexiglass over two supports (such as end tables or stacks of books) and placing a lamp, with the shade removed, beneath them. A piece of vellum placed on the glass will make it easier on your eyes, and still allow enough light show thru to work. Commercial light boxes have the surface frosted. To emboss your design, first place the template on the light source, taping it into place if desired. Place the cardstock over the template, positioning it where you want the design to be, and tape in place. Now lightly rub the cardstock with a piece of waxed paper. “ Trace” the design with your stylus, using even pressure. What you are actually doing is stretching the fibers of the paper, allowing them to sink into the channels of your template. Check to see that you have traced every part of the design. Carefully remove the tape, turn the paper over, and voila! You have an embossed design.
Embossing takes place on the reverse side of the paper, and when finished, your design will be raised on the right side. Sanding the surface lightly helps your embossed design show more. This is known as distressing the design. Cardstock with a white core is especially effective for this technique. Chalking the raised areas or applying ink or paint to them also brings out the beauty of your artwork. You may also choose to use the original side, with the design area indented. This is called debossing. Crafters often like to cut around the embossed design, leaving a small border. This element is then attached to a project such as a card, scrapbook page, or other craft, with glue, eyelets, brads or ribbon.