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This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of embossing, looking at its beginnings all the way through to the different types of machines that can emboss, and what the process involves. After all, being a rookie needn't be so intimidating!
To use an embossing machine, you need embossing folders to feed through. Embossing folders are plastic folders with one raised side and one debossed side – your embossing material will sit between. Once embossed, your cardstock will precisely replicate the pattern on the folder.
The process is simple – your paper or cardstock is placed in the folder, sandwiched between the embossed side and the debossed side, then sandwiched again between embossing plates. The entire 'sandwich' is then passed through your machine to apply pressure, thus pressing the raised design towards the debossed side and permanently moulding your material into the desired pattern.
One of the best things about embossing is that it comes hand-in-hand with die-cutting. As both techniques require pressure to produce designs, machines are generally built to handle both processes – you just use different components alongside it. Therefore, single-function embossing machines don't exist!
Die-cutting machines fall into three categories – Manual, Electronic and Computerised – however only Manual and Electronic machines can form embossed texture using embossing folders. The difference between the two is very simple: Manual machines require physical cranking of a handle to pull the 'embossing sandwich' through, whilst Electronic machines use a motor to automatically pull it through. If you want to learn more about Manual and Electronic die-cutting machines, click here!
Your machine is the fundamental component in the embossing process, however it's also important that you have a selection of embossing folders compatible with your machine. There's a vast range of folder patterns and sizes available, from esteemed brands like Tattered Lace, TODO and Ultimate Crafts. These papercraft specialists provide thoughtfully-designed embossing folders for multiple themes, catering for extra-special occasions or keeping it simple with geometric designs.
Once you've chosen folders, you'll require materials to emboss. This technique is highly popular in papercrafting as it aids you in creating beautifully decorative cards, scrapbook pages, stationery and decorations that truly stand out from the crowd – so, fittingly, paper and card are the most favoured materials used. Click here to learn more about the different types and sizes of paper and card available, as well as recommended weights for specific techniques!