Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air of your imagination.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently I shared a card where I used embossing powder as a resist. While the technique on the card is really cool in person, it didn’t really show in the photo that well because the stamping was dark. The technique is really more dramatic on a light background or when working with lighter colored ink. I decided the technique would be a good on for a tutorial. I first learned this technique when I attended Ranger U in 2010. I have been in love with it ever since. I hope you will love it too!
As always, a complete supply list with resource links is at the very bottom of the post.
For this project start with a white or light-colored tag. For my tag, I die cut a tag using the Tim Holtz Sizzix Tag & Bookplate die and heavyweight smooth white cardstock. Stamp your design onto the tag using embossing ink. (It is difficult to see in this photo, but the design is stamped in the lower left corner of the tag.)
Sprinkle clear embossing powder onto the stamped design. Tap off the excess powder. (I keep my clear embossing powder in a plastic container with a snap on lid. I leave a plastic spoon in the container that I use to sprinkle the powder onto my project. I hold the project over the container so that the excess goes right back in to it. It is so much easier than dealing with trays and small jars.)
Heat the embossing powder until it melts.
After melting, your design will be glossy and clear. Instead of stamping with embossing ink, you can also stamp with any color of Distress Ink. Because Distress Ink stays wet longer than some other types of inks, dry embossing powder will cling to it.
Continue stamping and embossing as desired. I prefer to do sections at a time and not have entire surface covered in powder all at once. When I try to do that and have to handle the piece to melt it, I always end up getting a finger in the unmelted powder, messing up my design.
After stamping and embossing, use an ink blending tool to apply Distress Ink to the tag. For this tag, Squeezed Lemonade is on the upper half and Scattered Straw is on the lower half.
Apply Rusty Hinge Distress Ink to the upper left and lower right corners. You will notice as you add ink that the stamped design resists the ink, keeping the stamped image white. If a colored ink is used to stamp and emboss, the stamped image will remain the original stamped color.
Ink a stamp with Distress Ink and stamp over the embossed design. In my example I used Rusty Hinge Distress Ink with the scratched texture.
A dry towel rubbed over the embossed surface will remove the freshly stamped ink, making the new image appear as if it is behind the embossed image.
Layer as many stamped images as desired over the embossed image. In my example I used Gathered Twigs Distress Ink with the wildflower design.
Place the tag on an iron proof surface. Cover the tag with newsprint paper. You can buy newsprint paper in most art supply stores. I often use packing paper from shipping boxes. Sandwich the tag between two pieces of newsprint.
Iron over the paper with the tag inside using a hot iron with no steam.
As the embossing powder on the tag melts it will soak into the paper. If you open the paper to look, make sure to place clean paper over the front of the tag before re-heating so that you don’t re-deposit the embossing powder on the tag.
Peel the newsprint away from the front of the tag. If it sticks, re-heat that area and peel the paper away while it is hot.
With the embossing powder removed, the original stamped image remains in the “front” with the added colors and images falling behind it.
The original image is very crisp and clean. You can see that the back ground ink goes on a little heavier (which equals darker color) around edges of the embossing powder. After the embossing is removed, the heavier areas of ink create really nice shadowing.
To finish this tag, apply Vintage Photo Distress Ink with an ink blending tool to the edges. For darker emphasis, rake the ink pad directly onto the tag on the edges also.
Sprinkle clear embossing powder on the edges of the tag in the wet ink.
Heat the powder to melt it. The clear embossing powder intensifies the edge coloring and gives the tag a bold edge that frames the finished design.
Stamp the desire phrase onto the tag. On my tag, I tapped my alphabet stamps in both Rusty Hinge and Black Soot Distress Ink so that the letters would have hints of both colors.
While the ink is wet, apply clear embossing powder to the letters. Heat the powder to melt it. Adding embossing powder to the letters helps intensify the color and makes the letters stand out.
Stamp a butterfly image on a scrap of white cardstock. Color the image with Distress Markers. Dry the ink with a heat tool. Mist the butterfly with Biscotti Perfect Pearls Mist. Blot the excess mist away with a dry cloth. (The splattered design around the butterfly was an experiment with a airbrush tool with a Distress Ink Marker. The effect was lost when I misted the tag so I cut that step. I’ll revisit it again on another project.)
Cut out the butterfly image. Ink around the edges to cover the white edges.
Adhere a small adhesive foam square to the upper center back of the butterfly. Place a dot of wet glue below the foam square.
Adhere the butterfly to the tag with the adhesive foam square. Press the lower part of the butterfly down, holding it until it is adhered to the tag.
I love, love, love the way this tag turned out. The crisp white intricate design with the images behind is so pretty!
I think that every time I use this technique I still feel a bit of awe over the finished effect. I think the shadowing that happens around the edges might be my favorite. Look at in on this corner, seriously cool!
I have shown these embossed ink edges a lot lately. I am addicted to the look of it! I love the crisp bold and glossy touch it adds.
I love adhering pieces at an angle like this, it adds a nice touch of dimension without the piece looking like it is just floating above the surface.
When I finished with my tag I decided that wanted a touch more color on the large letters in my sentiment. I accidentally smeared the ink on one letter. To make it match, I then purposely smeared a few others. I am not sure I like it, but what can you do? You can’t undo it so you have to embrace it, after all, there are no mistakes in art.