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Exploring Womanhood > Heart of the Home > Hobbies > scrapbooking

Dry Embossing
by Vicki Molzan

What is "dry embossing" you ask?

Dry Embossing is the practice of creating a raised shape onto paper, adding dimension. This is usually done for the purpose of scrapbooking or card making.

The tools you'll need:

  • Stylus or an Empressor (Both can be bought at most craft stores)
  • A light table (Can be bought at most craft stores) or a window
  • Stencils (plastic or brass)
  • Paper (Cardstock, Vellum, etc. Although thicker usually turns out better.)
  • Painter's tape (found in most hardware or paint stores)
  • Chalks of colored pencils (optional - not required)

Getting Started:

1. Place the stencil either directly on your light table, or up on a bright window during the daytime. Use painter's tape to adhere stencil into place. Light tables are always easier to use. But if you do not have one, using a window will work fine. Windows are better for practicing this technique on, to see if you even like doing it before investing in a light table. Light Tables (on average) run about $30.00.

2. Now, once you've taped the stencil into place, lay your paper on top of the stencil. Position into position with the "front" of your paper facing towards the stencil. You should be looking down directly at the backside of your paper.

3. Gently press the dry embossing tool onto the paper where the cut out area of the stencil is. Slowly begin tracing around the inside edge of the stencil design. Running the Stylus or Empressor just along the edge. Use the large or small end of the embossing tool depending on the size of the design piece that you are tracing over. You should begin to see an indentation of the stenciled design. When finished, you will have achieved a gorgeous raised effect on the front side of your paper or card.

You did it!

Wasn't that unbelievably easy? Now even you can create this simple, yet ultra fancy looking technique that's used by many professional scrapper's. There are so many ways you can apply dry embossing into your scrapbooks or card making.

Here I'll name just a few:

You can emboss background patterns onto your pages.

Emboss fancy borders either around your pages, or around mattes surrounding your photos. Many craft stores carry border stencils.

Emboss letters onto title squares for another neat effect.

Embellish the edges of a journaling area (create an edge embossed box for example). Or a host of other shapes with which you may journal in. (Hearts, circles, ovals, stars, and the list goes on and on!) You can find just the right shape to fit into your page theme.

A beautiful effect on an embossed project is the hint of subtle color to highlight the embossed area. You can achieve this by lightly dusting the embossed area with chalk, or by lightly shading with a colored pencil. Keeping it light looks best. Colored too dark causes it to look overdone and removes the accentuation the embossing.

Another quick tip:

Should you not be able to run to the store to buy a Stylus or an Empressor, I've found that any pen sized rounded edge will work beautifully. For instance, the first time I tried this myself; I used my daughter's blo-pen with the cap on. I used the actual capped end to emboss with. And it worked remarkably well!

Dry embossing is an absolutely gorgeous technique. It works great for many different kinds of scrapbook pages. I find it especially appropriate for antique, heritage and wedding albums. It gives off a very classic look. It's simple to do, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg for materials. So why not try it out for yourself?

Vicki MolzanCopyright 2001 by Vicki Molzan. All rights reserved. Vicki Molzan is a married mother of four children, who enjoys working from home running her scrapbooking website and writing freelance. She's the founder of Scrapperrific - a global scrapbooking and rubber stamping community. Visit this cozy community, experience their fun "Cookie Culture". Learn new scrapbooking and rubber stamping techniques, enjoy contests, participate in swaps, and meet others from all around the globe who share in this same scrap-passion.

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