Embossing: the Easy Way to Amazing Texture

Front view of card featuring dry and wet embossing


Have you ever looked at a finished card and thought, “Something’s missing, but what?”

You’ve used layers and colors, and maybe you’ve even loaded it up with embellishments. Yet something still seems to be missing. You have a feeling you need to add texture, but how? And where?

Say hello to embossing.

Embossing is a little bit magic

Today’s project is a birthday card that highlights two types of embossing – dry, and heat. In the most basic terms…

  • dry embossing involves a thin material enclosed in a special “embossing folder” and hand rolled through a special machine. The pressure imprints, or “embosses,” the pattern onto both sides of the material. Card stock is commonly used, but embossers also work well on tissue paper, thin leather, crafting foil and acetate ribbon.
  • heat embossing involves stamping or writing with a special ink, applying embossing powder to it, then heating the design with a heating tool until the powder melts, thus creating a raised effect. This creates texture and dimension to stamped images and, depending on the powder, also creates sparkle or shine.

We will explore both types of embossing in more detail in future blogs posts, along with the subject of dies and die cuts such as those used on this card’s greeting panels (there are three die-cut layers). Today is all about how it adds texture to cards.

I personally love embossing. Watching the design appear, either from heat or intense pressure, is always a magical moment. In fact, most of my projects involve it in one way or another. Which brings me to today’s card.

Close up view of sentiment panel on birthday card made shiny with copper embossing powder heated until it melted.
Heat embossing is great for intricate images.

I made this one for a dear friend. She’s not the frilly frou frou type, but I knew she’d appreciate a bit of glitz and glamour, and that’s where heat embossing comes in. It adds a lovely sparkle and shine in the most elegantly subtle way. And it’s fun to do! I never get tired of watching the dull powder melt into a shiny design. As for the dry embossing…

Close up of dry embossing plus the small twine bow and gemstone
Dry embossing dresses everything up without a lot of razzmatazz.

Doesn’t it add a beautiful texture to the background panel? When you’re faced with a panel that seems ho-hum, try dry embossing. There are so many ways to dress even that up, but today we’ll stick with the basics.

Embellishments can be simpler

Normally I tend to pile on the decorations, but when embossing is involved, I often go slightly simpler. However, I couldn’t resist the tiny multi-loop bow made with twine and the addition of a couple of itty bitty punched tags, topped with a red pearl brad. Yes, a brad. Because the holes in the tags were too small for the twine to go through, so I faked it and attached them with some teeny tiny glue dots. I then stuck a decorative brad on top to disguise the trickery. (I snipped off the ends of the brad first since it wouldn’t be puncturing anything.) A couple of contrasting banners complete the decoration.

As usual, I’ve inked the edges of some of the papers. However, I didn’t add stitching this time because I felt the textured paper plus the glimmery greeting, PLUS the tiny bow added enough texture.

Here are a few more examples

Here are a few more from my old blog. Can you spot the embossing? (Remember, it could be using either the heat or dry methods. Or both!)

Card showing winter scene in shades of black, white and grey
Dry embossed gray layer and heat embossed image

Dry embossed background swiped with sparkly ink

A different shape for a guy’s card, heat embossed with gold metallic powder. (This was a gift card holder.)

Always in good taste

So there you have it. Embossing can almost always add a perfect note of texture to just about any card. I find the more I create, the more I use it. It’s just that useful.

Angled view of card showing stamped interior
I stamped a bit on the inside but left enough space for a message to the birthday girl.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re making cards and wondering how to add some texture and a bit of zing, try embossing. Do dry, do heat, or do both! Then share your creations in the comment section.

We’re waiting for you!

You might also like…

An Easel Card with Texture
How I Made a Star-Studded Graduation Card with No Star Punches or Dies
A Masculine Anniversary Card Rich with Color and Texture

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