Here is the next installment in the series of articles where I am focusing on the core products that I can’t live without for crafting. As with all things it is a matter of personal taste and which colours or products you choose will be driven mainly by the style of crafting that you enjoy.
If you wish to add some dimension to your stamping then heat embossing is a good place to start. I will do a detailed tutorial on how to emboss for next week but put simply, you stamp your image with a slow drying ink, and then cover the image with embossing powder. You use a heat tool to melt the powder and you will be left with a raised image, whether the image is glossy or mat will depend on the type of embossing powder that you use.
The first thing you will need if you wish to heat emboss is a heat tool, this is used to melt the powder. Do not use a hair dryer it is not hot enough and will blow the powder off the page. I have tried holding the paper over a hot light bulb, burnt my fingers and it could cause a fire, same is true of putting your paper under the grill. NOT a good idea it is messy and less effective. For the sake of about £20 buy a heat tool! My favourite and I’ve had mine for over 5 years is the Heat It Craft tool by Ranger http://www.rangerink.com/products/prod_tools_heatit.htm
My must haves’s would be
If you like to work on dark cardstocks add a white.
I mainly use the regular powders, but I have another set of the above in the Detailed powders too. The granuals in the detail powders are much finer and are better for detailed images.
There are also powders available with much larger granuals and these are used for deep (or Triple)embossing. Although you can achieve a deep emboss with any powder by repeatedly adding additonal powder while the earlier layers of powder is still wet, by using the deep embossing powders you won’t need as many layers. An example of this type of powder is, Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel.
UTEE or Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel
This has the largest available granuals and melts to form a thick layer, best used on heavy card or chip board/ mount bord etc the result will look like an enamelled or ceramic tile. Check out links to Suzie W’s site for more details on this. Although this is available in many colours my tip, unless you are very into this particular branch of crafting is to just buy the Clear UTEE, as once you have melted the first layer you can add your regular powders to the melted powder and it will change colour (as long as your powder was opaque)
Additonal colours and speciality powders become a matter of personal tase, if you like glitter you can get embossing powders that contain glitter. The advantage of them is that there is no glitter falling off your project once it is heated. Tim Holtz has brought out a range of Distress Powders, these are a bit different to regular embossing powders in that firsly they are matt finishes rather than shiney and also the powder contains resin crystals. Shake these powders before each use to distribute the resin, emboss as normal then once you have melted the powder on your project and allowed it to cool, rub over the image with your finger and the resin crystals will lift off, leaving a ‘distressed’ image. DO NOT return the powder you rub off to the jar! It is spent crystals which will not work for a second time. ;)
Add to your colour pallet as your taste and projects dictate, remember that a clear powder will show the ink colour that was used beneath it, so you don’t need hundreds of colours of powders….unless you want to ;)
Protecting Your Worksurface from Heat
It is very important to protect the surface on which you are working from the heat that the heat tool will produce. I know a lot of people swear by the Craft Sheet but since this is essentially a product originally designed to line backing trays etc it will transmit heat through the sheet so will not protect your table. I use a glass Surface Protector from Lakeland, the kitchen suppliers in the UK, they do have a mail order service.
It is a glass sheet on little feet, the sheet is therefore raised just above the table and this has sucessfully worked for me for YEARS. I would not recommend stamping on this though as it is textured.
http://www.stampendous.com/plusfdr/ep.html Stampendous, this has a photo tutorial next to the products
http://www.rangerink.com/products/prod_emboss_distress.htm Distress powder from Tim H at Ranger
http://www.schmoozewithsuze.com/index.php Suze Weinberg’s website there are links to videos where she demo’s UTEE
Still with me, thanks for reading and see you next week
Billie :) xx