Dry Embossing:

Begin by placing the stencil on the front of the paper and securing with removable tape. Turn the paper over onto a light source (light table, window or any glass that will let you view the stencil).

Rub the back of the paper with a small piece of waxed paper. This makes the tool glide smoothly over the paper and will help to keep the paper from tearing. Using the embossing tool, outline the design only. No need to fill in the open spaces.


Paste Embossing:

This technique is great for any stencil project!! You can add color to the paste (works especially well with the translucent paste), leave it as is, or apply color once it has dried. No need for a light source when working with the embossing paste. However you need to work quickly before the paste has time to set up on the bridgework of the stencil.

Position stencil on card. Starting at the top of the stencil with a "hinge" (one complete piece of removable tape across the top of the whole stencil), then along each side and one piece across the bottom of stencil. Also tape out  any unwanted design area on the stencil.

Pick up paste on the bottom of metal palette knife and smooth over the stencil's cut out areas as if applying icing to a cake. With a light touch scrape off the excess paste, smoothing as you go.

Remove stencil immediately by removing the bottom tape first, then the sides and last of all, the "hinge". Carefully lift the bottom of the stencil, using the hinge to keep from damaging the paste area.

Let dry thoroughly (approximately 40-60 minutes). At this time the color will show if you have added color medium to the paste, or if you want to add color, reposition stencil over design and apply color of choice.

Be sure to clean stencil and palette knife immediately by placing in water and scrubbing with vegetable or nail brush. If it has started to dry on stencil you can remove by soaking with a type of cleaner like Simple Green™.

Machine Embossing:

DRY EMBOSSING USING A MACHINE - courtesy of Lynell Harlow

I know people have complained that the new embossing machines are bending or curling their
metal stencils, so here is a recipe for success. The machines are designed to create an embossed
image by layering a stack of thick plates, a stencil, a rubber mat and cardstock on top of
each other and then to roll this stack of materials through the machine with a crank or handle.
If you place the stencil toward the top of this layered "stack", without the protection of a hard
plate close to the internal roller inside the machine, your stencil may bend. My suggestion is to
not use the instructions that come with your machine, but rather use the following order for
layering your stack...this should protect your stencil.

1. The thickest plate that comes with the machine should be on the bottom, this is usually a
white plate or platform about 1/2" thick.

2. Next center the stencil face down on this thick plate and use a couple pieces of removable
tape to position it in place, this too is important in the process of keeping your stencil from
bending or shifting. Be sure to place the tape at the very edge of the cardstock. This will keep it
from being impressed or embossed into your work.

3. Spray the back of your cardstock with rubbing alcohol or "Paper Glide".

4. Place this paper face down against the stencil (so the sprayed side is not touching the stencil)
and position it with a couple of pieces of removable tape at the very edges.

5. Lay the "Stamping Details" rubber mat on top, this is a slightly thicker mat that you have to
purchase separately from the one that comes with the machine (we sell this mat and you can
purchase it at your local papercrafting stores.)

6. The last layer in the stack consists of two thinner acrylic plates that come with the machine
and are often referred to as "cutting plates". (It is better to use plates that are not overused or
warped, because this could cause your stencil to curl.) Now place these on top of the rubber.

7. Now crank this stack through your machine. You shouldn't have to shove or force this process.
(Forcing could cause a machine breakdown or cause your plates to warp.)
You may need to adjust the layering of the last two plates if you are fi nding that it needs to be
forced through the machine. You want the pressure to be fi rm, but not too tight. If it is too
loose going through you may need to add "shims" to raise your stack. These could be one or
more pieces of cardstock or a piece of chipboard. I like to place my shims between the rubber
mat and the last two acrylic plates. Some machines have two different thicknesses of the clear
plates and you just have to try a variation to see what makes the layers go through your
specific machine firmly.