Selective Embossing Technique20th November 2018
Partial or Selective embossing technique
Create eye-catching designs and try out a new technique with our step-by-step guide to selective embossing.
Partial embossing or selective embossing (if you prefer!) is a fun technique that allows you to dry emboss card whilst keeping part of it free and clear from embossing. Designer Simonne Clay takes you step-by-step through the selective embossing technique
There are different ways to achieve this effect, and by far the easiest method is by inserting only a portion of your card into your embossing folder before running it through your die-cutting machine, thereby leaving the remaining card un-embossed. You can create embossed borders from full embossing folders using this technique.
Embossing Diffuser for partial embossing or embossing a shape into plain card
If you wish to create a frame of embossed card whilst leaving the centre un-embossed, or emboss a shape into plain card, you will need to use an embossing diffuser. Embossing diffusers are pieces of thin plastic or chipboard cut into the shape you want to emboss. You can purchase ready-made diffusers, such as the Sizzix Embossing Diffuser 3 packs, (refs 657945 and 660245) or make your own using chipboard, as I have done.
To create a frame diffuser, simply trim a piece of chipboard to the size of the front of the embossing folder and cut out the shape that you want to be un-embossed, eg an oval, from the piece of chipboard. Lay the diffuser on top of the embossing folder before sandwiching them between your die-cutting machine plates, then roll the sandwich through your machine.
The pressure of the die-cutting machine will be applied to the surface of the diffuser only and therefore the cut out part will remain un-embossed. You can also use the waste piece of chipboard in the same way to emboss a shape onto card whilst leaving the rest of the card un-embossed.
Experiment with scraps of card before creating your final embossed pieces so as to ascertain the exact sandwich you need to use with your particular die-cutting machine. Some embossing folders such as Spellbinders folders are thicker than other embossing folders, such as Cuttlebug embossing folders. Therefore, you will need to adjust your embossing sandwich accordingly. Most manufacturers have an Embossing Compatibility Guide on their website which gives sandwich recommendations for most die-cutting machines.
Step-by-Step Partial Embossing Tutorial
Step 1. Die-cut an 8.5×6.4cm oval from the centre of a 15.2×11.3cm piece of chipboard.
Step 2. Insert a 15x13cm piece of white cardstock into an embossing folder.
Step 3. Fix the card to the bottom flap of the embossing folder by taping around the edges with Washi tape, close the embossing folder, line up the chipboard on top of the closed embossing folder and tape into place. Emboss.
Step 4. Open the embossing folder, but leave the white card taped to the bottom flap. Ink the inside of the top flap of the embossing folder with Oasis Green ink, being careful not to ink the central oval.
Step 5. Close the embossing folder. Emboss to transfer the ink to the embossed card to create a faux letterpress effect.
Step 6. Trim the inked and embossed piece to 13.9×10.8cm. Tape an 8.5×6.4cm oval die to the centre using Washi tape. Run through the die-cutting machine using an embossing sandwich to emboss an oval outline in the centre of the inked panel.
Step 7. Add piercing around the inside of the edge of the embossed oval outline. Layer the panel onto a 14.2×11.1mm piece of Mint Macaron cardstock, affix to the centre of a 14.8×11.7cm card base. Stamp a sentiment in the centre of the un-embossed oval using Oasis Green ink.
Step 8. Add a green seam binding bow in the top-left corner and paper flowers in the bottom-right corner to finish.
Top tips for partial Embossing
When inking embossing folders, be sure to tape your card to the bottom flap of the embossing folder and dry emboss it first. Apply ink to the inside of the front of the embossing folder (the front usually has some kind of text printed on it, e.g. the name of the manufacturer), and then run it through your die-cutting machine a second time.
Taping the cardstock in place allows you to open the embossing folder, re-ink and re-emboss as many times as desired
Pigment inks tend to work best when inking embossing folders as they cling to the plastic. When applying the ink, lightly ‘pounce’ the inkpad onto the embossing folder. Avoid pressing too hard, else unwanted ink will be transferred into the grooves of the design which need to be kept un-inked
If you are not achieving a deep enough embossed impression, consider adding shims to your sandwich before running it through your die-cutting machine to increase the pressure
This article first appeared in Simply Cards & Papercraft Issue 174