Embossing with the ScanNCut – No Kit Required
There are two main types of embossing we can use our cutters for.
Line embossing where you just deboss the outlines or details of a design; and Area embossing for solid areas of raised or sunken embossing/debossing. Debossing is where a design is pushed into a surface while embossing is raised from the original surface.
The easiest way to think of area embossing is as a embossing folder; however, rather than having a hinge and mirrored sides, we are going to create an embossing panel and use the die embossing sandwich of our die cutting machine. If you don’t have a die cutting machine, you could just use a rubber embossing mat and a rolling pin.
Creating the area embossing panel
You are going to be cutting card to build your own embossing panel. We recommend using 300gsm smooth card and 2-3 design layers, but you can use a thinner card and compensate with more layers. You should use scrap card to save wasting expensive card. These panels can be used multiple times making them suitable for bulk crafting like invites, etc.
Start with a plain piece of card that is the same size as your platform or card base (whichever is smaller). You will build your design elements on to this card.
Next, you need to create your design; this could be a repeating background design, a design panel or a word. You could use any SVG file for this, or use one (or more) of the built-in designs. As you are just starting with this technique we will keep it simple with an equal amount of layers across your design. You want to keep your designs bold without too much detail; if you are working with text, for example, you want to make sure the centres of letters like Os, Ps etc are not too small.
Load your base panel onto your cutting mat, and set your design to draw. Draw this onto your panel as a guide for adhering your design; this ensures accurate placement for repeat patterns and text designs. You can draw with a water-based pen for this project to avoid lead or ink transferring to your finished project.
As we’ve drawn a guide, our cut pieces can be moved closer together for cutting. You need 2-3 copies of each shape and use the material saving functions on your ScanNCut to fit these pieces into as little card as you can. Once cut, remove the pieces from the mat.
For the most accurate panel, adhere your copies together first so you can concentrate on accurate stacking. You want the sides of your pieces lined up and smooth as much as possible; this will be worth it when embossing your design. Adhere your glued pieces to the base panel, aligning them carefully to your drawn outline.
Place your embossing panel, bumpy side up, underneath the material you want to emboss (good side up). Place your embossing mat over the top and build the rest of your sandwich as per your die-cutting machine. Run it through your die-cutter, and voila!
To push a design into your material, we have to work the other way around.
Create your design but this time you need to flip it as if you are going to be using HTV. This is especially important with text or directional designs so they appear correctly at the end.
Draw the flipped design onto your backing plate and then cut out the flipped pieces as per the embossing method. Assemble the panel in the same way.
When debossing, start with your embossing mat, then your material good side up, then your embossing panel bumpy side down. Complete your sandwich and run through your machine.
Types of area embossing design
For this process, you can use bold, large 1-2 word sentiments/text, background patterns or bold design elements. Here are some ideas in their digital and embossed forms…
As you start to get confident with this method, you can start to play with multi-layered designs for 3D embossing folder effects. You can even use texture paste to smooth the transitions between layers for truly 3D embossing folder styles.
You can also use stencil designs as embossing folders too but you may need to use a shim to get enough pressure.
Line embossing works best with an embossing mat which you can create with an old mat, double-sided adhesive and craft foam sheet(s). Apply the adhesive to the sticky areas of your mat only! Place your foam over the top and adhere it down well. Leave to cure for a little while as the foam will be under some pressure while in use.
Create your design so only outlines are drawn, only very small elements should be allowed to fill such as variable line width elements in script.
Debossing you can just send to draw, embossing will need to be flipped and sent to draw.
Moving to your embossing mat, tape your material for embossing to the foam using masking tape to all 4 edges. Import your design and use background scan. Select all your design and group, move it to match your material placement, checking no part of your design overlaps the tape. For embossing, place material good side down, debossing good side up.
Draw settings for embossing will vary by material, but it is one of the few times my machine gets into positive pressure: pressure 6 speed 1. If you are working with a dark material, white core material and materials prone to cracking (vellum etc) you are better to do several passes with less pressure starting at 2 and building up so your material stretches rather than cracks.
Once embossed, you can highlight with a patina cream or pastels, debossing can be enhanced using ink onto a gel plate or applied directly with a brayer.