Faux Letterpress with the ScanNCut

Faux Letterpress with the ScanNCut main article image
Posted on November 16, 2021 by Natalie Ballard

You may be familiar with the faux letterpress technique you can use with embossing folders. If not, this is where we ink up one side of the embossing folder using a stamp pad. You then run your cardstock through as normal, so the ink prints into the debossed areas. This technique works best with pigment inks and we’ve demonstrated this in a live video before now.

Moving on

Obviously, when we are working with embossing folders we are working onto plastic. This non-absorbent surface is perfect for holding the ink prior to embossing. However, when we cut embossing “folders” on our ScanNCut we typically cut from card. This means we have to change our method. Here is a different approach that you can use with both your cut embossing folders and pre-embossed card.

How to cut embossing folders on your ScanNCut, Silhouette, or Cricut

Firstly, we need to create the embossing “folder” itself. Now, rather than creating a hinged folder, we create a flat embossing plate built up of 3-5 layers of card; this depends on desired depth and the thickness of the card you are using to build your plate.

  1. Choose or create a bold design; this will be easier for beginners to do this effect. Decide whether to use it as a positive or negative design. If you are using text, consider the orientation of your text as you may need to flip the design for it to read correctly. You will want your filled area to be sunken. You can use any bold font or icon design as a starting point.
  2. Cut your chosen option 3-5 times from card as well as a solid panel to stick your pieces to.
  3. Using your die cutting machine and its embossing die (rather than embossing folder) sandwich, emboss your chosen card with the design. Your sandwich will look something like base plate, embossing plate with design upwards, card, embossing mat (rubber), and top plate. This sandwich will vary by machine so refer to your instructions. If you need your embossing to go deeper, use a card shim.
  4. Hey, presto, you have an embossed piece of card and the first stage of the process is complete.

Cutting the embossing plate

Adding the ink

As we used a card-based embossing plate, we can’t ink the plate. Instead, we have to think a little outside the box.

Method 1: Texture Gel

Texture gel is great for printing with due to its viscosity. We can also use this trait to “fill in” uneven surfaces, and it works great to bring out the designs in embossed materials in an unusual way. Texture gel is available in a wide range of colours, textures, and finishes which gives us a huge scope for creativity in our projects.

The texture paste panel

  1. Place your embossed card on your desk so the areas you want colour in are sunken away from you. You will want to have waste paper or a messy mat beneath your card to catch excess gel.
  2. With a wide icing scraper/spatula, apply a little gel along the edge slightly wider than your design.
  3. Pull the scraper down your card pushing the gel into the sunken areas. Try to do all areas in one pass if you can, but you can add more gel and pass all over again.
  4. Set aside to dry overnight and then flatten when dry.

For this project, I used Pretty Out There in Wipeout by Pretty Gets Gritty as it gives a lovely all-over shimmer.

Close up of effect

Method 2: Fill in with enamel paint

Enamel paint is a pourable paint that we can use to fill recessed areas in a project. Combine with a nail art brush to really get into the nooks and crannies of a piece. You can also use pigment powders with gel medium adding a little water to loosen the viscosity if needed.

  1. Place your embossed card on your desk and have a piece of palette paper or a palette to one side.
  2. Pour some enamel paint onto the palette, you can also add enamel directly to larger areas.
    Applying the enamel
  3. Using a fine brush, embossing tool, or nail art tool, pull the enamel into the edges of your design.
  4. You can use multiple colours to a design, so have fun and experiment.

For this project, I used Get Crackled Enamel in Grass by Pretty Gets Gritty. This enamel will eventually crackle more than you see if the photos here give a different look again.

The finished project

For the background, I used the texture gel method with an embossed piece of card using an embossing folder. Embossing folders are great for repeating patterns, as the plate assembly isn’t always accurate. Cut this slightly smaller than your chosen card blank and you can use wet glue to attach the dry piece to your card.

With the enameled piece, once dry, you can cut out a tag shape around it. To this tag, you can add thread or ribbon, and even an eyelet or reinforcer to decorate.

Add your decorative elements to finish off your card using stamps, die-cuts, or cut files. You can also simply matte and layer with coloured card and decorative tape.

Finished faux letterpress card

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