If you want to give your handmade cards an attractive 3D finish one of the techniques you can use is embossing.
There are 2 kinds of embossing: heat and dry embossing. For the first you need a heat gun and embossing powders and for the second you need stencils and an embossing tool.
Dry embossing tools Heat embossing tools
I'm going to start by demonstrating the heat embossing technique.
1 - The first step is to gather all the tools/materials you'll need. Choose a rubber stamp, have your embossing ink pad ready, choose the embossing powder you want and have your heat gun all set up to go.
2 - Apply the rubber stamp to the ink pad and stamp the image on the paper.
3 - Quickly sprinkle the embossing powder over the stamped image making sure it's well covered.
4 - Pour the excess powder back into the container to avoid any waste.
When sprinkling the embossing powder over the stamped image, do it over a piece of paper big enough and with a crease down the middle, this will make it easier to pour the excess powder back into the container.
5 - Melt the embossing powder with the heat gun. When the powder starts to melt move the heat gun slowly to the next section of the image until it's all done. You should have a raised glittery image like the one below.
Now for the dry embossing technique you'll need stencils and an embossing tool.
1 - Place the piece of paper/cardstock you want to emboss between the 2 layers of your stencil making sure it stays in place.
2 - With the embossing tool start tracing the outline of the image chosen. Be careful not to make too much pressure so the paper doesn't tear. Go over the outline 2 or 3 times so you have a noticeable raised effect. The finished embossed image can then be used on your project.
Note: If using brass stencils (like the ones below) you'll need a light box to emboss on any material that's not see through. Place the paper/cardstock on the stencil and keep it in place with Blue Tack. Again, go over the outline with the embossing tool.
If you want to use an embossed piece of paper or cardstock as background for your cards I find that the easiest way is to use embossing folders like the ones below for the Sizzix BigShot. You simply place the paper/cardstock in the folder and run this through your BigShot to get a lovely embossed image.
* When heat embossing try to handle the paper/cardstock as little as possible as otherwise the embossing powder will adhere to other parts of the paper besides the stamped image. Before melting the embossing powder remove any specks with a thin paint brush.
* You can colour in your embossed images using markers, colouring pencils, chalks, etc.
* Practice your embossing techniques on scraps of paper until you feel confident.
* Try mixing embossing powders of different colours to create new tones. Use a small resealable bag for this.
Here are a few examples of cards and other projects using both heat and dry embossing.
Card with heat embossed flowers Heat embossed embellishments used to decorate an envelope
Dry embossing on vellum using stencils
Both these cards use backrgound images embossed with embossing folders from Sizzix