Digital Stamps Series | Post #2: Heat Embossing – Non Traditional |Alex Syberia Designs Release

I have heard quite a few times that one of the bummers about digital stamps is that you can’t heat emboss with them. NOT TRUE!!! One simply has to be determined enough to find a way!

For those of you that aren’t that familiar with digi stamps or have not tried to heat emboss something coming off your printer, you might wonder why people think you can’t heat emboss digital images. After all, won’t the embossing powder just stick to the ink from the printer if you’re quick enough?

Well, hmmm….how to explain? Here’s what my experience has been:

First off, while I can definitely foil digital images that are printed on a laser printer, I have found that the dry laser toner powder that melts under laminater heat and allows foil to stick to it won’t hold the embossing powder on the image. It’s dry.

It seems that if you have a fairly new inkjet printer, the technology has moved in the direction of fast-drying inks. Back when I first started cardmaking in 2017, I had an older printer that I had purchased in 2014. I had enough time to stand at the printer with embossing powder ready, snag the printout the moment it came off the printer, and douse it with the embossing powder. No problem. If I tried that with what I’ll term a newer inkjet printer, the embossing powder would only stick to part of the printed image. I actually have a setting in my new printer that allows me to dial up or down the drying time. Even on the slowest setting, the part of the image that came off the printer first will have already dried enough to not be able to hold the embossing powder.

Since I work with digital stamps often, and since I love heat embossing, I researched what other crafters have done. What I found is that, while some of those posts and videos gave me some great inspiration, they didn’t work with my printers. I don’t know if it is because my technology is a little more current or if I am just too much of a clutz. My failure in my attempts with others’ methods led me to experiment for myself and find the best alternatives that should work with any printer that I may have now or in the near future.

I’m going to share what I have found, but, I must warn you….it got long. (Imagine that! – a long post from MOI!) Well, this time, I’m going to split my findings into two parts. In this post, I will provide a couple of examples of ways to heat emboss digital stamps onto somewhat non-traditional substrates – or at least ones that you can’t really color in a more mainstream way. In the next post, I will share a few more ideas that will provide a more traditional coloring look.

Card #1:

For my first card, I used the Tulips image in the latest Alex Syberia Designs release. Here’s a look at the digital image:

Alex Syberia Design Tulip Digital Stamp

I have found that, as with clear or rubber stamp designs, many designers of digital stamps have Angel policies that do not allow the users to alter their illustrations in any way. Luckily, Alex recognizes that our projects need to make our hearts sing, so she has graciously given me her permission to alter her images. Whenever I’m in doubt of whether I’ve gone too far, I always check with her before I post my alterations.

I wanted many more tulips for my card, so I pruned parts of this image, cloned other parts and ultimately came up with the following design:

Alex Syberia Design Tulip Multiplied to Tulip Garden

I knew I wanted to heat emboss this tulip garden onto a watercolored blue ombre background that I had created using Distress reinkers in Chipped Sapphire, Mermaid Lagoon, and Salty Ocean. I also knew that, in order for embossing powder to adhere to the image, the printout had to be wet when the embossing powder is applied. That ruled out my laser printer, as the laser toner is itself a powder and is dry. It also ruled out my inkjet printer, since it is a newer model that takes ink that dries too quickly.

Well, if I can’t make adjustments to my printer, I need to make adjustments to what I print ON. I figured that non-porous surfaces must allow the ink to stay wet for longer. Since acetate is non-porous and is clear, I should be able to print on it, heat emboss it, and have the look of heat embossing on a watercolor panel. The first product I tried was the Hot Off the Press Heat Resistant Acetate. I’ve used this before & knew it could handle heat embossing. Um NOPE. You can’t print on this stuff on an inkjet printer. It just beads up and makes a mess.

Next, I tried some Grafix Ink Jet Film that I had cut to 5×7″. I knew that this stuff could hold the ink, but, in the past, it couldn’t handle my heat tool. However, now, I have the Wow Dual Speed Heat Tool! The lower setting should keep the acetate from warping. I cleaned the fingerprints and lint off the 5×7″ piece of film with a microfiber cloth, liberally treated it with an anti-static powder pouch, set up my Hero Arts Embossing Powder in Brass (my go-to gold embossing powder, since it matches my gold Sakura Gelly Roll pen, if touch ups are needed) right next to my inkjet printer, and printed my Tulip Garden. As soon as the acetate came out of the printer, it got a dunking with my embossing powder. And VOILA!!!

Alex Syberia Tulip Garden Heat Emboss Digital Stamp on Acetate

Sorry for the odd angle and dark shadows, but HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO PHOTOGRAPH ACETATE???!!! It took me HOURS to capture this one shot that didn’t directly reflect the light or my camera or my head!!!

To finish off the card, I dragged my Versamark inkpad around the outer borders of both my acetate panel and my background panel, then dunked all of the borders in the same gold embossing powder. I gave the watercolored background panel a spritz of my solution of Ranger Perfect Pearls Perfect Gold and water, allowed it to dry completely, then glued the two panels together by placing pinpoints of Ranger Multi Medium Matte around the embossed edge of the acetate.

I did not add a sentiment, because…well, the world we currently live in….😪

I was so excited about my success, I immediately wanted to share my discovery! But first, I wanted to try a few other non-porous surfaces.

Card #2:

I remembered a video that I saw a while back of a technique that I’ve been since itching to try. It was Jennifer McGuire’s Faux Etched Metal technique, in which she stamped an image onto a matte foil cardstock and heat embossed it carefully with clear embossing powder. I thought, OK, she has shown the foil can handle a bit of heat, but can you print on it? I grabbed some of my DCWV Metallics Mat Stack Foils and tried it. The answer….YES!!!

Alex Syberia Tulip Garden Heat Emboss Digital Stamp on Foil
Alex Syberia Tulip Garden Heat Emboss Digital Stamp on Foil

I used a matte copper foil from the DCWV stack to print on and Wow Metallic Copper Embossing Powder. On a test strip of the foil, I tested all kinds of products to try to color the foil. Stain and acrylics worked, as did alcohol ink and alcohol markers. I opted for alcohol markers in order to get lots of colors from my tulip garden; however, I didn’t want to risk my expensive Copic nibs with all of the stray embossing powder, so used my Sharpies instead. Yeah, not a lot of blending going on, but the color adhered to the foil nonetheless.

The tulip garden copper panel was skinny, as the composition was originally sized to fit on a slim-line card; therefore, I matted it on some Tonic Studios Glossy Black Mirror Card before attaching it to my A2-sized top-folding white card. I then added a sentiment comprised of the Pinkfresh Beautiful Word Die cut (which I cut from the same cardstock that I used for matting the panel), a strip using a few snipped pieces from Simon Says Stamp Tiny Words. A few of my favorite sequins finished off the card.

Alex Syberia Tulip Garden Heat Embossed on Foil Full Card

Card #3:

I tried another foil card just for fun, swapping out the tulip garden for a bouquet of Alex Syberia Design’s Dog Roses, rotated this way and that way to make up the background panel. The word die is from Essentials by Ellen Totally Fabulous. All other materials are the same as the first card.

Alex Syberia Tulip Garden and Dog Rose Heat Embossed on Foil

That’s all for the new ideas for today.

Card #4:

Here is an example of an older idea that I shared in a previous post on Painting with Alcohol Ink. For this card, I heat embossed Alex Syberia Design’s Sweet Gardenia digital stamp onto Grafix Dura-Bright, a polypropylene product that is both waterproof and heat-resistant. If you’d like more details, then please spend some time in that previous blog post, because there are many many details!

Alex Syberia Sweet Gardenia Painting with Alcohol Ink

Please come back in a few days when I plan on sharing a few other ways to heat emboss digital stamps that may look a bit more traditional to the eye, but are anything but!

Until then,

20 comments

  • Wow!!!!!! Enna you are so AMAZING and creative!!!!!!! I am in awe of how you figured this out!!!!! Gorgeous cards!

    • Thanks so much, Natasha! That is so sweet!

      I’ve wanted to heat emboss quite a few digis, but I actually figured it out, because I really really really wanted to find a way to heat emboss or foil Sandhya’s ginkos on a watercolor wash. Since you only get flaking when trying to foil on textured cardstock, foiling was out. This was the first option that popped into my head.

      Please come back for another visit soon! I promise to be a good, if verbose, hostess! 😉

  • Well damn. Heat embossing on acetate 😳 and foil 😱 I don’t know how you come up with these things. And you are gifted not only with talent and thinking outside the box, but also the ability to be patient and never give up. Totally envy all that! And as always, your cards look amazing 😍 looking forward to part 2 😉 hugs Tina XO
    PS. See, subscribing 😘

    • Hi Tina! In our culture, what you are describing is called, “stubborn.” 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣! My biggest fault, as many ex-co-workers can attest to, is that I only want to come up with the ideas and prove it one time. Then I don’t actually want to stick around to execute it again. 🤭😁.

      Thanks so much for stopping in! You are welcome anytime!

      Enna.

      • Ahahaha, yeah I’m stubborn too 😂 but patience and not giving up sounds better 😉
        I feel like that with digis. For whatever reason I only color them once. Most of them anyway.

    • Thanks, Alex! Your illustrations inspire ideas! Whenever I see a new release, the gears immediately start turning! Thanks for being my muse!

      And thanks for always mentioning me in your stories and blog posts! You are such a treasure!

      XOXO

    • Thanks so much, Jenny! You know, in building this blog, yours was one of the blogs I looked to for inspiration. I love the look and feel of it, and your projects really jump out.

      Thanks for all of your support! Y’all be sure to come back now, ya hear? (that’s my affected Southern drawl 🤭)

      Hugs!

  • Wow, where there’s a will, there’s a way!!! What amazing pieces of art you’ve created Enna. Thanks for sharing your discoveries 😍

  • Woman, you are BRILLIANT! I love your drive to experiment and find a way to make it work. I’m excited by these ideas because these should work with my current printer! Something else I’ve tried is vellum, dousing it in powder the moment i can see the fresh ink emerging from the printer. I didn’t realize that two-speed heat guns were a thing, and that would have saved my paper from warping! My heat gun is at least 10 or 11 years old so I guess I’m due for an upgrade. My paper often warps so hopefully this WOW gun will make a difference! Your cards are stunning and I really love how you’ve created your own take on the digi stamps. I didn’t realize there are limitations to how you’re allowed to transform them with different companies so hopefully I haven’t stepped on any toes in the past!

    • You are so good for my ego, Teri! You are jumping ahead of me on the vellum thing – that was going to be my next post! Those Angel policies are so varied from artist to artist. There are a few that do girl drawings (no flowers) that won’t even let you resize the image even when you are using the digi for non-commercial purposes. However, those artists are usually easily recognizable, because their digis are either free or they put their signatures within the illustration. Others are a wide range. So, when in doubt and I err on the side of caution and don’t mess with the images, but it is oh so tempting! 😂🤣! Big hugs!

  • Another really interesting and informative post Enna! You seem to be finding answers to all the things I am struggling with in each post…are you psychic lol ! Keep on doing it as you are awesome 😊 hugs Viv xx

    • Thanks so much, Viv, for the encouragement. I hadn’t realized how much work blogging was until now! It is so hard to remember what my experiments entailed! I’m usually just hurrying along from one trial to the next. I need to remember to take notes and process pictures in the future! However, that will probably be as likely as cleaning my craft space before I finish a project! 😉😂💕 XOXO!

  • I’m crafting vicariously through your detailed posts Enna 😀 love the look of the Slim line Tulips on the traditional card front… nice white space!

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