When embossing goes bad…

Happy Sunday folks! Today I am going to share a card with you I made earlier this week with my homemade stain daubers. I was experimenting with embossed resists,  technique I have done many times with good results BUT this time I couldn’t get a raised image (!?!) my powder kept melting into the paper.


I was stumped. Why does bad embossing happen to good people? 😀 So I posed my question to the experts on the OSA yahoo group I belong to and they had some ideas why all of a sudden my embossing powder might be giving me grief:

  1. Old powder. This could definitely be a culprit, I have picked up EP at yard sales and on clearance and honestly my powder stash is likely to be between 5-15 years old. I heard-tell that EP is only good for 2 years BUT I think it has to do with the metals oxidizing and tarnishing in the metallic powders. I really don’t think plain clear or colored powder would be affected.
  2. Overheating the embossing powder. I think this might be the problem. If you ever do the “faux batik” technique you emboss a design, color the paper then iron off the embossing powder. That is what this reminds me of. I wear out my heat guns after a few years because I use them daily. Also I noticed a little paper scorching the other day and I was using the gun as I always had.
  3. Moisture in air/paper. My dehumidifier had been kicking on a lot this week, it has been very damp and I craft in my basement. Could the damp paper be soaking in the ink/powder?

BTW I have a quick tip, If you are trying to punch a shape from paper (or use deco scissors) and the paper wants to snag or is getting stuck in the punch blast the paper with the heat gun for a few seconds to remove any moisture and it will punch perfectly. If your punch is jammed shut with paper stuck inside place in the freezer for a few moments and it will release. Don’t just randomly jab sharp objects at the bottom of the punch hoping to dislodge the paper, you will only end up injuring yourself…don’t ask me how I know that.

Have a great Memorial Day (in the US) and be sure to check back this week, I have lots of fun projects planned, from calligraphy to Father’s Day to fun summer projects with the kids, check it out! Til then happy crafting!

11 thoughts on “When embossing goes bad…

  1. I experienced this a week ago, so thank you very much with the tips! BTW I keep seeing your wrinkled ribbon used in many of your projects…did you make them yourself? If you did, do you have a “How to” on it? Thank you so much for sharing your craftiness! I look forward to seeing what you have come up with everyday!! You are gifted!!


  2. Regardless Of your embossing problems Lindsay, your card is very pretty…great color combo….and the distress stains you made show off well here! Enjoy your weekend!
    Paper Hugs,


  3. Really nice card, Lindsay. I over emboss, too. Well, why not!! Look what great results you got!! Thanks for sharing this experience.


  4. Pretty card Lindsay. I have had brand new powders not emboss and I have old (15 years like you) emboss perfectly. I do believe some can go stale, some brands are better than others. Stampin Up and Stampendous hold up well. al a mode by Hampton art was no good the day I brought it home (I did buy it on clearance). If your gun is heating not so well, try placing your paper, embossing powder side up in an old 9×13 aluminum pan. Apply your heat gun to the bottom or underside of the aluminum pan, that will heat the powder without scorching the paper, and if the powder is a bit crumbly it won’t fly off before it heats up. That is the only way I heat emboss, I have an old scratched up pan dedicated to embossing.


  5. I love the card.

    Humidity in my area is a nightmare. I am a Ozark girl. Combine high humidity with altitude and you have a craft nightmare. Everything from tape to embossing powder is a mess in my home. I use a lot of silica gel packets to keep things fresh. It does really work. I keep my powders on a shelf that is cooler than the rest of my home. I try not to buy a lot of metallic powders because I know they will go bad first. I mix Pearl Ex or Mica in with my embossing powders. It seems to help with shelf life.


  6. WOW! Great advice. Seems my punches never work right so I hardly ever use them. They mostly get the paper stuck in them and often will not open, grrrr. Thank you so very much.


  7. I so just heard about “old” embossing powder lately. But this result looked like when ya burn it and while she was heating it with a Milwaukee Heat Gun it was bubbling terribly. But she was convinced it was what she’d heard about EP going bad. I’m smart enough to know that I’m no doubt going to lose my earliest purchased EP’s cuz you know what my stability has been since recapturing my “mojo” and rebuilding my arts and crafts supplies with a vengeance.


  8. “Why does bad embossing happen to good people?” 😂

    Was this on watercolour paper by any chance?

    I had trouble embossing with an old clear powder recently and then I realised it was the cheap paper I used! I tried the same powder on a different paper and it worked perfectly. With the watercolour paper, the powder just soaked in as it melted. I didn’t overheat it, it just never went glossy, it went from dry powder straight into the paper. Now I will test on a different paper before I ever blame the powder again!


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