Tag Archives: paper embossing

Studio Calico Hercules Fancy Stamp in Ultra High Embossing Powder

I initially bought the Hercules kit because the stamp really did catch my fancy (sorry – I can’t help myself.) Even though I made many many cards with the flowered paper from that kit, I didn’t use the stamp until this weekend. I’ve found it a tough sentiment to use but it all seemed to come together for this card.

I also used some stickers from Crate Paper’s Notes and Things accent stickers as well as a Dear Lizzy emboss folder I recently got for a great deal from Amazon. Isn’t that bow emboss detail darling?



Faux Letterpress Using Emboss Folder and Stamp Pad

For supplies, I used Hero Arts mid-tone ink in Raspberry Jam and a Basic Grey emboss folder. I learned the technique from YouTube scrappers who call it “Faux Letterpress.” It was super messy to clean up, did not ink cleanly, and provided an emboss instead of a letterpress deboss but I still love the look.

Paper Source Class – Lifestyle Crafts L Letterpress

I have never taken a class at Paper Source and following my experience in the Letterpress Class, I’m not sure that I’ll take another anytime soon.

A few years ago, I saw the Lifestyle Crafts Letterpress machine on sale for 50% off and almost purchased the platform. Most of the reviews for the machine and the letterpress platform were pretty awful so I passed.

Fast forward to the end of July. I’m in Paper Source and there’s a huge display for a Letterpress Machine and fliers for a Letterpress workshop. Folks on Studio Calico start posting about the upcoming Letterpress class and new letterpress tools. I’m really trying to avoid collecting stuff as fads fly by so I figured that I’d sign up for the class and try out the machine before I invest in any of SC’s awesome letterpress plates.

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Before the class, I got super excited and read this really awesome post from Boxcar Press about tweaks that would make the Letterpress kit produce beautiful images. Unfortunately, I still have no idea if a true letterpress deboss and inking is possible with this machine because the class was pretty terrible. It should have been called an embossing and stamping class. In two hours, I think we were supposed to complete 8-10 cards. But the instructions were not clear, the card examples were pretty cheesy, and each person only had two chances to Letterpress. On top of that, the paper they provided us was super thin so the deboss was very shallow. Save one, the cards looked like beautifully stamped cards but not at all letterpressed.

The card colors were navy, orange, and gray. They were fun and preppy, especially when I started adding a bright green to everything. However, I really didn’t like the class designs so all the cards below are my attempt to jazz stuff up. These are the “letterpressed” cards.


The images are very impressive and clear; however, there was basically no debossing effect because we used very little packing and relatively thin cardstock,. The only exception is the leaf on the white strip above.


It’s even easier to see what I mean when the image is zoomed in. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but I thought that when you run your fingers across letterpressed prints, you’re supposed to marvel at how precisely ink is welled up in a noticeable depression.


No depression although it does look like a beautiful stamp job. Maybe I don’t understand what letterpress is? I wonder if I could just ink up my emboss folder with the ink?




This doesn’t mean that the L Letterpress can’t create a deep deboss – it’s just that this class did nothing to help me determine if it can. And until I know that it can create a super special deboss, I don’t know if I’m ready to add letterpress-light to my arsenal of goodness. I asked the instructor about using some thicker paper (something with higher cotton content maybe) and just got mumbles insinuating that the machine might break. On a tangent, the instructor’s language that night was an interesting hybrid of theatre geek and self-help guru and it felt a little bit like crafting with Robin William’s character in the Birdcage. A little entertaining but not very useful.

Each person spent on average 7 minutes with the letterpress platform. The other 113 minutes of the class, we played with stamps and embossing powder. Not to be a total product snob but I was also really disappointed by the supplies on hand for the class. All these awesome and inspiring people on YouTube, blogs, and different forums have raised my expectations of craft tools and I thought Paper Source should have much cooler supplies. When someone asked for a way to line up stamps, instead of producing a thingamajig or something like it, they had some cheesy and expensive stamp set that only let you line up the fuzzy letters that came in the set. They didn’t even give us a ruler. The foam tape curled into itself as soon as I took it off the adhesive sheet. Considering we spent 94.2% of the class embossing, the fact that there was only ONE emboss design out was also ridiculous. I know I’m being a brat calculating the time we spent with the machine but with the money we spent on the class, I should have just bought the darned thing.

On the positive side, I did get a chance to emboss my envelopes and the scraps we had available.


I really liked this “picante” emboss powder against the grey and blue. I added the washi when I got home. I love washi!


A close up of the embossing. IMG_4597

All in all:

Paper Source workshop = FAIL

L Letterpress = ??

The L Letterpress seems to make cleaner impressions than the letterpress kit from years ago. However, I still really want to know how well it works with thicker paper. My plan to try it out before taking the plunge didn’t work out but I’m looking forward to see how well it works for everyone else.

Print and Emboss

Last month, two of my good friends stayed over a few days and I showed them a bunch of my tools. Everyone got really into it and we spent hours creating a kooky funny card and fake press pass for our friend. Color scheme aside, we had an awesome time creating a debossed image. I scanned in an inked impression of my emboss folder, filled the sun rays in with red ink, and printed it out. My friend did a good job of lining everything up to create a filled-in debossed image.


Doesn’t that look neat?IMG_4385

For the fake press pass, I used the cute fox and picture frame from Studio Calico’s Inked class.



Total silliness but I loved being creative with my friends.


Paper piecing and creating a mood

I’ve discovered some new blogs the last few days. You know you’ve spent too much time on a blog when in April you’ve read through every post since the previous November. I really love seeing how others capture the holiday spirit. Winter holiday themed cards are a yearlong delight for me.

When I make cards, I try to capture things I’m thinking or feeling. I’m able to capture my holiday moods of warmth and joy best. I just love all the textures used in holiday decorations and enjoy unexpected color combinations I see in other cards. I made this card for my friend Eloise last Christmas. If I remember correctly, at the time, I was inspired by three things:

  • the happiness of spending our first Christmas in a new home
  • the cuteola Tim Holtz tiny attacher
  • paper piecing I saw in many different forums including Two Peas and Studio Calico

It’s out of season but I love this card. I think I’m gonna have to pull the trigger on the Christmas-themed Mama Elephant stamps and a falling snow emboss folder!
eloise xmas card

Embossing Bonanza Part One – Folders

Ever since the new Hero Arts catalog came out, I’ve been obsessed with embossing and resist techniques.

Last year, my sister sent me her Cuttlebug. It took me a while to figure out the different cutting pad combinations. I have a Silhouette and I don’t mass produce any cards so die-cutting wasn’t terribly interesting to me. I bought one emboss folder – Polka Dots by Cuttlebug – and while it added some texture to my cards, I wasn’t terribly impressed and the Cuttlebug languished in my closet.

However, after watching a Kristina Werner December Daily video where she used the “Nordic Christmas” emboss folder by Basic Grey with some gorgeous Bazzill cardstock in “Marshmallow White,” I have to say that I’m hooked. I love embossing folders so much that I cleaned out an entire cubby in my craft desk so that I could access it more easily!

This first card uses both the paper and emboss folder by Basic Grey. My friend and I decided that we’re making Christmas cards to send out next year and I’ve been making mocks of possible designs. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I MIGHT have watched every single  2012 December Daily Kristina Werner over my holiday.) This card mixes a methods she demonstrated in various videos including layering of cut words. The Merry Christmas is made of three layers I cut out of my Cameo using Lavenderia font. It was painstakingly annoying to layer them just so. As you can see, I’m also still learning how to lay the vellum flat. The best part of the card to me is the embossing. I can’t believe how detailed it was and it just gave the card such a special look.

Basic Grey Nordic Christmas

Another option we’re considering is the one below. I colored in a Hero Arts reindeer with copics, stamped the background using assorted snowflakes I had in my Christmas kits, and used my original polka dots emboss folder. I love the crumb cake on white white. What a great neutral. 2013-02-03 06.01.58

The following card also uses the Polka Dots folder.

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When you look closely at the dots, you can see that they’re  not perfectly smooth. I find the effect quite charming and very homemade. The kraft looking paper is actually the back of a Jim Holtz core-dinations card.

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More recently, I got Cuttlebug’s “Moroccan Screen” from Simon Says Stamp. It reminds me of the Louis Vuitton logo which will be great when I make cards for some of my girlfriends who love their bags. I used the folder in the card below, which mixes some of my favorite everything right now – stamps, washi, colors, techniques.

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Up close, you can see how the pattern better. I think it’s super cute. The heart stamps are from this Simon Says Stamp set that I’ve been seeing all over blog land. The hearts were inked using the new Hero Arts shadow inks in Charcoal, Soft Cantaloupe, and Pale Tomato. With the awesome shadow ink cubes, I have almost every color now. They just look so great!

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Most recently, I discovered Goldenshill Papercrafts, this amazing craft store in Northern Virginia. This lovely lady named Ronnie runs the place out of a store she created off the side of her home. Though they’re open only a few times a month, I can see why everyone raves about this place – it has an amazing selection and extremely competitive prices. If you bring a bag, she gives you a 10% and she automatically discounts your highest priced item by 40%. I got three purple Hero Arts shadow inks, some Jenni Bowlin inks — including the oft mentioned “Malted Milk” — and an assortment of other goodies. Everyone was super nice and this awesome lady named Karen, who was just a customer, heard my stamping woes and showed me how to stamp properly. FINALLY my stamped images using the new Stampin Up foam pads are crisp and completely filled. I can’t wait to go back once she has all the new CHA stuff in.

My favorite item has to be the QuicKutz Embossing Folders. I purchased the “Tea Party” set. They’re amazingly detailed and the designs are so special and unique. I’m still getting the hang of them – even with thick papers, some part actually seem to cut through because the details are so fine, but they are gorgeous. I think I’m spoiled for life now.

QuicKutz Emboss Folders in Tea Party 1

QuicKutz Embossing Folder Tea Party Two

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