Primary Tools & Materials:
heat embossing, photography/video

Additional Tools & Materials: clear stamp and stamp base, embossing ink pad, embossing powder, card stock, heat gun, camera

Heat embossing is new to me - I just learned to do it a few months ago, though I have always admired the look of embossed stationery and paper goods. For today's combination, analog printing + photo/video, I wanted to try and heat emboss a large letter while capturing the process, the texture, and the materials through photography and video. 

This letter R is one of a set of clear stamps I purchased at the craft store, and the letter is about an inch and a half tall. To heat emboss, I first inked my stamp with clear embossing ink, a specialty ink that binds to the pigment powder and melts. Then I sprinkled a generous helping of blue embossing powder onto the wet ink, making sure to cover all parts of the stamped letter. After shaking off the excess powder, the still wet, powdered letter had a soft, velvety look. Then I blasted the letter with my heat gun on low heat for ten to fifteen seconds, until the powder began to visibly melt, spreading out in a radial direction (you can see the powder melting in images 6 and 7 - the heat gun is peeking from the left side of the photo). The melting step is my favorite, because even when you know what the final image will look like, it's still exciting to see the design morph from powder to a smooth, enamel-like, raised embossing. 

Characteristics of letters made in this way include a rough letter boundary, as the powder sometimes creates a ragged edge, and a glaze which makes the letter reflect and stand out from the matte paper. The meat of the letter is speckled, and sometimes littered with small burned bits of dust, dirt, or larger half-melted chunks of embossing powder that didn't quite melt flat. The result is irregular and bumpy. I'd like to try this without a stamp sometimes - perhaps just painting by hand using embossing ink, then melt my handmade letters.