What is Embossing Ink?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Embossing ink is a type of ink designed to be used with embossing powders to create a raised effect on paper or fabric. Embossing involves the creation of a raised image which will stand out from paper or textile materials, and has been used for centuries for decorative purposes as well as functional ones. Official seals and other documents often utilize embossing to create authenticity and make the documents stand out.

People can apply embossing ink with a stamp or by hand, depending on their needs.
People can apply embossing ink with a stamp or by hand, depending on their needs.

Traditionally, embossing is done by compressing material inside a die, often with the application of heat, to deform the fibers and set them in place. This is done on a printing press which is equipped to handle embossing. It is also possible to create a raised design without changing the structure of the material, however, with the use of embossing ink. Embossing ink is used with embossing powder to make a raised, textured design.

People can apply the ink with a stamp or by hand, depending on their needs. The ink is usually clear, so that it will not react with the powders sprinkled onto it. It also dries slowly, allowing crafters plenty of time to apply powder. Once powdered, a heat gun can be used to melt the embossing powder into the ink, creating a solid raised design.

Colored embossing inks are also available. Some crafters use these to create custom colors or to achieve various desired effects. The powders used with this ink come in an array of colors, and can have special qualities such as metallic, opalescent, or pearlescent effects. Metallics can be quite costly, and must be used carefully to avoid waste. The powders usually come in small jars, which allow people to sprinkle the powder onto the surface being embossed.

Classically, embossing ink is produced on an ink pad, which allows people to evenly cover a stamp with the necessary amount of ink. People can also drag brushes or sponges across the pad to pick up ink which can be transferred to create a custom design. It is important to use a base material which can tolerate exposure to heat, so that the material underneath the ink will not deform when the heat gun is used.

Many craft stores carry embossing ink pads and embossing powders, and they can also order specialty products by request for their customers. It's also possible to order products online, with some companies providing samples so that customers can clearly see how the ink and powders perform. Embossing can be used to create custom effects for scrapbooking and a wide variety of other crafts.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfest -- That is why a lot of those embossing seals have been replaced by ink stamps. I know a guy in town who has been a notary for years. He still holds on to his old embosser, but those haven't been "legal" in this state in years. Everyone requires an ink stamper so that copies of documents can be made with the notary seal attached.


People who have used embossers in the past might consider moving to these. Here's the thing about embossers -- in the past, a lot of notaries and other people who used embossers simply had ones that crimped a design on paper. Those were fine because the raised design was easy to see.

Ah, but those raised designs don't copy at all. That is why embossing ink and powders should be used. If you make copies, those are essential.

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