Here it is, your step by step guide to perfect rubber stamping and heat embossing, just in time for holiday card making*. You see us using these techniques all the time, and there’s a reason for that – they’re super easy and add a professional decorative look to all types of projects. Give it a try and have fun experimenting!

Guide to rubber stamping

Here are the materials I’ve used in this demonstration:
Petal Enclosure (In my finished sample I’ve used dark paper to remind you that this stamping technique works so well on dark colors!)
VersaMark Watermark Inkpad (This clear ink creates a watermark impression, leaving a darker version of the color of your paper.)
• Clear Embossing Powder
• Heat Embossing Tool
• Cottage Bloom Rubber Stamp
• Scrap Paper (Do your work on scrap paper so you can capture excess embossing powder and recycle.)

1. Ink Your Stamp: When working with larger rubber stamps, flip them over to ink them, instead of pressing them down onto an inkpad. Holding them rubber-side up allows you to see when the entire surface is covered with ink, which can be especially helpful when inking with a clear inkpad (the surface will appear shiny when applied).

Rubber Stamping Guide step 1

2. Create Your Stamp Impression:
Apply even downward pressure (don’t rock the stamp back and forth), then remove lifting straight up. This helps prevent excess ink from finding its way onto your project.

Rubber Stamping Guide step 2

3. Add Embossing Powder: Sprinkle embossing powder liberally across the inked surface or in the specific locations you want to emboss. Tap off excess embossing powder by flicking your finger against the backside of the paper. You can also use a small dry paint brush to brush away excess powder.

Rubber Stamping Guide step 3

4. Save Excess Embossing Powder: By working on top of scrap paper, you’ll be able to recapture excess embossing powder. The excess embossing powder will end up on the scrap paper allowing you to pour it back into container.

Rubber Stamping Guide-step 4

5. Heat Emboss Your Design: Keep the nozzle of the heat embosser tool at least 1 1/2″ to 2″ from the surface of the paper to prevent burning. Start embossing in one spot and as you begin to see the resin melt, slowly move the nozzle across the inked area to continue melting the entire design. When finished, let your project sit for a few moments. Please do not try to do this with a hair dyer… the temperature is not right for this type of project!

Rubber Stamping Guide step 5

That’s it, so easy and such a beautiful treatment. Try using clear, white, colored and metallic embossing powders over all types of ink colors to achieve amazing results!

*Don’t forget to submit your holiday card design to our Holiday Card Contest for a chance to win a $50 Paper Source gift card.

Cheers & Happy Stamping!
PS colors: chartreuse & pool
Latest fave: Saddle Stitch Notebooks


28 Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    That is a gorgeous project, the Petal enclosure is one of my favorite products.

  2. victoria says:

    I LOVE this blog!!! Paper Source please keep more demos and info coming for people like me who live too far away from your stores!! PS Please open a store on Philadelphia’s Main Line!!! (Berwyn, Paoli, Wayne, Ardmore)

  3. Marissa says:

    I agree- a store in Philadelphia would be great! I’ve been wanting one for years.

  4. Winnie says:

    The embossing powder Paper Source carries is the BEST!!! I have tried others from Michael’s and Joann and results were disappointing.

  5. Rick says:

    Great tips Linda! Don’t forget that the technique of inking the stamps works great on all-sized stamps – you get much better coverage and you know exactly how much ink you have on the stamp!

  6. Mindy says:

    Love your blog. This was a great demonstration. After you bring your store to Philadelphia area, can you come to the Binghamton, NY area, please!!!! Love visiting your stores across the US.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    This is such a great idea. I’ve made some invites and I used the same technique but tried it with Luxe Fino white petal envelope and it looks really classic and elegant.

  8. Wendy Xavier says:

    I found your blog on Google. I’ve bookmarked it and will watch out for your next blog post.

  9. Daisy Rain says:

    I did the exact same thing you did but with Pink Twinkle, it came out all scratchy and not smooth – please tell me what I might of done wrong?

    Your The Best!

  10. linda says:

    Hi Daisy Rain,
    As far as your description goes, I don’t think you have done anything wrong. When working with the “twinkle” type embossing powders (be sure it isn’t the glitter) they are intended NOT to be smooth. Rather to look and feel like a glittered texture – but providing a more permanent imprint once heat embossed.
    If you remember to keep the embosser nozzle about a 2 1/2″ from the paper surface, start in one place to see the heat begin to melt the resin (the color will shift a bit) then moving the heat gun slowly until the entire surface has been covered. The twinkle should be somewhat course, not rub off, but still appear to hold a glittery effect.
    Only the opaque, clear or other solid colors are intended to ultimately finish smooth.
    Hope this helps!
    Manager Workshops, Demonstrations and Special Events

  11. lauren says:

    I love embossing but every time the paper starts to bend and i have to place it under a heavy book to flaten it again. is there anyway to avoid this? Doing this extends the natural time of a project. thanks

  12. linda says:

    Hi Lauren,
    Great question!
    Okay here’s my TIP: when finished with the embossing, flip the project/paper over, then using the heat gun -heat in a general sweeping motion – across the entire paper. This helps relax the pull from the fibers being tighten by the embossing powder on the opposite side.

    If you have really large stamped area it tends to bow more, and this may require a bit more heating on the backside…but this usually does the trick!!

    Happy Embossing!

  13. Touch Up Kit says:

    I’ve been searching for this exact info on this subject for a while.

  14. Cindy Simeno says:

    I love the embossing affect and I love how it looks. I need to do some projects with it. Thanks for showing us !
    Thank You,Cindy

  15. Lynn says:

    Beautiful. I love the clear embossing powder on dark paper. It is such an elegant look. Thanks for the tip on the paper buckling. I have the same problem. Great information!

  16. Essex Debs says:

    Found a new technique-Yippee i would have never thought to turn the stamp over when inking :0)
    Many thanks.

  17. I didn’t realize they would look so nice on the darker paper – cute!

    If you want to mail something that’s embossed, do you have to put some wax paper or crepe paper between it and the envelope?

  18. beadnowcg says:

    I have always had trouble embossing but this article will help me successfully emboss. I am bery excited.

  19. Patricia Khalifa says:

    Thanks for offering the added touches to move my projects and greeting cards to the next level…

  20. JK says:

    I could LIVE at Paper Source!

  21. Karen says:

    Any tips on how to get the stamped image to “knit together” and what stamps are best for this effect?

    Also, has anyone ever tried using fabric paint with stamps on clothes?


  22. Tear Paper & Paste says:

    I’ve never used the petal enclosures. What a beautiful project. Do you have any unique ways to seal them?

  23. Busybee says:

    I can see this technique for favors.
    I would love to hear podcasts of different craft vendors.
    How their started off and succeeding in business.

  24. linda says:

    WOW! Thanks for all the comments, my answers will be coming quickly this week. Plus, in the next several weeks I’ll be providing several ideas, tips and additional ways to use stamping based on so many of your wonderful replies here. Keep the suggestions, questions and overall enthusiasm coming! We love it all!!

    National Manager Workshops, Demonstrations and Special Events

  25. Mary says:

    I love all the wonderful paper crafts and card ideas!

  26. maya says:

    I was wondering if this technique can be applies to photo paper? to stamp my logo into the photographs.

    If you have any other way that would work on pictures< I would love to know about it.


  27. linda says:

    Hi Maya,
    Here are a few things to address when working with photo quality paper verses a cotton inkjet type of paper.

    Most photo papers have a glossy finish that requires stamping with a stamp pad that has less glycerin in the ink base. This will prevent it from smearing and allow it to dry without having to heat emboss.
    I would recommend you try working with “Brilliance” inkpads as these are made for glossy surfaces.

    The problem with using the heat tool for embossing on glossy surfaces, is that sometimes because this surface is also a resin, the temperature of the heat could cause the surface to melt along with the clear embossing powder – creating unwanted blistering.

    If however you were printing on say a mat cotton type of paper like our Luxe or Superfine stocks (two of my favorite 8.5×11 Paper Source papers for printing images on) – these are absorbent with the inkjet and stable enough when dry to stamp over – then emboss. It does look quite lovely.

    And, for those of you who have Laser printers, the trick is to wait till the ink is completely dry before stamping and embossing. I would suggest doing tests always before going into production mode. On a side note – we did notice that if indeed you work super fast (prints literally “hot” off the printer) that if you sprinkle the laser toner with embossing powder – (even text by the way) – quickly enough while the ink is still wet – it can be entirely heat embossed. The thing you need to be prepared for is the inconsistent nature of this method – the first part sometimes dries while the later is still wet, creating a challenge to create even embossing. But worth playing with!

    I hope these extra pieces of information have been helpful! Please feel free to send us a picture so I can view how things turn out.

    Happy stamping!

  28. Sharon Howard says:

    I saw the question about stamping on clothing and what paint or ink to use. Will you please send me directions for it.

    Thank you