Custom Embossed Stationery

Working in the art department of an advertising agency in the 80s, we had to pull a few tricks to create realistic comps for client approval, including similating embossed logos or monograms on letterhead and cards. With the same concept in mind, I present a simple tutorial on making a template of your own design.

When choosing or designing an image for embossing, I recommend you keep it simple and with heavy lines. Fine-lined art or lettering is very difficult to cut and you may loose control of the small pieces that make up the design.

I designed my cards first on the computer. I printed my monogram in black, flopped in REVERSE onto plain paper. Then I printed several sheets of pre-scored card stock with the scalloped circle design and my name. If you use a color section as I did, unless you have a light table for accuracy, you may want to keep your colored image quite a bit larger than the embossing image. Using a lighter color for this area is not just best for translucency when lining up, but also because darker inked areas have a tendency to show fine lines of cracking from embossing. If you choose to use a color card stock that is not transparent, you will need to be very accurate with your placement over the template if you are trying to match up the embossing to an image. Otherwise, if you are creating a completley blind emboss, lining up card edges to the same-size template edges should work fine.Using a translucent polypropylene (I’ll refer to as plastic) pocket folder from the office supply store, I trimmed out two pieces to the size of my final card, half letter/8.5″ x 5.5″.With 3M spray adhesive, I laminated the two pieces of plastic from the folder together and then laminated the paper on top of that. Be sure to burnish all well once stacked.Using a very sharp craft knife, I cut out the monogram, slicing through the paper and first layer of plastic. Be sure to put a cutting surface below your piece should you accidentally go all the way through to your beautiful dining room table. …Yes, I did that.You can see where I cut past the design on the corners, this helps keep your pull off pieces from being caught in the corners.Once the piece is cut and the image removed, you’re ready to emboss. Using a light table or your window, line up the card to the embossing image.Use a burnisher if you have one or another tool, such as a rounded tip crochet hook to lightly press and rub into the void. If you are embossing paper, be careful not to press too hard, the paper may easily tear. It is important to first test drive your template with the same card stock or paper you will be using to get an idea of how hard to press. Test embossing also helps pick up any sticky pieces of adhesive that remained in the image cut-out area.Now, what will you emboss?

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35 Responses to Custom Embossed Stationery

  1. #1 - My @ tha Hotness says:

    I think I am going to emboss everything now. 🙂 You're so crafty and I love it.

  2. #2 - jen says:

    i love this! I've always tried to figure out how I could do that at home…and now i know! Thanks!

  3. #3 - Paul Overton says:

    Cathe – That is my favorite kind of hack. Simple and amazing! Love it. Thanks!

  4. #4 - Lissie says:

    How clever! You are so talented! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. #5 - Christina says:

    I used the exact same technique in the 80's in art school! Great results on very little budget. I also used extra thick matt board and lino tile cutters. (For block printing – then I got a variety of raised embossed artwork)

  6. #6 - La Table De Nana says:

    I embossed in the early 90's ..w/ a little tool..You gave me the desire again:)

    Oh it's so funny that 1990 seems like yesterday to me..Funny and sadquick.

  7. #7 - Splendid Little Stars says:

    Now that is very cool!

  8. #8 - Whitney @ Whisker Graphics says:

    Clever, clever! Reminds me of my art school comping days.:)

  9. #9 - pennygj says:

    That's so simple, and so effective. I'm off to monogram everything I own!

  10. #10 - Nerissa Alford says:

    you are brilliant 🙂

  11. #11 - Mel says:

    A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

    Thanks for sharing!!

  12. #12 - My name is PJ. says:

    This was very eye-opening! Your creativity continues to amaze me girl! What will I emboss? Nothing – because I'm not good at anything requiring precision or patience. Yeah. The "P" in "PJ" does not stand for either of those words.

  13. #13 - Anne says:

    Thanks so much for telling how you made the embossing "stencil". I'm ready to try it!

  14. #14 - Christie Cottage says:

    So cool!

    Another project I want to try!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    http://christiecottage.blogspot.com

  15. #15 - Amy @ Living Locurto says:

    I do this all the time for design presentations, but I've never used a folder to make it more raised up. Duh, that would help a lot. Thanks for the tip!!

  16. #16 - Katy says:

    you are so creative! Luv it! Now I have to come up with something to use this technique for :0)

  17. #17 - Jenn Klee says:

    How cool, thanks for sharing this idea is just amazing!

  18. #18 - The Redhead Riter says:

    There is no end to your Magnificence!

    That is just too cool!

  19. #19 - adrienne says:

    brilliant!

  20. #20 - Loddelina says:

    Thank you so much for the tutorial, what a beautiful way to enhance a logo!

  21. #21 - Creative Crafter UK says:

    Embossing is a great technique – I use it quite frequently, except it's always so difficult to photograph!

    You've done a great job here. I find embossing produces such elegant results. Ideal for business stationary too!

  22. #22 - marysworkshop says:

    Such a cool idea, but sorry to hear about your beautiful dining room table! I'm sure you found a way to fix that, too, Cathe.

  23. #23 - Affordable homes says:

    What a wonderful idea! You are such a genius. Thank you for sharing. God bless you!

  24. #24 - Chrissie says:

    Brilliant! Thanks very much for the tutorial, the card looks fab!
    Chrissie

  25. #25 - Jennifer (mom of four) says:

    LOVE THIS! Thanks for the tutorial What font did you use? I love notecards, notepads etc. Just look at my Etsy shop. haha

  26. #26 - Katie says:

    Wonderful tutorial!

  27. #27 - floatingink says:

    Brilliant–and I just happen to be working on a project that this technique will enhance beautifully–thanks!

  28. #28 - Sarah says:

    What a great idea. I think I will use this idea on personalized cards – for thank yous, gifts, etc.

  29. #29 - Michele in La says:

    Thanks for the great idea and tutorial – my daughter and I will definitely have fun with it. 🙂 Found your blog from a 'Folding Trees' link.

  30. #30 - Joanna says:

    I bet it is so totally easy, but I am wildly overwhelmed just looking at it and frightened to even read the fine details because I'd just ruin mine. I will leave the paper art to the paper artists and I'll stick to soap and bath luxuries.

  31. #31 - CreativeBusyHands-Scrapbook Freebies Search says:

    Wow! great idea. I wonder if the cricut will cut the folder material. I got give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  32. ….oh teach me master obie-one-cathe. (star wars ref. for those who don’t get it.) How on earth do you get these ideas. At what level do I become enlightened ?

  33. #33 - Joyce says:

    Thanks allot for sharing.
    This is really marvelous. I thinks I’ll try it myself 🙂

  34. #34 - Sarah says:

    WOW! This is such a great idea. Totally going to do this! Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sharing this with everyone in my office (graphic design firm).

    MODERN SOUTHERNER

  35. #35 - Lela Duncan says:

    Your work is beautiful! I am not a craft person but I would love to create such professional looking stationery- like you have created here.
    Thanks for sharing