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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