How to Use Embossing Folders for Outstanding Projects

Last Updated: October 11, 2022

If you're looking to add extra depth and interest to your paper crafting projects, embossing folders are a great way to do it! All you need is a basic knowledge of how to use them, and you'll be able to create some fantastic projects in no time!  

Embossing folders are an essential addition to your craft room - get yours today!

Everything You Need To Know About Embossing

In this blog post, we'll show you three different ways to use embossing folders and give you tips on getting the most out of them. We'll also share a few project ideas to get you started!

So if you're looking for a way to add some extra pizzazz to your cards, scrapbook pages, and other crafts, read on for some embossing inspiration and fun! 

What Are Embossing Folders, and What Do They Do?

Embossing folders are a staple in any crafter's toolkit. They are versatile tools that can be used for various projects, from card making to scrapbooking. Essentially, most embossing folders for card making and paper crafting are thick, translucent plastic templates that you can use to create embossed designs.

They usually have two sides - one raised side (the embossing side) and one recessed side (the debossing side).These two sides are the ones that enable the transfer of the folder’s imprinted image to your paper - through pressure! 

Embossing folders are versatile crafting tools that you can use for card making, scrapbooking, and even other DIY projects like this lovely Mariposa frame!

Mariposa Embossing Folder & Stencil Bundle

Embossing folders come in many sizes and shapes and can be used with different types of paper to create unique effects. They can create raised images on cards, add texture to scrapbook pages, and serve as backgrounds for stamped images. 

Most embossing folder techniques involve dry embossing. Simply put, the designs and patterns engraved on the embossing folders are transferred onto paper and cardstock via pressure.

They also come in a wide variety of designs - from simple geometric patterns to more intricate floral or holiday-themed designs. With so many options and uses, it's no wonder embossing folders are such a popular crafting tool!

Find new inspiration in your projects with unique embossing folders like this stunning tie-dye design!

Tie Dye 3D Embossing Folder

One of the common ways to do this technique with most embossing folders is to place a piece of paper or cardstock inside the folder, then run it through an embossing machine or a die cutting machine.

When working with embossing folders, remember that there are two different types: standard embossing folders and 3D embossing folders. For a more in-depth discussion on embossing folders, check out our FREE Crafting 101 - Embossing Folders Online Cardmaking Class!

How to Use Embossing Folders for Your Crafting Projects

Whether you're a beginner crafter or a seasoned pro, learning how to use embossing folders is a great way to add a touch of dimension and interest to your projects. Here are three ways to maximize the use of embossing folders:

1. Use Embossing Folders to Create Beautiful Ink Backgrounds

    Did you know that you can create gorgeous inked backgrounds with embossing folders? To do this, we will follow Virginia's tutorial on easy coloring using Altenew Ink Sprays

     Make your holiday cards extraordinary with an embossment of the festive Perfect Poinsettia 3D Embossing Folder!

    Perfect Poinsettia 3D Embossing Folder

    1. First, choose your ink colors. You can play with monochromatic, complementary, or rainbow hues - whatever floats your boat! 
    2. After choosing your colors, you can spray ink directly on the card stock. Then, spritz water over the embossing folder. You are free to determine the mixing and placement of the ink colors and water - have fun exploring! 
    3. Finally, stick the damp side of the folder to the inky cardstock before running it through an embossing machine or a die cutting machine

    Overall, the results of this technique may look like variations of Virginia’s design below: 

    This beautiful ombre ink effect was made with Altenew's Metallic Ink Sprays and Perfect Poinsettia 3D Embossing Folder!

    Holiday Card Made With Metallic Ink Sprays

    With this method, you will surely create incredible texture and color on your paper, adding interest to your project!

    2. Make Your Cards Come To Life with 3D Embossing Folders

    As mentioned, 3D embossing folders are different from your standard embossing folder. 3D embossing folders only require one embossing plate and produce a deeper indent than regular ones. For Altenew's version of 3D Embossing Folders, we boast a three-dimensional shaped design - resulting in beautifully raised elements that pop off the page!

     A great example of how embossing folders can enhance your crafting experience is Emily's project inspiration using the Ranunculus Bouquet 3D Embossing Folder. Thanks to the fine details of the 3D Embossing Folder, her watercoloring for this card was easier: 

    A perfect pairing of the Ranunculus Bouquet 3D Embossing Folder with Altenew's Artists' Watercolor 24 Pan Set produces captivating and detailed designs!

    Ranunculus Bouquet 3D Embossing Folder

    As you can see, even with loose watercoloring, the image turned out to be a stunning and realistic ranunculus! 

    There are a lot of other color media that would pair well with 3D embossing folders, so don't be afraid to experiment! With a dash of creativity, you can use them to level up any paper craft project.

    3. Craft Unique Cards With the Embossed Overlay Technique

    A term coined by Altenew's designer, Jaycee, the “embossed overlay” technique is a one-of-a-kind embossing folder method that will truly make your projects stand out. This technique is perfect for die sets with large surface areas and embossing folders with a lot of intricate details.

    The result of this technique would be a lovely sentiment and card panel that many crafters vie to create perfectly! To replicate this technique, you can follow Jaycee's Youtube tutorial:

    All you need is your embossing folder, a sizeable die-cut set, and some dye or pigment ink! This technique can be more time-consuming as it involves a lot of ink layering (depending on your color scheme) and embossing, but the outcome will be worth it! 

    Beautiful Projects You Can Make With Embossing Folders

    Due to the endless creative possibilities of using embossing folders in card making and other crafting projects, you can explore many ways to use them for innovative looks. Here are some of our other favorite card designs made with embossing folders to inspire you: 

    This gorgeous embossing folder design is perfect for wedding, anniversary, birthday, and friendship card themes!

    Loving Birds 3D Embossing Folder

    Create a stunning background for your card panels with these captivating tile textures!

    Dreamy Tiles 3D Embossing Folder

    Make your window cards special with their own brick wall panels!

    Brick Wall 3D Embossing Folder

    Some tips and tricks for using embossing folders

    Here are additional tips and tricks for using embossing folders in your paper crafting projects:  

    • Create lovely focal pieces for your cards with embossing folders and make them pop with Instant Dimension Foam Tape.
    • Use embossing folders to make scrapbook accents and embellishments by cutting out shapes from different colors of cardstock. You can also use them as patterned borders for pictures! 
    • Try upgrading your shaker cards with embossing folders - give your card panel a gorgeous texture alongside a window! 
    • For a more challenging embossing folder technique, try out the eclipse technique in this tutorial shown by Michelle. 

    All in all, let your imagination run free because embossing folders will surely be your perfect crafting companion! 

    Spruce up your projects easily with one-of-a-kind embossing folder textures!

    Hosta 3D Embossing Folder

    We hope you enjoyed these three techniques for using embossing folders in your paper crafting projects. To learn more about embossing folders, visit our Embossing 101 page for other techniques and inspiration! 

     Be sure to check out more tips and ideas from Altenew's All About Crafting, where you can find everything you need to create beautiful cards, scrapbooks, and other crafts. Have a blast with your next crafting project!

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