Saturday, September 24, 2011

À la Peanut Butter Ink-Resists!

emboss resist texture

So, how do you feel about

embossing techniques?
(Secretly, they make me feel like a magician!)

Pressure embossing does seem like some kind of magic, doesn't it?
That raised loveliness appearing out of nowhere, just from
rolling through a machine... Poof! ;o)

And heat embossing is too thrilling: melting that powder
to transform it into gorgeous glassiness instantly.

When you add ink-resist to the mix
doesn't it all feel some kind of crazy-fun alchemy?

"First, I wave my magic wand & say the magic words:

À la peanut butter ink-resists!"...

...and we turn this piece of
pressure embossed patterned paper...

1) Pressure emboss a piece of patterned paper (or plain cardstock or stamped) in an embossing folder

...into this inky textured piece:



Pressure embossing resist

This technique combines:

1) pressure embossing (using a Cuttlebug, BigShot,
Vagabond, Wizard whatever machine you have, and embossing folders)
2) Heat embossing (and the resist technique).

  • Embossing folder
  • Pressure Embossing machine
  • Cosmo Cricket Early Bird patterned paper
  • Versamark ink or other clear embossing ink
  • Clear embossing powder (fine/detail)
  • A heat gun
  • A brayer, if you have one
  • Temporary adhesive or rolled pieces of scotch tape

Step 1) Pressure emboss a piece of patterned paper in an embossing folder. (The one shown here is a Stampin' Up folder Vintage Wallpaper. A gift from the world's best BFF).

Step 2) Apply clear embossing ink.

Some Tips: I like to temporarily affix the paper to keep it flat Temporary adhesive or rolled pieces of scotch tape. Then brayer Versamark clear embossing ink onto the raised areas (or carefully dab the Versamark pad directly onto the paper, if you don't have a brayer).

Step 3) Apply Clear embossing powder to the wet ink (I like fine or detail embossing powder best).

Step 4) Pour off the extra embossing powder.

Step 5) Brush away any spots of unwanted embossing powder, if there are any.

Step 6) Heat set the embossing powder with a heat gun.

Step 7) If you want high contrast to your resist (where the bright areas are nice and bright) then you might like to reapply more Versamark & embossing powder for even coverage. I find that 2 or 3 layers is good.

Step 8) Then just heat set those second or third layers of embossing powder.

Step 9) You could simply stop here & use the embossed piece as is for shiny pressure embossing or...

Add colour:

Step 10) Apply ink for a resist.

Some Tips: Be sure to let the heat embossing cool completely before inking for the best results (only takes a minute or so). I like to work with an ink dauber or sponge in circles to get in the little grooves. Dye-based ink works well but Pigment inks or Distress inks will work as well.

Step 11) Remove excess ink from the clear resist areas with a cloth.

and it should end up looking something like this:


If your resist areas look a little muddy or dark after you apply the ink...

there is a fun solution:

To get very high contrast, you can put the embossed piece
between paper towels and iron off some of the embossing powder
until it looks bright (This is a thrill!)

Any of the black ink that tinted the embossing powder
will transfer to the paper towel with ironing,

leaving you with lots of lovely contrast:

Pressure emboss resist lanterns mel stampz

And pretty patterns revealed where you did the clear heat embossing:


A Tip: If you don't want to remove all of the embossing powder and you don't want the texture of the paper towel to imprint itself into the clear heat embossing, you can sandwich your piece in copy paper and then iron.

If you find that you've hit areas of your paper with
clear embossing powder & it resists leaving patches of pattern where
the black "should" be, like this one:


Don't sweat it. Enjoy the serendipity!
That natural messy artistic look is so hot right now.
(By the by, this folder is Provocraft's Birds & Swirls)

It's so fun to see which parts of patterned
paper show up on your raised image


And it's a stash-buster. You can breathe new life into old papers that
you might be bored with or not sure how to use.

The patterned paper above was
BasicGrey's Marrakech 6x6 Paper:

You can also stamp over it:

white acrylic paint resist with black ink & white text over it

This one has a definition stamp stamped over it in white ink
& heat embossed in clear embossing powder.
(This is Provocraft's Skeleton Scroll folder).

And if you find that working the paper so much causes the pressure
embossing impression to disappear, you can put it back in the folder
line it up & re-emboss it:

re-pressure emboss

Re-embossing like this works even after heat embossing.
(If your embossing folder is perfectly symmetrical you could even
re-pressure-emboss it to reverse the embossing
from concave to convex...)

Contrarily, if you want less of an impression
(more flatness) You can squish it!

Of course, it need not be limited to a dark look.
You can also use lighter inks or paint wash to get softer looks:


This was done on printed digi paper
(from Cosmo Cricket's Clementine digital paper pack)
& instead of black ink, I used a paint wash of white acrylic paint & water.

15) You can also use lighter inks or paint wash to get softer looks. This  was done on printed digi paper.

Surprisingly with paint, the heat-embossing retains a lovely shine
(if you wipe as you go with a damp cloth) and the pattern pops.

I thought the digi paper might bleed from using the paint wash,
but it didn't! (The snowflake folder is from
Provocraft's Cuttlebug Winter Wonderland Set).

This piece was clear embossed on white cardstock
then inked with Soft Sky ink:

(The folder is Small Alphabet from Crafts Too).
(I cut it up & punched out the letters 'h' & 'i' to spell "hi" on a card)

In place of patterned paper, you could also use:
  • plain white or coloured cardstock;
  • or stamped papers;
  • watercolour painted paper;
  • or shimmer sprayed paper;
  • digital paper; book or magazine pages
  • or whatever you like...!
A Tip: Some thin or fragile papers may work best if you glue them to cardstock first. My favourite adhesive for this is a layer of gel medium (or matte medium) not too thin, not too thick. If you get tearing in your paper, try embossing two pieces at one time as a fix.

If you don't have heat embossing supplies, you could experiment
with brayering on (or painting on) any of these instead:

  • acrylic paints
  • gesso
  • gel medium/multi medium/glazes
  • crayon/wax (you can iron it off later, if you like)
  • But I don't recommend peanut butter! ;o)

Hope you found this as much fun as I did:

"One! One kind of embossing! Ah Ah Ah!
Two! Two kinds of embossing! Ah Ah Ah Ah Ah AH!
Oh, I love it! Ah Ah Ah AH!"
(Shhh... Don't tell, I'm the world's biggest craft-nerd.)

Thanks for putting up with my insanity! ;o)

P.S. Here is a one page reference sheet for
how to do this pressure embossing resist:



Glennis F said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I have done a little of this, but you have taken it further. I shall be doing some more experimenting. I particularly like the idea of using up patterned paper.

jessica said...

WOW!! this is a GREAT tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing and I will have to give this a try :)

CreativSpirit said...

If this is insanity, I'm with you Mel. Thanks for a great tutorial, much apreciated, I have the day to myself so will give it a try.

Scrapthat said...

AWESOME!! I think I like the first best though...I think because of the high contrast between them.

Crafty Loops said...

Mel this is really fantastic, thank you so, so much for taking the time to do this tutorial. Not only one tutorial, but all the wee extras and tips. I cant wait to try this. Lee xx (Ps I am having a big blog give away on my blog if you fancy a peek)x

Yoli said...

Beautiful! Really appreciate the tutorial. I'll have to give it a try. Luv your little helpers from Sesame Street.

sunghee said...

Oh my~~!!! Simply gorgeous! You are the most brilliant magician evah! WOW!!!!!!! Love Counts, too. Hehe.

Rufus said...

Love your "helper"! Thanks soooo much for this! You added all sorts of little tips that I'd either forgotten or never figured out. Brilliant! Another way to get rid of some of that ugly DP I've ended up with.

paperpapier said...

thank you so much for enlightening us with this brilliant idea! Love the result and this experiment has opened up to so many possibilities with embossing folder and inking.

Marian said...

This is beautifully awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing this grand idea!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this really bright idea! You are really a magican! Ly

Vladuška said...

This is great. Thank you, you really are magician :)

Nancy Wethington said...


Dawn said...

bwahahaha...I don't know what I like more... your beautiful technique or your hilarious PS'd muppets! You goof!!

haven't done that technique in a while, you've got my creative juices flowing now!


Katarina said...

I couldn't wait to see your tutorial for this type of embossing. I LOVE the effect and will be trying it myself ASAP! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

hi melissa,lady

Dawn said...

Too funny! Technique is great too!
: )

Laura said...

oh god... i think i m fainting!!!! This is gorgeous!!!! :) Another one of your ideas on my TO DO list! :)

I hope all is ok on your side... been very busy here... I am going back home on the 2nd of October so I have a lot to pack and buy :)

Bug hugs!

Anonymous said...

Wow..I love, love, love this technique! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Your tutorials are always fun, entertaining & very informative! Hugs, Vina

Ink. Paper. Love. said...

Mel, this is stunning! Im trying this!

Holly Young said...

A la Peanut Butter turns into Razzle McDazzle! Love it Mel!

SaraBug said...

Thanks for the tutorial. It looks like fun. I can't wait to try it.

Martine said...

what a great technique! it looks fabulous! TFS!!

Maggie said...

Thank you for this great tutorial! Love the idea of using the patterned papers I don't like that much :)

Kate said...

Hi Mel...blimey you do a whole load of stuff with paper that I never even knew existed. Anyway, I have now added your site to my reader so can stay in the loop....yippee!

Unknown said...

Your tutorials always rock!!! Even though I too have done emboss resist before I always learn something new from you!!! That Brayer is GENIUS!!! :) Just love your stuff!

reeree62 said...

Beautiful results from an amaZing technique!!! Your tutes are always so clear & I learn so much from them. Thanks for that!
Also, the whole a la peanut butter sandwich thing has me laughing!!!

SherylH said...

What a great technique! I am always glad to find a use for those patterned papers that are hanging around in my stash.

Unknown said...

you are so cool - I was trying to do it by wiping the ink pad over - never though of using my brayer - doh!!!

my cat plaque

Ann said...

You are a magician indeed! Such gorgeous-ness and the process is undoubtedly as much fun as admiring the end result. Thanks Mel!

Sue from Oregon said...

Such a fun post Mel!I can't quit staring at how very different each example looks! I will have to give this one a try for sure!

Winnie said...

Love the tutorial. I love the count too...This is someone who has two puppets from Mr. Rogers neighborhood....

Patricia said...

this tutorial is fabulous... thank you very much..

Ingrid Vogels said...

Wow, that is cool.
I am gonna try this today.
thank for the great tutorial.

BeverlyBL said...

Wow! Thanks for the tutorial and ESPECIALLY thank you for the ONE PAGE pdf. Wish everyone would condense. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mari said...

You're magic, Mel. :) Somehow you've taken something that didn't really appeal to me (the original paper) and made it fantastic.... You ROCK!

mybonnetbee said...

this tutorial is really COOL! and your 'how to' one page is great! I love your blog and your works are so inspiring. thanks a lot!! ^___^

Judy Inukai said...

What an awesome technique. Thanks for the very detailed tutorial.

leslie (crookedstamper) said...

OMGosh, I am SO going to try this!!! Thanks for the SUPER tutorial!!!! xo

Erum Tasneem said...

wowieeee!!! I have been waiting for this! SO INTERESTING! I will try this somewhere in Feb when I get my embossing powders and versamark

Kee said...

This was GREAT! I love not only the wonderful technique you showed, but I love the clear steps and your sense of humor. The Count rocks!

Nancy S said...

How inspiring! I love all the details in your tutorial. Especially the tip about using several layers of powder, and then removing the top stained layer. Genius!

susanne said...

Gorgeous work! Very creative and inspiring! Thanks so much!

Trina said...

Awesome tutorial! I have plenty of papers that were bought for the great price but aren't really what I like. This technique should make them a lot more interesting!

Smilie girl said...

You are a genius! A la peanut butter sandwiches!

Kathi said...

Fabulous tutorial. I love that you show all the variations and riff with it!

I'm going to have to give this technique a go!

Creative Tara said...

Not only is this an awesome technique, your photos of the count are freakin' awesome- so jealous you got to do some a la peanut butter crafting with him ;)

Valorie said...

LOVE this tutorial! I have a do you emboss on a 12x12 piece of paper? As in the snowflake example. I have a big shot machine. Do I need a different type of embossing machine to do the 12x12 sheet size? Thanks in advance!

annemarks said...

Only just found your blog and wow! I love the cuttlebug techniques. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration :)

Wellnifty said...

Just found this via pinterst, thanks for sharing great tutorial

Klara said...

I was always wondering how it will be using embossing powder with cuttelbug folders but I've never really tried it. It's really incredible how this technique work's out. Thank you for your amazing tutorials. I just love your blog. :)

Launa said...

This is a wonderful tutorial. Thank you for all the great one by one picture steps, but most of all, thank you for the one page reference page at the end. I am looking forward to trying this process in my she-cave.

FerrellGraph-x said...

Brilliant!!! What a fabulous way to transform a not so pretty piece of patterned paper!!! awesome!
Kindest regards,

Debby said...

What an awesome tutorial. I've done the technique many times but you have provided great instructions with clear and understandable step outs. I plan to share this post with my crafty friends.

Joyas LaHoja said...

Thanks for sharing this technique, it is a very smart way to preserve part of a drawn or a pattern. I still don´t know how, but I feel that one day I will use it in my jewelry clay.

I will follow your blog.


Jill Norwood said...

Incredible! Thanks for the info !

brainyliz said...

What fantastic ideas! You have inspired me to go and tidy my study so I have room to try them out!

rkramadh said...

Brilliant, gorgeous! I had somehow not visited your blog for a while and came here today via Jann Gray's blog. OMG! I have missed a lot, I need to visit you every week. I have a question though. In step 9, the heat embossed area is white/clear. In step 10, they look yellow or golden. I thought you applied a dark ink in step 10, so I don't know why the embossed area looks yellow/gold in step 10. Please clarify. Thanks for the detailed tutorial and tips! You are so generous!

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Hi 'rkramadh' Thank you so vey much for your lovely comment. I'm replying to your question here, since your blogger account is 'no reply' Hope you see this. :o)

The paper I used actually has that golden colour. Step 9 just seems like the paper is white because of a difference in lighting when I shot the photos for the tutorial. Having said that, though, sometimes the embossed sections will seem to change colour a little bit depending on the ink you use to do the resist with. Which is part of the magic surprise, I guess. ;0) Happy Crafting, Mel

Cami said...

Great tutorial! You never cease to amaze me. You have taken this technique to another level and I will try this with some old forgotten papers. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Wow, just wow. What a fab idea!! I am all new to the world of paper craft and I am amazed everyday at the things I find! Now to put it all together...! X

Unknown said...

Awesome tutorial Mel...loved it...thanks for sharing!

Cindy C. said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful tutorial! Looking forward to try it!!