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Old 03-24-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
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Default Help please: Beginning Embosser frustrated

Hi,
I've only done embossing once and it was during a class at Archivers a few weeks back. I'm trying to make Easter cards and id doesn't seem to be working for me.

I've used black Versamark ink with black Zing powder and a Ranger heat gun. While it's dry, it feels gritty and I can brush off the powder. When I put the powder on at first, I tap the card stock (Neenah) to get excess off.
I also tried using Versamark watermark ink with the black Zing and it didn't make any difference.

My goal is to color the image with water colors or distress ink. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:42 PM   #2
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My suggestion is to practice a bit on scratch paper. I think it might be that you are not letting it heat enough. You can actually see the embossing powder get shiney and that is when it is heated thoroughly. Turn the embossed piece in different directions while it is heating. You will see what I mean. (I hope so, that is.)
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:43 PM   #3
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Yes, that's what I expecting, that glossy look. The ranger gun seemed hot enough but the powder just didn't melt. I held it on the image a good 5 minutes.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
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Are you sure you have embossing powder and not just a glitter or other kind of powder? If you have the right powder maybe it is old?
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
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I bought it at Archiver's less than a year ago and it was still sealed until tonight. It's the same powder they used in the class except they used black ink with clear powder. I used black in and black powder.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:52 PM   #6
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Is it Versamark? I ask because have not seen black Versamark. But then, I never looked for it either.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:54 PM   #7
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It isn't Versafine ink by any chance?
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:54 PM   #8
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The powder is Zing Black Embossing. The ink is Versacolor black and Versacolor watermark. I also have, unopened a Memento Ink that is also black and a Ranger Black Ink...not distress.

Does that help? Am I heading in the right direction for my coloring idea?
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:03 PM   #9
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Are you inking the stamp using the Versacolor black only?
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:04 PM   #10
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Yes, I inked the stamp with the Black Versacolor, then put the Zing powder, then heat.

I also userd the Versacolor Watermark ink, then Zing and heat. The end result was the same.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:05 PM   #11
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The powder is Zing Black Embossing. The ink is Versacolor black and Versacolor watermark. I also have, unopened a Memento Ink that is also black and a Ranger Black Ink...not distress.

Does that help? Am I heading in the right direction for my coloring idea?
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if the Ink allows the powder to stick then I would think the Ink was okay. Try turning the heat gun on and letting it warm up first. Then heat over the image. The powder should melt right in front of your eyes. Just an FYI, you can watercolor if you stamp with memento tuxedo black ink or black staz on ink without embossing.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #12
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I am perplexed. Either the heat gun isn't hot enough or the embossing powder is old. I am thinking though.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #13
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It sounds like your heat gun isn't getting hot enough to thoroughly melt the powder. Mine gets very hot after about 10 seconds and starts melting the embossing powder. Depending on the size of the image, I'm generally done in 20-40 seconds. If I tried to heat the same image for 5 minutes, my paper would be badly scorched. Ranger is a good brand but perhaps your heat gun is defective.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:09 PM   #14
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It sounds like you haven't melted the embossing powder all the way, and that's why it still feels gritty and flakes away. The Ranger heat gun takes longer to melt the powder, since it isn't as powerful as the other heat guns. Keep heating the powder until it gets shiny, but no longer than that. Keep practicing, and you'll get the hang of it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:24 PM   #15
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A couple of hints:

Shake up the embossing powder - it settles if it sits for a while
EP could be old when you bought it - do you have other EP you could try?
Heat from the back side if you need to heat for a longer period of time so it doesn't burn the paper
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:31 PM   #16
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I'm less inclined to think that age is a problem - I know some people say they experience this, but I have some EPs that are at least 6 years old and they still work.
How far away from the paper are you holding the heat gun? After 5 minutes I would definitely have expected not just the powder to be melted but, as someone else has mentioned, my paper to be starting to get scorched!! If it's gritty, then it's not even that you've over-heated it, because when you do that it starts getting absorbed into the paper.
How frustrating for you, though - I hope you find the answer soon.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:55 AM   #17
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Just a thought. Is your embossing powder a distress embossing powder? If it is, this could be a possible explanation. I have some distress powder that has a bit of that texture after heated.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:17 AM   #18
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I would practice using just the Versamark and the Zing. Forget using the black Versacolor for now. There's no need anyway, since the Zing is black and if you emboss correctly you shouldn't even see the ink.

Hold the gun close enough to the paper - I hold mine three or four inches away at most. Keep the gun moving slightly. Work in proper light so that you can clearly see when the EP changes (when I first started embossing I didn't realize how important that was), and when you think you are done hold up the piece and turn it this way and that, to be sure every single part of the image is shiny. If not, and you see you've missed some bits, go back and heat the parts that didn't melt until they do.

Like everything else, it's a matter of practice.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:26 AM   #19
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I held the gun as close as 1 inch or closer and the paper didn't even scorch, nor did the Zing powder melt. I called Ranger and they think it's the gun. Evidently they had a bad batch. They're going to send a new one. Unfortunately, that wrecks my plan to complete these cards. I hope that is, indeed the trouble.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:56 AM   #20
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Oh! I feel for you! All that work and frustration and it turns out the heat gun was defective!

On the plus side, when you get your new (properly working) gun, you'll no doubt be instantly successful and that will make you so happy!

As for your Easter cards - well, we've all been through that kind of disappointing setback. Take a deep, calming breath! Time for "Easter Cards - Plan B" !
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:03 PM   #21
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I experienced what I am guessing as similar results when my versamark ink pad had dried up some. Once I added some ink it worked great!

Good luck!!
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobrien207 View Post
I held the gun as close as 1 inch or closer and the paper didn't even scorch, nor did the Zing powder melt. I called Ranger and they think it's the gun. Evidently they had a bad batch. They're going to send a new one. Unfortunately, that wrecks my plan to complete these cards. I hope that is, indeed the trouble.
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Do you have any Archival Ink? You could use that without the embossing and still water color. I think you can heat set (*see below) the Versafine/Versacolor ink. I could be worth a try.

I don't know how many you are doing but you can heat emboss with any heat. *I have heard of people using lightbulbs (hold it over a lamp) and or toasters... It isn't as straightforward as a heatgun but if you only have to do a few it might be worth it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:16 AM   #23
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I don't know how many you are doing but you can heat emboss with any heat. *I have heard of people using lightbulbs (hold it over a lamp) and or toasters... It isn't as straightforward as a heatgun but if you only have to do a few it might be worth it.
I've done this! Back in the last century, I didn't have a heat gun but was able to get good results by holding my embossing over an electric stove burner (WITH TONGS!). A lightbulb works, if it's not one of those new-fangled compact fluorescents or LED types, but the electric stove burner worked better and was easier on my eyes.

I also read somewhere about a stamper that embossed in her oven. I'll see if I can find the info on temperature, etc. It sounded like an easier method for mass-produced cards.


ETA: I have searched and searched and cannot find the info I was looking for - tons of stuff on using a toaster oven, but not what I was looking for in a regular oven.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:56 AM   #24
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I have a small toaster over I have used to emboss in. I haven't used my big oven, but only because its upstairs from my stamp room. It it were anywhere near my stamps it would be fair game!

If I were going to use my oven I'd just stamp and put the embossing on several cards at once then lay them out on cardboard on a cookie sheet. Or aluminum foil. I would think a 350 oven would be hot enough to melt the embossing powder without scorching the paper. You might want to be a little more cautious and start with a cooler oven.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:21 AM   #25
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If you have a small space heater that might work too. Just use something else to hold the paper from afar so your hand doesn't get burned. I used a clothespin tied to a pole. I held the pole and the clothespin held the paper. Very inconvenient. But it worked for me before I had a heat gun.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:31 AM   #26
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I have a small toaster over I have used to emboss in. I haven't used my big oven, but only because its upstairs from my stamp room. It it were anywhere near my stamps it would be fair game!

If I were going to use my oven I'd just stamp and put the embossing on several cards at once then lay them out on cardboard on a cookie sheet. Or aluminum foil. I would think a 350 oven would be hot enough to melt the embossing powder without scorching the paper. You might want to be a little more cautious and start with a cooler oven.
Shrink plastic and secondary embossing situations were not the reason I bought my husband a toaster oven that is just beside my craft area!
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:26 PM   #27
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While I don't know for certain what the problem is, Ranger is going to replace the heat gun. Said they'd had a bad bunch a bit ago. So, we'll see. Thanks for all the good advice.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:57 PM   #28
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While I don't know for certain what the problem is, Ranger is going to replace the heat gun. Said they'd had a bad bunch a bit ago. So, we'll see. Thanks for all the good advice.
Mob
Let us know how you make out with the new heat gun. I'd really be curious to see if that was the problem all along! Thanks.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:32 AM   #29
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Possibly the ink is too dry and the embossing powder isn't clinging to it? I have had that happen. Wet embossing can be very frustrating. I use a swifter dust cloth before I stamp and the after I tap off the embossing powder I often use a fine tip brush to get any stubborn powder where I don't want it. You can over stamp with your versamark and not realize it until the embossing powder has set.. I have done it all ( made ALL the mistakes). I wish you luck!
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:53 AM   #30
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It sounds like you haven't melted the embossing powder all the way, and that's why it still feels gritty and flakes away. The Ranger heat gun takes longer to melt the powder, since it isn't as powerful as the other heat guns. Keep heating the powder until it gets shiny, but no longer than that. Keep practicing, and you'll get the hang of it.
I totally agree about the heat gun. I bought a Ranger one to have as a backup and am SO disappointed in it. It won't melt the powder (dries them well but not melting anything). Reading reviews it seems like a lot of people are having problems so I'm wondering if there are a bunch of defective ones or they are just not hot enough? I heated and heated with that darn thing while people were sleeping and it never got it all melted. Then used the other gun and in a couple seconds it was melted.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:26 AM   #31
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mob -- When you get the proper heat gun (kudos to Ranger for sending a new one your way), you may want to try heating the underside of the area you're embossing as well as the top side. I have found my paper curls less and that the embossing powder melts and blends more evenly this way. Good luck, and please keep us posted!
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:01 AM   #32
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I am an "embossing freak" do it on all my cards--there is no way it should take 5 minutes to complete this task...Versamark (Permanent ink) with any color or clear embossing powder and a heat gun--takes seconds--you see the transformation of the ink and powder smooth out instantly...Do not hold the heat gun too close to the project or you'll melt down the embossing powder too flat. Also, make lil' circles above the embossed item with the nose of the heat gun...seconds..not minutes--keep the gun about 2-4" inches above your project...once it starts embossing it goes really fast. I have used and warn out the "crafty heat guns" and only use my big ol' "Milwaukee" wall paper remover heat gun--this gun has lasted for at least 5 years--it's more clunky but as I said, I emboss all the time.

When teaching a class I have the students look from the side to see the transformation as it smooths out-move to the next section or keep the gun circling until your embossing is done. Do not "overcook" or it will flatten down and look "schmerey" Good luck!
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:07 AM   #33
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One other thing I do, can't remember if I mentioned it, but I turn the gun on for a few seconds without aiming it at my paper to let it warm up a bit. Doesn't take as long then to get the image popping.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:09 PM   #34
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I totally agree about the heat gun. I bought a Ranger one to have as a backup and am SO disappointed in it. It won't melt the powder (dries them well but not melting anything). Reading reviews it seems like a lot of people are having problems so I'm wondering if there are a bunch of defective ones or they are just not hot enough? I heated and heated with that darn thing while people were sleeping and it never got it all melted. Then used the other gun and in a couple seconds it was melted.
Hmmm....I originally got a Nicole gun for $10 and never used it. A friend is planning to buy it. I decided against it and bought the Ranger (more$$$) because I'd heard good things about it including how quiet it is. It certainly is quiet, but that's no help if it doesn't work well....even when I get the new one.

Having done embossing in a class, I recall how you move the gun and can watch as the powder changes before your eyes. This time it didn't melt like that...it stuck, but didn't actually melt, just stuck as lots of little particles and I could brush off some even after that. It's not horrible to the "untrained" eye, but it's not correct and anyone SCS would shudder at the sight of it. It did allow me to paint the image though, so it worked on some level.

Thanks for all the good advice everyone.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:10 PM   #35
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There is this new fangled device called an iron. In the days before I had a heat gun, I used to prop the iron upside down between a couple of books, and emboss away. Worked very well
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:43 PM   #36
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I am not familiar with Zing embossing powder but I'm having the same problem with Stewart Superior's Cloisonné embossing powder. I bought it for the color as it was the only bronze EP I had ever seen. I stamped with Versamark & sprinkled it on. It wasn't superfine but I didn't think anything of it until I went to tap off the excess & it all came off.

It turns out it is a granulated embossing powder & creates a high gloss enamel look. From what I have learned, you need to stamp with some type of heat activated glue pad to hold it in place while heating.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:48 PM   #37
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Sounds like your heat gun is definitely the problem---especially if the company said they had a bad batch. I would go to Joann's or Michael's and buy another one (never hurts to have a spare) and that way you can do your cards the way you want. I have had a Milwaukee for years and it still works fine. I did purchase a Darice to keep in my "travel" stamping bag and it has worked well for years, too. Good luck and keep us posted on your efforts.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #38
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Mine's a Nichole heating tool. It was cheap and has worked well. I think I got it at Michaels or ACMoore with a 50% off a couple of years ago.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:18 PM   #39
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Mt Albert, north of Toronto, Ontario, Can
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I have embossing powder that is way over 5 years old. More like 7-8 years old minimum and it works fine. No embossing powder of any type takes 5 minutes to melt. Even if the heat gun is dead cold, it still takes less than a minute.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:41 PM   #40
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Oshawa,Ontario
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It has got to be the gun. Zing is a well known brand of EP.
When embossing use watermark or pigment ink. Both stay wet long enough for proper heat embossing. Pigment is great when you match the ink colour with the ep. It creates a much richer and less porous looking emboss. I teach both methods in the classes I teach at the scrapbook store I work in. Any other ink pad other than the 2 I mentioned do not stamp wet enough to emboss with. Versacolor that you mentioned is I believe a pigment ink and as long as the pad is juicy enough you should have no problem with embossing with it. Good luck mob- post when you get your new gun!!
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