Workshop: Hand-embossing paper

An interesting one day workshop, not something I see myself doing a lot of but another skill I’m exploring.

This technique requires the use of a lightbox and, whilst I have my own purchased model, the tutor brought along a great homemade one I thought would be good to share.  So if you haven’t got a lightbox here’s a simple and inexpensive version.

PE1She used a perspex cookery-book stand, on its side, with a short strip light sitting as shown.  There was some glare from the light when using small items on the surface but this could be reduced by placing self adhesive window ‘frosting’ (bought at hardware stores) over the surface.  Alternatively you could place other paper sheets around where you are working to reduce the glare (which really isn’t good for the eyes).

Using thin cardboard (cereal packet type) we cut single and multiple embossing templates.  A piece of tracing paper was adhered to the underside to keep the work clean.

PE2I made some positive and some negative templates:

PE3This enables you to place your paper over the template and press around the shapes either on the inner edge or the outer.  The outer is much harder (right hand template) as every tiny pause or stumble is very evident as that is the right side.  Using the template on the left is easier because you are pressing from the back and any tiny faults don’t show when the paper is turned over.   Try it and see the difference!

Using various styluses and small burnishing tools we manipulated our paper, pushing it into the lower edges of the templates – effectively ‘stretching’ it into shape.  We quickly realised that some papers work better than others.  I started with Hahnemuhle and found it so soft and spongy that the design didn’t impress sharply.  BFK Reeves worked very well as do most of the slightly lighter weight smooth surface printing papers.  My handmade paper was also a success.

Here are a few of the results, both mine and those of my classmates:

PE4Above: some of my pieces.  Hard to photograph white on white.  The top two images show the difference between positive and negative imagery.  What I particularly enjoyed was being introduced to multiple layer embossing.

PE5Clockwise from top left: Work by Chris, Lydia, Mandy and Dinah.

Overall, a fun day, a great tutor and some good results.

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About Claire B

I'm a passionate printmaker, paper-maker and a poor sketcher (which I'm working to improve). I've stitched from early childhood and am a perpetual student, loving learning and participating in everything creative.
This entry was posted in General fun pursuits, My Creative Pieces, Workshops & Classes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Workshop: Hand-embossing paper

  1. Lottie says:

    Thanks for the lightbox tip and for sharing your day’s work. Looks like you all had a successful workshop.

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