What is embossing?

December 14, 2019

Embossing refers to the process of making raised relief images into paper or cardstock, giving a three dimensional look. In the 19th century, the British postal service used embossing to give stamps a regal look. Embossing produces raised text or images, with the design sitting higher than the rest of the paper. Similarly, debossing produces a recessed image effect, with whatever design impressed into the surface of the paper. For blind embossing, printers apply no foil or ink to the embossed design, leaving only the slightly raised image. Consequently, blind embossing gives a simple and elegant look that can be ideal for folders or similar printed materials. 

Both embossing and debossing use two metal dies – one with a raised surface and one with a recessed surface. As a result, the two dies should fit perfectly into each other like puzzle pieces. Next, a sheet of paper or cardstock is placed between the two dies and, using heat and pressure, the raised die is pressed into the recessed die. When done correctly, this combination of heat and pressure will permanently alter the shape of the paper fibers and leave a lasting embossed or debossed design. 

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