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Embossed Holiday Cards

Take your projects to a new level by learning a technique called embossing. Embossing is a technique used to create a raised, or 3-dimensional, image on a piece of paper. You can emboss store-bought stationery or cards, or you can make your own from card stock.




Embossing powder, a fast melting powder compound, must be used when embossing -- not just any glitter or decorating powder will do. Embossing powder comes in nearly every color imaginable; opaque, metallic, and even translucent varieties are available.


  • Paper, from Martha Stewart Crafts
  • Rubber stamps, from Martha Stewart Crafts
  • Embossing powder
  • Embossing pad
  • Heat gun
  • Compressed air (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Press a rubber stamp onto an embossing pad. Position the stamp over the card; apply firm, even pressure to transfer the design. Clean the stamp with a paper towel, then a stamp-cleaning pad.

  2. Step 2

    Place the card on a paper plate; sprinkle embossing powder over the stamped design. Tap the card to remove excess powder, and reapply as needed to coat design. If there is stray powder on the card, very gently spray compressed air from a can fitted with an extension wand.

  3. Step 3

    Working in sections, hold a heat gun 2 inches from the design and move the nozzle in a circular motion. The powder-covered areas will melt, creating glossy finish. Continue until the entire design has melted. Gently wave the card 3 or 4 times to set the design. If the paper begins to curl, heat the back of the card, and fan it again. Then place card under a heavy book for 5 to 10 minutes (this will not smudge the design).

Martha Stewart Living, November 2006



Reviews (12)

  • astampingchicken 30 Nov, 2008

    Using an embossing buddy or dryer sheet on the cardstock prior to stamping, can reduce/eliminate stray powder. Another great resource for rubber stamping techniques is

  • astampingchicken 30 Nov, 2008

    Another tip to prevent/reduce static and stray powder, use an embossing buddy or dryer sheet on the cardstock before stamping. Another wonderful resource for stamping techniques is

  • tado45 30 Nov, 2008

    I do embossing and love the look of it. The idea of using the compressed air is great. I use a very small paint brush but on occasion does not work well where as the compressed air is a great idea!

  • patcash 30 Nov, 2008

    I had a hard time finding Stampworx 2000 but finally did and it had two bad reviews. On the page there were some other places so I clicked on them and found what I was looking for. I think you have to just go on Google or some search site and type in what you want and a lot of places will show up. Hope this helps, I know it helped me.

  • twinmimi 30 Nov, 2008

    Rubber stamping is as beautiful as art, and embossing can add just that very special something. Some of the most beautiful cards I have ever recieved were rubber stamped, and I might add, not by professional artists.

  • sschwedes48 30 Nov, 2008

    this is called wet embossing - there is also dry embosing where you use stencils and a style to make your embossed deisgn - as for landfills - i don't think there is any that gets to land fills - who would throw away a hand made card!! and if it does get thrown away it would be such a tiny tiny tiny (oh yes tiny) amount that would be on the card that it would amount to nothing..this is a lovely technique.

  • susantaylor 30 Nov, 2008

    There is a company called stampin up=they have a wide variety of stamps, embossing, card stock etc. Try it you may like it.

  • JessePiester 30 Nov, 2008

    This is not true embossing, so I was a tad confused when I started reading the instructions. I would have called this rubber stamp embossing. Sadly, I believe the powder embossing product is plastic, thus will sit in land fills un-biodegraded. . .

  • jnetti 30 Nov, 2008

    Dear Bowyer,
    I went back into the November 2006 issue and found the company that made the stamp. It was created by Stampworx 2000. I was able to find the site on the internet. They do unique custom work. I didn't look deep enough into the site to see if they sold this stamp. But i hope this info helps. Jnetti.

  • bowyer 30 Nov, 2008

    I would love to find the stamps used by Martha in the original article. Anyone have any information? Thanks.

  • TriciaJay 30 Nov, 2008

    This does look like a really fun craft. Wish I didn't have so many projects in the works or I would do it too!

  • jfriend9966 11 Sep, 2008

    I loved making embossed cards. As soon as I saw this segment I went out and bought everything I needed to make them. People love getting a hand-made card and the embossing adds a touch of elegance.