In Part 2 I left you with the thought of heat embossing on paper mache. Does it work – oh yeah.
These are the embossing powders I was telling you about. They are Allure Powders and I bought four colors: Oil Rubbed Bronze, Hammered Metal, Charred Gold and Burnt Copper Leaves. I like to quickly identify a color and texture with these kind of products so I embossed the lids with samples.
To start heat embossing this project I needed an embossing ink (it’s sort of a binder, something for the powder to stick to in the area where you want to emboss). Normally, this ink is applied with a rubber stamp and you would be embossing just that imprint from the stamp, but I want to cover large blank areas so I tried just using a paint brush.
You can just barely make out the light blue color of the “ink” on this portion of antler. I’ve already done the smaller antler section but I lightly brushed some ink up into that area’s base to overlap and then went on up the unfinished antler for another couple of inches.
I sprinkle the powder over the ink making sure I’ve got a good coating on, tapping off the excess into a large embossing tray.
This will let me easily dump the unused powder back into the bottle as well as keep the powder (pretty much) contained as I work. I lost very little powder to the floor and only had a little bit in my shoes (that felt weird).
And then it was time to watch the magic of heat embossing work. As I focus the heat gun on the sections of dull powder it starts to melt and turn to shiny metal – magic! I love playing with embossing powders but especially these heavy powders. One moment I have paper mache antlers and the next – it looks like they’re cast in bronze. SUCCESS! Once I started I couldn’t stop. I embossed all afternoon.
The only break I took was when I realized that I wasn’t quite sure about the eye detail. I hopped onto the net, found a couple of pics to print out for white tails giving me a side and full on look, and printed them out.
Using those as guides, I penciled in an eye shape to work around. I’m no good at drawing but this technique has worked for me in the past, the eye’s good enough to keep me on track, anyways.
And the antlers are done! And I LOVE how they turned out. They really look like metal, but totally without the weight factor – how cool is that? Having never embossed this large an area before, I wondered as I went along if I would have enough embossing powder to get the job done.
To my utter amazement, the answer was YES and then some. To do all the antler surface, this is how much powder I used and how much is left of a full bottle.
Another great thing about embossing powder, touch ups. I went over my antlers to see if I had missed any areas and sure enough, I had. I painted on a bit more ink, sprinkled powder and hit it with the heat. Done.
Ready for the next color. I had used Burnt Copper Leaves for the antlers (I wanted them to be darker than the rest of the stag), so I chose Hammered Metal (a bright silver) for the rest. Here I’ve done the ear. When I use this technique in the future, I will add any embossed foil pieces after I heat emboss, but, as I had already glued the ear foil pieces on this time, I needed to work around that. I used the paintbrush to carefully apply my embossing ink around the foil making sure not to have any powder stick on the foil before I used the heat gun. If some powder grains stick in the wrong places, just use a clean small brush to flick them off before you use the heat.
From there, I just worked out in sections until I eventually had it all covered.
This time the powder usage was a bit more. I used almost the entire bottle but there was a lot more surface to cover with this color.
But wow, I am really pleased with how he turned out. Bear in mind, he’s not done yet. I have lots of Steampunk/gear work still to do here. I did add some Black Ultra Thick embossing powder to the eye areas, more to give me a sense of dimension there than anything else.
Now my thoughts are: what types of gears, where should they go? Should he be mounted on a plaque or simply hang from the wall as he is now? All good questions, with the answers coming soon in Part 4.
Craft on with me.