Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Cardmaking 301, Stars and Stamps, Tutorial | 15 comments

Tutorial – Embossing With Dies

Happy Tuesday, everyone! How about a great new tutorial today? This one was sent to me by our very own Cindy O. and features a really fun technique that you can do with dies! Since we have had so many fun things to do with dies already this month, this tutorial fits right in. Just look at these great cards by Cindy! Cindy has a blog –  Mostly Markers – Cards  that you should definitely go and see. She’s got some really amazing cards. Check this one out: The background of this card was done with a “doily” die. Cindy used the die to emboss the paper, rather than to cut it!

pink aqua floral 0114

You can see the original post about this card here – at Cindy’s blog.

How about a combination of die cutting and embossing- using the same die? What a stunning result!

hearts with twist plate 1013


The post about this card can be seen over here!

Fascinated by this technique, we asked Cindy to share a little how-to with us and she sure did. Hope you enjoy…


Embossing With Dies


  • A detailed and fairly large die, such as a doily die, an overall A2 size die (known as a cover plate, full card, or background die), or a floral die.  Dies that cut a simple outline are not the best choice, unless you want to emboss a frame shape.  This tutorial is for the very common low-profile or wafer-thin dies, not for the thicker steel-rule dies.
This is the style of die that you should use for this tutorial - wouldn't they make a pretty embossed pattern?

This is the style of die that you should use for this tutorial – wouldn’t they make a pretty embossed pattern?

  • A mechanical die cutting machine, like a Big Shot or Cuttlebug (not electronic like a Silhouette or Cricut)
  • An embossing mat or mat set.  The mats are made of silicone rubber, 1/16” or 1/32” thick and at least A2 size.  Some crafters use  “plumber’s gasket” material from the hardware store.
An embossing mat is made of  thick floppy rubber - made by many different brands they are available in the die cutting section of your favorite stores!

An embossing mat is made of thick floppy rubber – made by many different brands they are available in the die cutting section of your favorite stores!

  • Solid color card stock in a heavy weight – at least 80 lb. cover weight.  Patterned paper, lightweight paper, or white-on-one-side will not work well.
  • Some experience with your machine and sandwich thickness.  You don’t want to try this as a newbie with your machine!  Too thick a sandwich can damage the machine.  Experience with traditional embossing folders is helpful.
  • A sense of adventure!  There’s no magic formula for this technique.  You’ll need to experiment with your sandwich for each combination of die and card stock for a good impression.


  • Use the same cutting plates and/or Big Shot tabs/ platform configuration as you would for an embossing folder.
  • Position your die, cutting side toward the card stock.  You can put the die face up or face down, whichever you prefer.   Lay the embossing mat on the opposite side of the card stock.  In other words, your die will try to cut through the card stock into the embossing mat.  But because the mat is squishy and stretchy, the die won’t be able to cut.
  • Place the sandwiched die/card stock/mat between the cutting plates.  Roll this combined sandwich through the machine – carefully!   If it feels too tight, back out and reduce the overall thickness.
  • Check your results.  Did you get a nice, crisp impression?   If it’s faint, use a thicker sandwich – add a shim (card stock or metal) or try a thicker embossing mat.  If the card stock is torn, cracked, buckled, or cut, make your sandwich thinner.

Have fun!  This technique is a great way to get some extra mileage from dies!

 How about one more? Here is another card that Cindy made using a large, “background” diagonal stripe die to emboss her paper:

Teal with brown cream wreath 0214_cindy

More details about this card can be found here at the original post. Don’t forget to leave Cindy some love here today, for sharing with us!I know that I have lots of dies in my collection that I can’t wait to try this with. How about you?




  1. How clever! I love OWH because I learn new things all the time. Cindy your cards are fabulous!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, Cindy. I’ve been meaning to try this. I especially like the die cut on embossed pattern repeated.

  3. The things you learn! Thanks for sharing this great technique, Cindy. I can’t wait to try it out. Am head to the hardware store today to see about getting some plumber’s gasket. Your cards are beautiful!

  4. Great cards Cindy! I have an EBosser (electronic), and might have to just try this because I would love to be able to emboss with my thin metal dies. 🙂

  5. Just returned from Lowe’s and they have never heard of plumber’s gasket. Any one know where to get this?

    • I bought mine at Home Depot, but Lowe’s probably carries it; the workers just don’t realize it. (According to a friend who works there, there’s not a lot of training about where product is located). It comes in 6×6″ sheets and I got two in a pack for less than $4. I think it’s used so plumbers can cut rubber washers in unusual sizes; perhaps you can describe this to them. If in doubt, try a local hardware store for better customer service.

      • Thanks for the heads up re: HD. My hubby also suggested I go to an auto parts store as they might have something similar. I tried using an old mouse pad and got pretty good results. I’m sure I will come up with something – this is such a great idea and I can’t wait to make it work, as Tim Gunn would say.

      • Thank you so much for the link. I ran off a copy of the info, took it to my HD and now have what I need to try this technique. I appreciate your taking the time to help me out. Jill

        • Jill, Glad to help. I had heard about the rubber gaskets on a YouTube video about using different “sandwich” combinations with various dies and embossing folders and/or plates. I haven’t mastered the skill of getting good results without A LOT OF EXPERIMENTING AND PRACTICE…….LOL
          Happy Crafting!

  6. You answered so many questions I have has for over a year. Thanks for the great creative ideas! My Fav is the wreath with teal and bird.

  7. Beautiful cards and great ideas. I don’t suppose this technique works with a Cricut machine, tho! lol! But good info nonetheless.

  8. Wonderful cards & great tutorial, Cindy! I actually have tried this technique before, but I guess my cardstock was too thin, because the die partially cut through. I’ll have to remember the tip about using heavy-weight cardstock. Tfs!

  9. I want buy embossing folders & dies. My friend stay korea. But dont no where can buy. Please tell shops addresss.

    • Hi Ruchira Surang…I know that if you go to Amazon you can find many dies from China that are quite inexpensive. When you find one, they usually line up jpegs/photos of images- for all the rest that seller offers. Those I purchased shipping was always free. I am not sure about the embossing folders, I think I may have gotten one or two. I see this is way past your time of posting, but perhaps they may send you an upadate of the response/comment & maybe others might avail of this as well-if desired. I can’t tell you the quality of the dies though…I have purchased several this Christmas with a few just ordered that are forthcoming…only experimented briefly with a few. They were actually just fine. Best ~ if you need more help than this, ask for my email & I’ll lv it in this thread & send you info. 🙂

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: