Friday, June 6, 2008

Heat Embossing Guns

I was thinking about some comments a few people have mentioned about heat embossing & UTEE and wanted to share a bit more about it.

First, I know lots of companies out there say there is no difference in embossing/heat guns but trust me THERE IS!!! I prefer to use Rangers Inkssentials Heat It Craft Tool. It is specifically designed to HEAT more, BLOW less. As an added bonus it is much more quite than many models on the market. (NOTE - after I started typing this I realized it sounded like an infomercial. I'm not trying to sell anything here ~ it is just my own personal experience with embossing guns.)

I have found that most embossing guns (at least the ones I've tried) tend to do far more blowing than anything else. This is in part why many people get frustrated when they first give heat embossing a try. I know it is the major reason that my embossing powders sat in a box for the first several years after I bought them. It wasn't until I tried the Heat It that I actually had a great experience embossing. It melted my powders without blowing them over my entire craft area.

Another observation I have made is that there is quite a difference in the heat generated by various models of embossing/heat guns. Many times you'll get a low-blow embossing gun that takes FOREVER to melt the powders because they just don't generate much heat. I don't have that problem with the Heat It Craft Tool. It gets very hot very quickly!

You should however use great caution when using this gun. Always pay attention to where you're pointing it. I am going to make a couple of confessions here... I have "burnt" embossing powders right into the paper more than once. I'm not sure where it goes but once it's glossy, STOP HEATING! Trust me, it's not the results you're looking for! And I mentioned something about being careful where you point the gun....well, I was embossing some project and turned the gun away from my project (rather than shut it off) and I almost burnt my shirt to my body!!! I have a nice grey/white circle in my fav. purple sweater....luckily I noticed it before it went all the way through to my skin!

I do have a couple tips to share if you do have an embossing gun that tends to blow the embossing powder better than it heats it.

1. Start off embossing from under your project (if you're using cardstock). Hold onto your piece with a pair of wood tweezers or a pair with rubber grips...DO NOT HOLD IT WITH PLAIN METAL TWEEZERS!!!! YOU WILL BURN YOUR FINGERS - Trust me on this...I've done it more than once ;) Once you notice the powders starting to melt you can finish embossing from the top.

2. If you are using a thicker medium such as chipboard or don't want to try #1, Initially hold your heat gun 12-18" above your project. This will give the embossing powder a chance to warm up without getting blasted off the paper by the power of the blower. Slowly as you see the embossing powder start to melt bring the embossing/heat gun down closer to your project.

3. Emboss in a shoe box lined with aluminum foil. This catches all of the "fly-aways" that can be re-used.

Hopefully this helps with some of the problems caused by embossing/heat guns.


  1. Thank you so much for these tips! This morning I had my heat gun out looking at it... I've only ever used it once, and that was kind of a disaster since I just thought you held the corner of the cardstock in your hand & aimed the heat gun. I had no idea it got SO HOT!! I nearly melted my hand to the project - and that was before anything on the paper even thought about melting!! LOL! Hopefully now that I've read your tips my next attempt will be much less exciting & much more productive!

  2. Roni - that is exactly my problem, I am 110% certain. See, I did get the "blow-y" heat gun. I used a 50% off coupon from the biggie chain craft store. Well, let me tell you - you get what you pay for!

    I've been looking for the Ranger gun because I have heard other people I respect in the crafting world say the exact same things. So you just reinforced my opinion.

    The deal for me is that it's harder to find. I can't find it locally, so I am going to break down and just order the darn thing online.

    LOL - speaking of ordering the best. On your Tim Holtz post where you asked what is your favorite Tim product? Well, two people raved about the Tonic scissors that cut rubber. I am moving over to the foam system for my um stamps so I did order that the other day, too!

    Anyway, I just wanted to share that because I really do know better - when I try to get away with something "cheaper" I ALWAYS have problems. So, for me anyway, better to go with the quality right from the start.

    Lesson learned with the heat gun. Definitely!


  3. Fuzzy - ROFL ~ trust me, been there done that!!! I so know what you mean about burnt "parts"! "less exciting" - LOL!! You sound like me ;)

    Phinny - ahhhh, yep, could be part of the problem. You can still use that type of gun you'll just have to have a bit more patients when using it and start heating up high and come down slowly.

    I don't think many chain stores carry it because they can make more $'s on the cheap modles.

  4. Hi Roni -- do you know if the Heat It craft gun is back in stock? I had understood that there was a production problem and current it was unavailable. Or am I not looking at the right websites?


    Sheryl H


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!