How Embossing and Debossing Work
The full name of this process is “blind embossing” because no ink is involved, but the effect is far from invisible. Embossing (or debossing) uses heat and pressure to raise (or lower) paper fibers above (or below) the surface of the substrate. Artwork is transferred onto a metal die, by routering, photo-etching or hand-tooling. Sometimes we need to combine methods to achieve the desired effect. On press, the image is transferred to the paper by sandwiching the sheet under pressure between the die and the counter, which is literally the counterpart of the die.
Embossing and Debossing Dies
You do not have to create 3-dimensional art, because our die makers are expert at translating your line art into 3-D. However, it’s helpful to provide examples of the effect you’re hoping to achieve, or an illustration, and/or a description.
A single-level die stretches the paper fibers of an entire image up or down one level; a multi-level die adds one or more levels. A sculpted, multi-level die adds true sculptural detail (and cost). We always take the artwork and desired effect into account before ordering a die, which can be made of copper, magnesium, steel or brass.
Why We Love Embossing and Debossing
We love to use embossing to create surface textures. It’s the ultimate showcase for beautiful paper – and softer paper allows for a more tactile impression. Embossing and debossing are also great on leather, plastic or synthetic stocks.
It’s dramatic in combination with other processes. We can register an emboss to an offset litho image, an entire foil-stamped image, certain details of a foil-stamped image, or large engraved metallic type.
Photos: Glenn Schuster