Packin’ Heat

…with a Martha Stewart Crafts heat gun.

I have started the wrap-a-thon, and this year I and am having a go at heat embossing with the powders.  Never done it before, so the crafty set might sport a big yawn here.

Every year, I like to pick a look or aesthetic and wrap all my packages that way.  One year, it was all faux bois papers, another it was plain white with pin-up girls that doubled as tags.  Last year, I lamely phoned it in and got some patterned paper at Target…I’d only had a working kitchen for a few weeks, I was still unpacking boxes and I was grumpy and tired.  That said, I hated my packages.  They weren’t cute, clever or personal.  They were ordinary.

On the whole, I don’t do bows, although I’m not against ribbon.  Bows are fine for a single gift event.  During the holidays, I need stackability and you can’t stack shit on top of a bow now, can you?  This year, my preference is no ribbon, no bow, but an embossed graphic on solid paper.  I picked up my supplies at Michael’s, plus a smattering of solid color papers, and even tried using some kraft shipping paper again this year.  (It’s always a winner…thick enough to create nice edges, and plain enough for cool graphics to shine.)

The embossing WORKS best on the kraft paper, but LOOKS best on the glossy gift wrap.  The problem I’m having is that the glossy papers create a static cling with the embossing powders making it harder to keep a clean image.  I’m using a dry brush to try and clean it up around the edges.  I’m also finding that Martha’s embossing powders work better than the other brands I’ve tried.

The key is making sure the stamp has enough ink and is perfectly flat. No ink…no emboss.  It works best to stamp/emboss the paper BEFORE you wrap it unless your package is totally solid.  Any give in the box will cause a missed spot on your stamp/ink.  You see at the bottom how it looks when the image doesn’t quite make it due to stamper error…Oops.

powder gun and stamp

humingbird emboss

bag graphic detail

gift bag

getting started on kraft paper

I also bought a set of sans serif letters and numbers so I can personalize the packages without ribbon and tags, although I am making a bunch of tags to have throughout the year while I’ve got this mess going.

I imagine my last packages will be the best, but if anyone else wants to try it, I figured I’d better get it posted now.  I’m getting the hang of it, and having fun picking which family member gets which image or scene. I know it’s a complete shock that I’m using birds and deer.