I wanted to make my niece a Lego card to go with her birthday present but I didn’t have an embossing folder suitable for making the bricks. I remember seeing somewhere that you can emboss pretty much anything using a tan embossing mat. I got mine online for around £10 and it is really versatile so well worth the money. I’m writing this tutorial based on a Lego brick but you could make anything!
You will need:
Die cut/punched shapes from thick card (at least 3 of each)
Stiff card to use as a base
1) Arrange your die cut or punched shapes on your base card. I used a small hole punch to make the studs for the Lego bricks. When you are happy with the arrangement, glue them down. Then glue 2 at least more shapes on top of each one to make them stand out more. The more layers you use, the more defined your embossed image will be. I used 3 layers on mine but if I did it again I would use 4. Leave it to dry for some time (a few hours or even overnight) so that you don’t squeeze out all of the glue when you run it through your machine.
2) Arrange your embossing plate and card to be embossed on your die cutting or embossing machine, following the correct layering method for your machine. I had cut my pieces of card to size already so I didn’t want them to move when layering up the machine. I used washi tape to stick the embossing plate to the tan mat with the piece of card to be embossed in between them. This worked well, but the washi tape was really stuck to the card embossing plate afterwards!
3) Run it through your machine and then reverse it back through to make sure it is embossed clearly. Remove it and check that you are happy-it is easy enough to line it back up again for another run through the machine if needed. If it hasn’t worked as well as you would like you could also try using a card shim as your DIY version is quite unlikely to be the same thickness as commercial embossing folders and plates. This means it may not be under sufficient pressure in the machine. Part of the fun of DIY is experimenting a bit to achieve your desired results!
In the photo you can just about see how the Lego ‘brick’ now has embossed studs.
Card worked fairly well but the embossing plate I made looked a bit worse for wear after a few uses. It is great for a one off item where you may not be able to get hold of a suitable embossing folder. If you wanted something longer lasting it could be worth making the embossing plate using plastic, e.g. an ice cream tub lid, and using all purpose glue to fix it all together.
I hope this tutorial is useful to you!