Embossing is the creating of a two or three dimensional image in a substrate, usually paper or board.
There are many variations of embossing including; embossing to fit a pre printed image, embossing to fit a foil stamped image, debossing or a mixture of embossing and debossing.
Blind embossing is the basis for all other embossing terminology and is embossing in it’s purest form. It applies the desired image to a sheet of paper or board by altering the structure of the substrate so that the image sits proud.
The basic shapes used in embossing are Square relief, Round relief, Roof relief, Full (sculptured) relief.
Foil Stamping and Embossing in Two Passes;
This is where the foil stamping image is embossed in a second run using a separate set of embossing dies.
Foil Stamping and Embossing in One Pass;
This is a method of applying stamping foil and embossing to the substrate in one operation. It is done by using a specially constructed die and is ideal for long runs where two passes on the press would be uneconomic or work where the embossing depth required is not of prime importance such as, wine labels, talcum wraps, etc. The limitations of this process are that depth of embossing cannot be as deep as would be obtained in two passes. If a die for this process is made too deeply, bad creasing will appear at the edge of the image and this cannot be controlled.
Points to remember with Embossing;
- Over plastic or UV coated surfaces will limit depth.
- Magnesium dies for single level general embossing.
- Brass dies for multi level or full relief embossing or higher quality single level.
- Magnesium dies can be made within 24 hours.
- Brass dies require approximately one week (depending on complexity of design).
- Selection of stock is important.
- For all embellishment processes there are stocks that can be used successfully and stocks that do not suit the particular process. It is very hard to accurately define the requirements for stocks as there seem to be variations in quality and make up of similar stocks from different mills. A good example of this is a cast coated stock where product from one mill can withstand deep sharp embossing while a similar product from a different manufacturer is totally unsuitable for embossing as it cracks and splits very badly. There are however some broad basic requirements for the techniques and these are detailed below;
- The best stocks for embossing are better quality cover stocks and writing papers. These have good long fibre construction with high cotton or rag contents and normally have some sort of texture of felt finish which can enhance the embossed image on the finished job. This can be achieved by ironing out the texture or felt finish on the embossed image but not altering any of this on the original paper surface. Embossing also works well on many art boards and coated stocks though these normally need testing or prior knowledge of the particular product’s suitability.