Embossing Powders can create amazing effects on paper, cardboard, and other similar materials. But if you want to use embossing Powder a heat gun is necessary to melt it. When I first heart of embossing powders, however, I simply wanted to try them out without investing too much money in a new tool, like a heat gun. So I searched for alternatives for melting embossing powders and to my surprise, there are actually quite a few alternatives, that work great. So in this article, I will share what I found out about melting embossing powders without a heat gun.
There are several ways to use embossing powder without a heat gun. A Toaster, an electric stove, an iron, or a curling iron can be used to melt the embossing powder. Simply apply the embossing powder to the paper or cardboard and then carefully hold the powder close to the heating element, without touching it, to melt it.
So there are several ways to melt embossing powder without using a heat gun. Before the embossing powder manufacturers recommended using heat guns they actually recommended using a toaster to melt their powders.
But, if you want to use any of the following techniques you really have to be very careful and you should get rid of any potential distractions because you can easily burn yourself or your cardboard. So please be careful!
Use a Toaster or Electric Stove to Melt Embossing Powder
This first method is probably the best alternative method, that I tried. All you have to do is apply the powder to the surface, that you want to emboss. So for most projects that is probably either paper or cardboard.
Depending on the brand of your embossing powder and depending on the type of embossing paper the heat required to melt it will be slightly different. Most of the time either a concrete temperature will be written on the package or they will simply tell you how long to hold the heat gun near the powder to melt it.
If you don´t see anything about the temperature written on your package, then don´t worry. Not every brand of embossing powder has that written on its package or in its instructions. In that case, you have to do a little testing.
If you have a temperature to work with then simply set your stove to that temperature. If you can´t set a temperature on your stove (most probably can´t just like me) then you will have to do a little testing too.
The correct settings and the correct setup will slightly vary for everyone but you can easily do a little test before embossing your actual project.
To find your perfect settings and your setup simply add a little embossing powder to a scrap piece of paper (ideally the same kind of paper that you plan on using later on). Then turn on your stove or your toaster to the highest settings possible.
Wait until the stove is warm. If you are working with a toaster, then you should let it run once and then turn it on again right after to ensure, that the heating coils in the toaster have a consistent temperature.
Now carefully (please don´t burn yourself or your paper) hold the paper about 1,5 inch above the stove or toaster.
If the powder does not melt within two minutes, then the temperature is too low and you can carefully go a little closer.
If your embossing powder melts right away and gets sort of a wax-like look, then the temperature was too high and you should either turn the temperature down or you should move further away from the heat source.
If the embossing powder started to melt within a minute and it didn´t look like stale wax after it cooled down, then you have found your perfect heat and setup.
You should remove the embossing powder from the heat source the instance when it is completely melted.
Now, that you know your perfect setup all you have to do is repeat the process with your actual embossing project.
Remember that the setup can vary slightly depending on what kind of brand of embossing powder you use and if it is a special effect embossing powder or not!
So you may have to do a little testing when you use another kind or type of embossing powder.
Use an Iron or Curling Iron to Melt Embossing Powder
Instead of a stove or a toaster, you can also use an iron or a curling iron to melt your embossing powders.
It actually works surprisingly well.
The process is much the same as when you are using a stove or a toaster but the setup is slightly different.
Just like before you also have to find the perfect setup before you emboss your actual project. Just to be safe.
So put the embossing powder on a scrap piece of paper or cardboard and turn the iron or curly iron to maximum heat.
Once the iron is heated up simply hold the piece of paper about 1,5 inches away from the iron.
I usually lay the piece of paper flat down on a surface and then I hold the iron or curly iron above it by hand. This can get quite heavy really fast especially when you are holding the iron in a specific distance to the surface.
So I actually prefer the curling iron as it is a lot lighter and easier to hold than the iron.
If the embossing powder doesn´t melt within two minutes, then the heat is too low and you have to get closer to the heat source.
If the embossing Powder melts right away and the embossing looks like old wax once it has cooled down, then the temperature was too high and you should hold the iron further away from the paper.
If the embossing powder is starting to melt within two minutes and it looks fine, once it has cooled down, then you found the perfect setup and you can move on to embossing your actual project.
Again, the setup can change depending on the type of embossing powder that you use. So you should do a little test before using a new type of powder, just to be sure.
Can You Use a Hairdryer on Embossing Powder?
Probably the first impulse a lot of new crafters have is using a hairdryer instead of a heat gun for melting embossing powder. And to be honest that was my first idea too when I was searching for alternatives to a heat gun. But unfortunately, it is not that easy, as I found out when I tried to melt embossing powder with a hairdryer myself.
You can´t use a Hairdryer on embossing powder. The hairdryer does not get hot enough to melt the embossing powder and it produces too much airflow. So unfortunately a hairdryer will not work on embossing powder but you can use other household items to melt the powder, like a toaster or an iron for example.
This is a very popular question when new crafters want to dip their toes into embossing but they don´t want to spent too much money on new tools. The next best thing a lot of people think of when they are thinking about an alternative to a heat gun is a hairdryer.
Unfortunately, a heat gun is not even close to being similar to a hairdryer. A heat gun can produce a lot more heat than a hairdryer and the airflow is also vastly different. A heat gun will only blow very little air out, just enough to precisly heat up an area.
A hairdryer on the other hand will blow a lot of air out and it will not produce nearly as much heat as a heat gun. If it would, then your hair would start to get damaged or even start to melt.
So if you are searching for a good alternative to melt the embossing powder then I have to tell you, that a hairdryer is probably one of the worst ones.
I would recommend either using a toaster or a curling iron instead. You are likely to have at least one of these items at home and both of them produce enough heat to melt the embossing powder.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create these interactive props. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.