Embossing powder is a fun way to create interesting raised textures and faux ceramic or glass techniques.
To use embossing powder with polymer clay you will first need to get a heat gun. The easiest way to keep the powder stuck onto the clay while it’s melting is to use liquid polymer clay. This will prevent any issues with compatibility, which can happen with the fixatives often used for embossing powders. The powder can be used on raw clay or on baked pieces depending on the outcome you’re looking for.
How do you get embossing powder to stick to polymer clay?
Embossing powder can be used both on baked and unbaked clay depending on the type of your project and the results you want to achieve.
If you want to emboss your piece partially, do it after it is already baked. Embossing powder sticks everywhere (and I mean everywhere!) on the surface of your piece if it is raw. If it is baked you can simply dust off any excess before setting it.
You need to use heat to make the powder set. If you are embossing a raw piece you can simply bake it at the same temperature and time you normally do. If your piece is already cured, you will need to use a manual heat source.
Can you make patterns with embossing powder on polymer clay?
Embossing powder is great if you want to add a pattern to your polymer clay piece. You will also need some pigment ink: liquid, soaked on a sponge or an embossing pen, a rubber stamp, and a heat gun for the process.
Stamp your piece using your ink of choice and cover it with powder. Do not be afraid you will pour too much on it. You can save up the excess.
Once the piece is covered, turn it upside down and tap on it to remove the extra ink and powder. Alternatively, you can gently blow on it or use a paintbrush. You want only your pattern to remain covered in the end.
Double-check the edges of your piece. There is usually a bit of powder remaining there. Heat the powder and you are finished.
Is embossing powder durable on polymer clay?
There are many impressive effects that can be achieved with embossing powder. You can make your piece shiny, glass-like, matte, antique, metallic, glittery, or even glow in the dark. But if the powder is not properly protected, the effect will wear out very quickly.
Do you need a heat gun to use embossing powder with polymer clay?
You need a heat gun to seal your embossing powder into your piece if you are working with cured clay. I highly recommend getting a variable temperature heat gun so that it can be used for multiple purposes – I am not a fan of embossing heat guns that are only one temperature.
When you are using a heat gun to melt the embossing powder onto the clay, make sure you are holding it at an angle and not too close to the piece. I rotate my clay pieces whenever I am using a heat gun to avoid holding the heat in one place for too long. It doesn’t take long for the powder to begin to melt together.
Even though they may sound the same, a hairdryer cannot replace a heat gun. Using one will only blow the powder away from your piece.
Is embossing powder the same as mica powder?
Embossing powder is not the same as mica powder. Mica powder is made out of crushed particles of the mica mineral coated with other types of minerals to give it color.
Embossing powder is made of ground-up plastic bits. It comes in three main types: regular, ultra-thick, and extra fine. Regular and extra-fine are better options when working with polymer clay. The ultra-thick type is used for very large pieces.
Mica powder particles do not melt the way embossing powders do. So there is no need to apply heat on them.
That being said, embossing powder can nevertheless be used for the same techniques mica powder is. You just have to be more careful. If the surface of your piece is not evenly leveled, the powder will run as it melts.
Do you have to seal embossed polymer clay?
You do not have to seal your embossed polymer clay, but it is better to do so if the piece will encounter a lot of wear. The heat you apply to the embossing powder is enough for it to stick well to your clay.
The problem is that because of its textured surface, it quickly rubs off or changes its color. That is why it is recommended to protect it with a finish of your choosing.
There are a lot of possibilities for that out there: there are products made especially to seal polymer clay, you can use liquid polymer clay, or with finishes for other materials (like polyurethane). You can use the different types of sealers to further enhance the effect of the embossing powder for there are a lot of glossy or matte versions.
There are two types of finishes – water-based and non-water-based (in most cases alcohol or mineral). The non-water based ones are way more durable and water-proof. While the water-based ones will often become sticky if they accidentally get wet.
Fimo’s lacquers and Sculpey’s Glazes are the most popular varnishes brand-wise. They both have sealers that you should or can bake and others that air-dry.
Always buy these in small quantities, though. In time they can get thicken in the bottle and become really easy to peel-off after applied.