Using a heat gun is a wonderful way to add interest to anything that you make with rubber stamps. It is fast, fun, easy, and makes your cards, scrapbooks, and anything else usingrubber stamps look great.
What is a Heat Gun?
If you've never used a heat gun, you might be a little intimidated too. But there's nothing to be afraid of. It's sort of like a stick-shaped hair dryer. It's electric, so all you have to do is plug it in and turn it on.
The heat is concentrated in the nozzle, and everything is encased in heat-safe plastic, so you don't have to worry about burns.
Choosing a Heat Gun
There are many different heat guns on the market. If you do an Internet search, most of what you will find are industrial-strength devices used for shrink wrapping and installing windows. This is not what you need. Go to your local crafts store, look in the scrapbooking or rubber stamping aisle, see which item works best for your needs. Unless you are shopping at a specialized rubber stamp store, you'll probably only find one or two options.
I don't think this is an area where you need to buy the best heat gun, it only needs to be affordable. As long as it makes heat consistently and you use it properly, you should be able to make great paper crafts.
Other Embossing Supplies
Using a heat gun makes your rubber stamped images stand out, but there's a little more to it than just stamping and heating. The magic comes from using the right kind of ink and a fun substance called embossing powder.
Sometimes you can find ink pads that have ink designed for embossing, but unless you frequent a huge craft store or a specialized rubber stamping store, you probably won't find it locally. Instead, you should use pigment ink, which is thicker and slower to dry than regular dye ink. The colors are kind of pearly and look great when embossed with clear embossing powder.
These days, embossing powder comes in nearly every color of the rainbow, including metallics, pearlescent finishes, even rainbow inks and candy colors. You can buy clear embossing ink to use underneath these fanciful colors, or even experiment with combining a colored ink with a colored powder.
Using a Heat Gun
To use your heat gun to make an embossed image, first choose your stamp, your ink and your embossing powder. Get your supplies all ready to go, because you'll need to move quickly so the ink doesn't dry while you are still putting powder on the image.
Embossing powder comes in little tubs, and you'll want to pour it on like glitter. Set up your workspace in advance with an open manila file folder (or just a piece of paper folded in half and opened up again). This way you can spill your embossing powder wherever you need it and get all the excess back into the jar easily.
Ready? Stamp your image onto the piece of paper and cover generously with embossing powder. Pour off excess and tap gently. Use a cotton swab to pick up any stray pieces of powder that might have stuck where you don't want them.
Turn your heat gun on. It will take a few seconds for it to get to its full heating power. Leaving the heat source a couple of inches from the surface of the paper, apply even heat to the image. After a few seconds you'll see it start to puff up and the color will change.
When the whole image is puffy and a consistent, dry color, you're done. Turn the heat gun off (don't forget to unplug it!) and move on to the next adventure.
Heat guns make just about any card, scrapbook page or paper product more interesting, and it literally only takes an extra minute or two to turn your project into something extraordinary. Don't be afraid to try using a heat gun. You'll be hooked, too!