Being the curious human I am, I wanted to know more about metal foil embossing techniques, and what I found out was that the many amateurs or artists who deal with it, get some amazing results, of a captivating (and often intimidating) beauty. Seeing their work, I often asked myself if I could ever something like that? I think I’m not the only one.

I have read many articles describing how to make embossing templates for paper or leather, but these templates cannot be used for embossing metal sheets (except for the thick ones) because the edges of these templates are sharp and the models are relatively deep, so they can break the foil very easily.

Some links about making this kind of templates:

How to turn a picture or a photo into a 3D model;
How to make and use 3D-printed relief, intaglio and stencil plates for printmaking;
3D Print Your Own Leather Stamps;
Embossing Plates - Bird Branch.
In this article, I would like to present to you the methods I have tried to make the model from the main graphics, which is a digital modeling of an older idea of mine. The quotation from the model belongs to Octavian Paler, who was a reputable Romanian journalist, and the graphics are taken from the dreamstime.com website, which I edited a little in Inkscape. I hope I can convince you that you can create beautiful embossing even without a great artistic talent, using your own templates, printed on a 3D printer. Of course, the size of my templates is limited to about 200mmx200mm, because that is how much my printer can do, but there are many small companies that can print larger sizes at affordable prices.

To create these templates, I use only free software solutions: Tinkercad, Inkscape, Paint.NET, ImageToStlConverter and MeshLab.

The models used by me are purchased as royalty free images and I have their right to use them according to the basic dreamstime.com license. The vectors can be found at the following links:

Seamless Floral Pattern
Set of tree silhouettes
Hearts Fancy Scroll Set
Set of graphical retro corners
Love symbols
Also at the second method I used a floral vector from svgsilh.com (the original from pixabay.com)

The material used for this purpose, the metal foil, can be purchased in any hobby shop. The foils I used are relatively thick (0.1mm) and do not break easily during work, they can be found in different colors. Other foils are the ones used in hairstyles in the hair dyeing process. They are rather narrow, have a smaller thickness than those used for this purpose, to about 15 µm, but are much cheaper and can be also found in different colors. Let’s not forget food aluminium foils, which are a little thinner (but some are 15 µm thick), are wider, are very cheap but can break relatively easily during the work. They are only found in silver. Finally, some caps of yogurt, cream cheese or other foods can be packed in boxes covered with metal foil, they are a little small, but many are excellent for embossing, and they are mostly only silver. Also, the relief finishing can be done in hundreds of ways, with paints of different types, with varnishes, with boot polish (!) … I will not stop to describe each operation because an article can be written separately for the different methods :)”

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