We had another great class at The Queen’s Ink this week. As usual, I scheduled more coloring than we could possibly get done during class time so everyone left with homework. But we did manage to hit the highlights so I’m hoping that everyone is able to complete their cards and that they are happy with the results.
You’ll notice that this (and many) of the Laurel Burch images that I color include gold heat embossing. Frankly, I just love the look of it with these images, but heat embossing and Copics are a tricky combination. The usual advice with Copic markers is Copic first, everything else after to ensure that the marker nibs are protected from cross contamination with other products. Generally, that’s good advice. I’ve seen some card makers suggest things like using a Copic marker to color over white gel pen or glue (and then they wonder why their nibs become hard and gummed up).
When it comes to combining heat embossing and Copics, there seems to be two extremes – either it doesn’t hurt the markers or don’t combine them at all. The usual explanation for the latter stance is that the alcohol in the markers erodes the plastic in the embossing.
Last November, I taught a similar Laurel Burch class and we used a somewhat tricky, but Copic safe method. We first stamped the image on X-Press It paper with Memento Ink using a stamp platform, colored the image, and then put the image back in the stamp platform and restamped it with Versafine to heat emboss it. This YouTube video from Stephanie Klauck illustrates what I mean. This method works for me 99% of the time, but if you’re not careful with the stamping, the original lines won’t get covered by the embossing.
But a few weeks later, Michele Houghton of Copic in the Craft Room released a YouTube video where she embossed first with gold embossing powder and then colored the image. When asked, she said that she never had a problem with damaging the marker nibs. In the comments she says:
My experience has been that the embossed lines do not effect the nibs. What I do see and you will see this in the video is that the lighter colored markers pick up the darker colors of ink from the surface of the embossed lines. It acts like a resist or plastic so the lighter marker picks up the ink, I just scrub that off to the side. Neat [sic] the end I purposefully go back and pick up the rest of the ink with my Colorless Blender and scrub it off as well so the gold shines through. I watched for any of the embossing to shift or to be picked up and I just did not see any movement.
So I checked my Copic certification materials which indicates that clear embossing is Copic safe. This made me wonder about the whole “alcohol erodes the embossing” statement. If this were true, wouldn’t clear embossing powder be just as susceptible to erosion as any other? Maybe so. Amy Shulke of Vanilla Arts — whose blog is often my go-to source for Copic information — lists all heat embossing as one of the ten ways to kill a Copic nib (see #8).
Since Amy’s 2015 article, Brutus Monroe released an embossing powder said to be alcohol marker safe. This seems to be a word of mouth claim since I’ve not found it on their website or in the product descriptions, but it was confirmed in a voice message to me from their customer service. A YouTube video from Ellen Hutson also indicates that it’s alcohol marker safe. When I tested it, I found some minor smearing still occurs if you run your marker over the heat embossing (I tested with Y02). Your results may vary. I noticed that Brutus Monroe has its own line of alcohol markers so perhaps there’s something different about the Copic ink formulation that affected my results.
In class, I presented all the information that I had compiled and allowed my students to choose which method they wanted to try. Most stuck with my original double stamping method, but a couple did go with the version that was heat embossed first (those students were cautioned to avoid coloring over the embossing).
This time, we used Memento ink in Angel Pink to alleviate the issue of the black stamped lines showing if the second stamping was off a little. It did make the coloring more challenging since everyone was used to coloring with a black lined image. However, the embossing worked perfectly and everyone had the opportunity to experiment with layering colors and ink blending.
Below are the supplies I’ve used for today’s project. Items marked with an asterisk (*) were provided by a store or the manufacturer for free or at a discount. All other items were personally purchased. Read more.
Paper: Neenah Solar White 110#; X-Press It by Copic; Bazzill Cardstock in Mexican Poppy
Stamps: Laurel Burch Wild Horses (*) by Stampendous
Dies: Zig Zag Rectangle Stackables by Lawn Fawn; Small Rectangle Stackables by Lawn Fawn
Embellishments: Brutus Monroe Gilded Embossing Powder
- Horse #1: B00, B02, B63, B66
- Horse #2: BV02, BV13, BV17
- Horse #3: YG03, YG17, RV52, RV55, RV63, Y02, Y15, Y19, R32, R35
- Horse #4: YG03, Y02, Y15, Y19, R32, R35
- Horse #5: RV52, R32, R35, R37, Y15, Y19
- Horse #6: B00, B01, B02, B63, B66, YG03, YG17
- Background: B79