Leather Embossing with a Cardstock Stencil

Ursula's Digital Mixed-Media
Leather Embossing Series- Embossing with Cardstock Die Cut Stencil

Hello all! I’m back with leather and my Sizzix Big Shot trying to experiment with things that I can impress into leather. I’ve already experimented with cardstock, but today I’m going to try a different twist on it.

In this video I demonstrate again how to prepare the leather, but here in this post I am going to refer you to my original post in this series if you haven’t already watched it to get the details on that and more.  It’s long, but I talk about how to prepare the leather as well as other tips and warnings for using your die cut machines with leather. These machines can be broken if you don’t know what you are doing so please be careful!

For this experiment you will need a piece of leather, a stencil either hand made or store-bought, a Sizzix Big Shot  with the multi-use platform and embossing rubber (not foam!) and a cutting or preferably embossing mat. I am using a strip for a bracelet but you can use any size, shape you would like. Refer to my original post on suggestions for cutting leather.

In another post/video I used a die cut that I made using my digital cutter. In this case, I’ll be using the inverse of that image. This would be a stencil version of the original die cut. This version will achieve the opposite of the original cutout- instead of debossing the leather it will emboss it. Again, this is three layers.

I am learning as I go along in this series, and in this example I learned that if I didn’t pay attention to the edges of the stencil, it was hard to line up with the leather. This is not a problem if you are using a store bought stencil that is transparent/translucent because you could see through it to line up. However, in my case I couldn’t see through the cardstock to align the stencil with the middle of the leather strip. Another issue I ran into because the I didn’t pay attention to the borders of the stencil, is when I went to line up the layers (I used 3 layers as I mentioned earlier), the edges were all wonky and none of them lined up. It was much more difficult to get the stencil design to align. So in my experiment I messed up the alignment and then I had to lift up the layer to realign. And now the paper is not smooth- it has smudges and rips which could possibly transfer to the leather. So my advice to you is, the next time I would cut something like this, I would also cut the borders so that I can just basically line up the borders and glue it all together, and then line up the border with the edges of the leather.

I also would have made the design longer so that they would not end on the leather because it’s going to leave a ridge where the cardstock stencil ends. This
will also happen with a store-bought stencil that is shorter than the leather. I give ideas on how to deal with this in the original post in this series that I mentioned earlier.

I just went with what I had so you can see what I learned as I was experimenting.

Here are the steps I show in the video:

I place my Sizzix embossing rubber on the Sizzix Big Shot platform, and this case, one tab is down on the platform. Then I place the leather strip with the stencil on top. This sandwich is different from other embossing sandwiches, but it seems to work fine and is easier to line up the leather and cardstock. I place the leather strip and stencil going diagonally across the platform because I am trying to avoid having the mat end within the confines of the leather, so I can avoid ridges caused by the mat. I placed the Sizzix embossing mat on top and it wasn’t quite long enough to avoid the end of the leather, so in the future I would make a custom mat from the Accucut purple crease mats. I talk about these in my original post I mentioned earlier.

I keep long strips of cardstock shims handy because my plastic ones are not long enough. You want the sandwich to have some resistance, but not be super hard to roll through. I roll it back and forth in the video, but that can cause things to shift. I also discuss taping things down in the original post in this series.

Rolling the stencil through on the leather resulted in a raised or embossed effect on the leather. The inverse of the impression left by the previous experiment with the similar design as a single cutout. Personally, I’m partial to the raised effect, but the debossed look can be cool when you color the leather. More on that in a future session!

Here is the results of embossing leather with a cardstock stencil:

Leather Embossed 3 layer Paper Cutout Stencil Reverse Unfinished
Leather Embossed 3 layer Paper Cutout Stencil Reverse Unfinished


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