So, there I was in my craft room, feeling rather chilly and I thought, I know, I’ll do some embossing and warm my hands up with the heat coming off the heat gun.
I dug out some old Stampbord pieces – I have a little box full of the absolute rejects, pieces that are waiting to be sanded or that have already been etched into and can’t be sanded back at all. They make great foundation pieces for UTEE, or Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel.
So for those who have never tried UTEE, here’s a quick breakdown of what you do. I did these quickly and don’t have step by step photos, but do plan on doing this as a video at some point because it’s much easier to see it done.
- Firstly, cover the whole piece of Stampbord with versamark ink, or any pigment inkpad. Cover with UTEE and tap off the excess. Here I used black UTEE (it comes in lots of colours plus clear).
- Heat it up until all the powder has melted – this will take quite a while on Stampbord as it’s so thick and takes ages to heat up.
- Cover with another layer of UTEE while the first layer is hot. If it’s hot enough it should stick, but if it doesn’t, you can put another layer of versamark ink on top and you can then get another layer of powder to stick.
- Heat again and you will see you have better coverage with the second layer.
- Again, put another layer of powder onto the hot Stampbord piece then STOP! Don’t heat it until you have prepared your stamp (though if you’re organised you can do this right at the start).
- Choose a stamp that will give you an interesting textured result (I have used a snowflake Guild stamp from last year, but we have a set of stamps called Texture Blocks which are fantastic for this technique) and ink the stamp with clear versamark ink.
- Now you can heat the third and final layer of UTEE on your Stampbord piece.
- As soon as all the powder is melted, press your inked stamp gently into the hot UTEE and press firmly downwards, trying to make sure you don’t skid off to the side (it’s easily done!)
- Leave the stamp a few seconds. It’s probably worth mentioning at this point that real rubber is much better for this technique. I haven’t tried it myself with clear stamps, but have been advised by a clear stamp manufacturer that the stamp may not survive long if you do it a lot.
- The stamp should come away easily once the UTEE has cooled slightly.
- I like to trim off any splurges (technical term for the knobbly bits that ooze around the edges) with a craft knife and they come off much easier if you trim it while still slightly warm. I like to do that so that I can run glue or tape around the edges and apply beads or glitter. Beadazzles look great, but if I’m in a lazy mood, I’ll just edge it with a krylon gold leaf pen.
So there you have it, a quick guide to UTEE. Like all these things, practise makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if you make a few messes along the way. Like I always say, give yourself a chance and expect the first two to hit the bin. If they turn out great, that’s a bonus!
Once you’ve mastered the texture, there are various ways you can enhance it and mine have been lightly dusted with Pearly Powders, then polished so the powder just catches in the crevices and leaves the raised areas shiny black. Very effective and I can turn out a batch of these in an evening, then use each one as the centrepiece on a card, or punch a hole (ideally before you start) with a crop-a-dile and make them into stunning pendants.
And if you’re cold, it does warm up your hands too!