DIYdiy projects

DIY Embossed Cards

by Grace Bonney

I always think of embossed cards as the little black dress of stationery. A simple embossed card always feels in style and detailed enough to be interesting but isn’t so in your face with decorative details that the message is lost in the design. I’ve always wanted to know how to make my own embossed cards, so Erica Loesing of Yes Ma’am came to my rescue! In this tutorial, she will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your own embossed cards. Her process photos are incredibly detailed and easy to follow, so I hope this will inspire all of you to give it a shot with something simple, like this heart design Erica created. I’ve always wanted to do a simple square monogram of my family’s initials (G for me, J for Julia, H for Hope and T for Turk) so I think I’ve got this weekend’s project all lined up. Thanks so much to Erica for sharing this project with us and stay tuned for more DIYs from Erica to come soon! xo, grace

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!


-any assortment of soft papers (I used 110# Cranes Lettra) cut down to your desired card size (I like to go ahead and make my fold lines now, too!)
-thick cardstock/chipboard (to create the template)
-printout of your design
-light source (I used the window!)
-xacto knife/cutting blade of choice + cutting mat
-a mechanical pencil, a large safety pin, or a bone folder


I’m not sure you’ll believe how easy this project really is. So much impact for only a little bit of effort! So, here goes…


To save a step I began by printing my design directly onto the chipboard.


Not only that but I went ahead and cut the chipboard down to match the size of my card (I used an A2-sized card here) so my design would be right where I wanted it when I got to the actual embossing. Of course you can eyeball it, too, but I’m a measurer at heart. It’s totally up to you however you’d like to get your image onto your template – Print it right onto the board, draw it from scratch, or trace from someplace else.

*In case you’re unable to print directly onto the chipboard/cardstock, here are the steps to tracing your design. For this I’m using white cardstock and have printed my design on any ol’ printer-friendly paper. The thinner the better so you can see the design through to trace it onto your template.


Now cut it out!


I would recommend using a cutting knife, but scissors can work, too, depending on the intricacy of your design. The cutting knife is always my go-to. Again here, I would recommend cutting the outer edge of the template to match your card size, making alignment for embossing super easy.


Now locate a light source to align the design to your prepped card.


It can be as simple as a day lit window or as fancy as a lightbox. Place the template on the front of the card – You will actually be doing the “embossing” from the inside of the card (ok, so technically, you’re doing a deboss…), which is where the light source comes in. [Be mindful of the orientation of your template to how you want the finished card to read.] And now for the magic. All you do is trace just inside the edges of your cut design. No need to fill it in! The template you cut out will do all the work for you. I used a mechanical pencil [with the lead hidden!] because I literally have dozens of them at my disposal. Something with a point, but not sharp enough to rip your paper.


Give it a nice hard trace, as smooth as you’re able, and voila!


I mean, how pretty and how simple is this?! I’m going to start embossing everything by hand.

This heart design is from a card in my shop and since it was so easy and gratifying I thought it would be fun to try out a few different sizes on some little tags and other detail things.


It’s just so easy and fast. Seriously, all of my holiday packages will be my usual brown paper packages tied up with string… and an awesome little embossed tag. Happy embossing!

Suggested For You


  • Lovely project. Can’t wait to try it. Just one question – what kind of printer do you have that will print chipboard? Thanks

  • This is such a great idea, I can’t wait to try it. One thing I’m confused about – what is the purpose of the piece of paper she cut out? The cardboard is the embossing stencil, the card is what you’re embossing, but what is the first white paper that she traced and then cut out for?

  • I know this is probably obvious, but why are you cutting a second heart out of the white paper? Shouldn’t the chipboard version be deep enough to use?

  • Nan – I have a Canon that allows rear feed. Sorry, I should have mentioned that! You’ll probably need a rear feeding printer to be able to print on something thick enough. Good luck!

  • Rose + Jenni :: Such a good question! Sorry, this is entirely unclear in my directions. If you print directly onto the chipboard/cardstock, you don’t need that second piece at all. Here I was just trying to show the alternative – if you were not able to print directly onto the surface. So the second white piece is an alternative to the chipboard template, going through all of the steps you would take if you weren’t able to print straight onto the chipboard/cardstock to create your template. Hope that makes more sense! Thanks for asking!

  • Seconding the question about the white piece of paper with the heart cut out….what is that for?

    Nan – A printer that does not bend the paper as it goes through can usually be used to print on stiffer mediums. I use a Canon Pixma with a rear-load auxiliary tray – the medium goes from front to back of printer, no bends. Be sure to tell the print dialog box that you’re printing an unusual paper type though. Select “cardstock” or “other”.

  • Thank you very much for these lovely clear instructions. I never knew it was so simple. But *Yikes!* Your pencil grip makes me cringe!

  • This is great! I’m thinking of doing Christmas Cards here soon, but want to keep it simple, this will work out perfectly!
    Ohhh… and I think I hold my pencil the same way. Got a nice permanent callus on my ring finger because of it, but I’ve always done it that way, despite what my teachers said. lol

  • I know! It’s so crazy how simple it really is. Happy embossing! I’d love for you to share any projects you do. You can find me on Instagram @yesmaampapergoods. Always so fun to see. :)

  • I used my cricut to cut out my template on the chipboard. This way cut back a couple of steps. Awesome idea. Thanks