Finishing Techniques

Die Cutting, Embossing, Debossing and  Foil Stamping and Finishing Techniques

Purpose: To gain a greater understanding of padding, foil stamping, die cutting and embossing

 Key Terms:

  • Foil Stamping – is a special kind of printing procedure where heat, pressure, and a metallic paper (foil) is used to create different shiny designs and graphics on various materials
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  • Die cutting – is a process used in many different industries to cut a thin flat material (in our case, paper) into a specific shape using a steel cutting die.  It can be used to punch out a decorative shape or pattern to incorporate within a larger piece, or it can be used to create the main shape of an object by cutting the entire sheet of paper in an distinct/designed way.
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  • Embossing – several techniques for creating a raised pattern on a material
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  • Debossing – is the opposite of embossing. With debossing, the imprinted design causes depressions in the material leaving a depressed (debossed) imprint of the image on the paper or cardstock.
  • Scoring – refers to the process of making a crease in paper so it will fold easier.
  • Padding – the act of padding is done by joining a specific number of individual sheets or forms together by applying a padding compound along one side of the stack. Every stack usually has a chipboard backer to provide stability to the pad.
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Reference Sites:


Key Points:

In Foil Stamping, hot dies with raised images press a thin plastic film carrying colored pigments against the paper. The pigments transfer from backing film to paper, bonding under heat and pressure. Foil comes in over 200 colors and is available in dull, pastel, clear, matte and patterns.

For best results avoid designs with fine lines and intricate shapes

Die makers use thin metal strips with sharp edges to make dies for cutting. After shaping the strips into patterns, they mount them on a wooden base. A press forces the cutting edge into paper. After cutting, rubber pads push the paper away from the die, allowing the sheet to continue through the press.

Embossing and debossing each require two matched dies, one of which is heated. Pressing paper between the dies creates the image. The techniques give best results on text and uncoated cover papers and not very good results on coated papers.

Padding – Almost every printer can make pads from stacks of loose sheets, the most simple binding operation. For most printers it’s a hand operation with brush and glue pot.


Create your own pad of paper with cover. You decide your dimensions, use cardstock to create your cover design, score your cardstock at the right width dimensions, and create your own glued pad of paper (elmers glue). You should have a minimum of 24 sheets inside the pad.

Student Example:


Cover Design – 388_CHAO_C_npcover

Interior Pages – 388_CHAO_C_nppages

Photograph of Final Piece – 388_CHAO_C_nppictures

Rubric: 100

_____/20 Commercial Usability/Design

_____/10 Scores – Measurements

_____/10 Details/Complexity and Neatness

_____/10 Mock Up

_____/15 Photograph Final piece



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