I wanted to emboss my notebook at home as fast as possible so I could have a personalized notebook. After doing some research and seeing that I either needed a embossing wheel, embossing machine, a 3D printer, or Laser cutter, none of which I own, I set out to invent a new method to satisfy my craving.
Embossing is the method of taking a fabricated stamp which are either shapes, words, and/or symbols and pressing it into a malleable surface leaving a lasting impression. Often done on leather notebooks with an embossing wheel or on paper with a stencil.
With some creativity and ingenuity on my end, embossing with a wire stamp was born (at least as far as I can tell from my googling it was born:).
A new twist on an old idea; traditional techniques use a solid-filled object for a stamp, using a wire can't press a solid-filled shape into a notebook, but it can make a silhouette of a shape.
The steps are:
1) Gather Tools & Supplies
2) The Embossing pattern
3) Bend the Wire into a stamp
4) Press the stamp onto the notebook
Step 1: Tools & Supplies
- A notebook
- Needle nose pliers
- Guitar string
- An Image (optional)
- Masking tape
- Lumber (optional)
- A clamp(s)
I used a Piccadilly brand notebook which can be embossed. Meaning, the cover is somewhat soft and can retain a shape if pressed. An easy way to find out if your notebook is good for embossing is to see if there are any symbols or text pressed in by the manufacture (see image).
A note on safety-
The highest form of danger from using steel wire is getting tetanus from being punctured by the wire. But the wire we will be using is flimsy enough to bend, so we should be safe. Also, using needle nose pliers can pinch the skin and form a nice blister or even a blood blister. So, watch your fingers proximity to the plier tips. Now, with that all said, lets get started!
Step 2: Making the Stamp Pattern
I like wolves and think they're really cool, so I'm using a silhouette of a wolf to be a pattern. It's also an easily identifiable shape which can fully be understood by an outline.
Now, there are several ways to draw or get a shape. I'm familiar with computer aided drafting (CAD), so I used that (see print out image below). You can do what ever you want, draw it by hand, or find an image online. Anything you can have on paper in hand as a pattern for wire bending is perfect.
Just remember you are using wire to make a silhouette, so complex details, sharp angles, and shapes that need to be 'filled-in,' may become frustrating when shaping with wire.
Step 3: Bending Wire
The main idea is to take lay the pattern of the stamp on the table and bend the guitar string till it matches the silhouette of the image.
I used an 'A' guitar string which is 0.032 inches in diameter. Guitar strings are about 40 inches long and this gives plenty for making the stamp and some wire left over for mistakes. I found bending the end of the wire opposite of the end starting on helped keep the wire flat on the table, and prevent warping.
I learned a few techniques along the way which can help in bending wire. First, avoid bending the wire in your hands with your hands. It will be warped into a 3 dimensional object which becomes very frustrating to work with, trust me!
Next, Needle nose pliers become your best friend, they promote a tight bend and a perfect angle.
Practice my mini-tutorial on 'wire bending in 2D.' After trying several strategies, this one worked best. This mini-tutorial, I made up, can be seen below as a picture or can be downloaded in PDF format. It takes a minute to get the idea, but once you do you'll fall in love with it.
Also a quick note on the technique, once you rotate the pliers to the new alignment, hold them stationary (see picture below). Don't use the pliers to bend the wire, use your other hand. Put the fingernail of your free hand as close as you can to the pliers as you bend. This will keep the bend nice and tight.
When you bend the wire into the desired angle, some of the prior bends may come out of shape, don't fear because you can take a moment to adjusts them back.
Also I found it helpful to move the image/paper around to make it easier to work with rather than tangling my arms into a knot to bend the wire just right!
Start at the sharpest angle or point because these peaks are not worth the time to fight into a bend! In my case it's at the ear of the wolf. Then, just work your way around the image.
Smile, this is the fun part seeing it take shape!
Step 4: Pressing the Wire Shape
Position the stamp on the notebook for embossing. Use masking tape to hold the stamp in place. Only a few pieces of tape are needed for one press. I had 3 separate pieces so I reinforced my stamp with more masking tape. Using more masking tape than truly needed can peal off the material of a soft cover, which I found out the hard way (see the blue notebook in the picture below). But my semi-hard covered notebook (red) handled the removal of the reinforced masking tape fine.
Now it's time for the squeeze! I have 4 'C' clamps handy and a 1x1 and a wood floor slat.
Using lumber will uniformly distribute the force of the the clamps to the stamp. The floor slat is placed over my stamp and the 1x1 is placed on the opposite side of the notebook, sandwiching it. The stiffer the lumber, the better because a soft wood will deflect and prevent a uniform pressing. Now, clamp it down and wait over night.
Once the clamps are removed, peal off the masking tape and enjoy your efforts.
If the depression isn't as clear as hoped, here are a couple things to check: clamp the notebook longer or tighter, use stiffer lumber, use more clamps, and ensure the notebook cover can be embossed.
I was extremely pleased with the outcome of my embossing, especially since it was easy, fast, and I didn't need to leave home.
Now you know how to make a personalized embossing stamp for all your notebooks No special tools, or expensive machines, just good old fashion elbow grease!
I hope you've enjoyed. I'd love to hear what improvements I could do for this and see what everyone comes up with. Maybe some constructive comments on materials for making the stamp, or what should be added to this instructable.