Introduction: How to Deboss Paper in a Machine Shop

Picture of How to Deboss Paper in a Machine Shop

What you will need for this instructable:

Debossing plate



Soft support for paper (rubber, cork, etc)

Step 1: Create the Design You Want to Deboss

Picture of Create the Design You Want to Deboss

The first step is to model your design. For my plate, I decided to use catenary curves to create a simple network with thickened nodes where each string meets.

Step 2: Create the Toolpaths to Machine the Part

Picture of Create the Toolpaths to Machine the Part

For my project I had access to a Haas VF2ss mill, which would allow me to machine the debossing plate out of aluminum. Therefore, I created several toolpaths in Inventor 2015 HSM that would incrementally remove material at smaller and smaller intervals. The bits I used were a 2" face and .5", .25" and .125" end mills.

Step 3: Machine the Part

Picture of Machine the Part

Load your stock material and machine it.

Step 4: Clean the Deboss Plate

Picture of Clean the Deboss Plate

Once machined the part needs to be cleaned to remove any debris and coolant in order to be able to use with paper. I used de-greasing, heavy duty hand soap which worked perfectly in a single washing.

Step 5: Press Your Debossing

Picture of Press Your Debossing

Finally, set up your machine and press your paper. I used a Dake hand pump press, which allowed me to manually apply the pressure I needed to deboss. I found .5 ton pressure to be plenty and going over tended to sheer the paper leaving undesirable marks, rips, etc. I also placed a rubber sheet under the paper to allow the deboss to occur. I sourced 100# Pure White cover stock from French Paper Co.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

When using the Dake with different patterns, I quickly realized that simply placing the press cylinder in the middle and pressing didn't always produce the desired effects. Depending on the design, various pressing locations and order of pressings need to occur in order to get a consistently even deboss on the paper. It was actually quite fun figuring this process out for each design that was produced.


perfectsleeper (author)2015-07-05

Beautiful. How about coloring the impressions?

dhaykus0418 (author)2014-09-06

Don't you mean "emboss"? MsSweetSatisfaction also looks to be using the correct term. I have a tool that you can purchase in the big craft stores and use dies with and it is an "embossing" machine.

ma77er (author)dhaykus04182014-09-06

Thanks for the note! Embossing is when you use a male and female plates (also known as a die and counter) to create raised patterns. Debossing is when you use a single plate to create depressed patterns.

There is also a short description under "Technique" on wikipedia:

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-09-06

Awesome, it looks so pretty! The embossing plate looks really pretty too! Thanks for sharing!


About This Instructable




Bio: MTTR MGMT is an award-winning design practice that ranges widely in discipline, methodology and media. MTTR MGMT’s focus lies on the investigation, representation and ... More »
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