15 Best Embossing Folders For Professional-Grade Cards In 2021

Various embossing folders standing on a wooden table

Embossing folders leave an impression on your cardstock, transforming it from bland to gorgeous. However, it is tough to choose the best embossing folder with multitudes of brands to choose from.

Here are the best embossing folders available on the market today. Before choosing one, we highly recommend that you also read the buying guide and FAQ section, especially if you’re a newbie to embossing.

Our Top Picks

Sizzix Lace Embossing Folder
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Best Classic Design - Sizzix Lace Embossing Folder

• Compatible with various embossing machines
• Made with heavy-duty polypropylene plastic 
• Crisp impression

Zker Leaf & Flower Embossing Folder Set

Best Bundle - Zker Leaf & Flower Embossing Folder Set

• Made of high-quality, warp-resistant plastic
• Compatible with various embossing machines
• Professional-looking finish

Most Elegant - Sizzix 3D Botanical Embossing Folder

• High-quality material
• Deep impressions
• Works with most embossing machines

1. Sizzix 3D Gears Embossing Folder

Sizzix 3D metallic gray embossing folder with gear pattern
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 Pros Cons
  • Works on different surfaces
  • Compatible with various Sizzix embossing machines
  • Crisp, textured surfaces
  • Great for guy-themed and DIY-themed cards
  • Embellish and highlight using different techniques
  • Doesn’t make deep impressions on thick cardstock

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Pleased crafters recommended the Sizzix 3D Gears Embossing Folder to their friends when they saw the fantastic results on their cards. 

One user said there are not many embossing folders designed for men, which is one of the few reasons they can’t miss. They tried various embossing techniques with it, and it constantly gave them great results. 

Why We Think It’s Great

At ⅛ of an inch thick, the Sizzix 3D Gears embossing folder is slightly thicker than standard brands. It is an excellent embossing folder for cardstock measuring 4 ½  x 5 ¾ inches, giving you enough space around it.

The embossing folder itself is gray, so you can easily see its pattern, unlike transparent ones. It is also effortless to store because of the pattern sticker found on the packaging. However, we recommend keeping it in 5x5 ⅛-inch clear storage pockets that fit well in any storage box or bin. 

Although Sizzix recommends this embossing folder for Big Kick, Big Shot, Big Shot Express, Vagabond, Big Shot Plus, Big Shot Pro machines, we’re confident that they also work with other embossing machines using a 6-inch cutting board.

Who Should Buy It

There aren’t many embossing folders you can choose for those who love the thrill of making things with their hands. Thankfully, you’re a step closer to finding the best embossing folders for these themes with Sizzix and Tim Holtz.

2. Kwan Crafts Spider Web Embossing Folder

Kwan Crafts Spider Web Embossing Folder
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 Pros Cons
  • Halloween-inspired design
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Suitable for various embossing materials
  • Durable and high-quality material
  • Perfect for cards, scrapbooks, and other themed crafts
  • Irregular size
  • Cuts through the cardstock if used with too much pressure

 

What Customers Have To Say 

One crafter proved that this embossing folder could impress almost any surface by posting an image of a pen embellishment made from an embossed craft foam sheet. She said the pens were a hit among the kids who came trick-or-treating.

It’s also an excellent alternative to a more expensive spider web embossing folder, said a different crafter. Another customer used this as a background to a Spiderman-themed card.

Kwan Crafts Spider Web Embossing Folder review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Kwan Crafts Spider Web is a high-quality embossing folder made from transparent polypropylene plastic. It measures 4 ⅜ inches wide, 6 inches long, and is 3mm thick. It is longer than the usual 5 ½ inches of most embossing folders, but it’s not an issue since it can fit sideways on most embossing machines. 

You can use the embossing folder for most materials, such as cardstock, foil cardstock, metal sheet, vellum, and even faux leather. Be sure not to put too much pressure on it, though, since it can cut through your paper.

If you need more Halloween-themed embossing folders, try the Halloween collage featuring witch hats, jack-o-lanterns, bats, Casper the friendly ghost, and candies.  

Who Should Buy It

Every crafter should have at least one Halloween-inspired embossing folder in their stash. Although you can only use it once a year, going without one is almost sacrilegious for a crafter.

3. Sizzix Lace Embossing Folder - Best Classic Design 

 a lace embossing folder made from polypropylene materials
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 Pros Cons
  • Compatible with several materials
  • Works with various embossing machines
  • Made with heavy-duty polypropylene plastic 
  • Crisp impression
  • All-occasion design
  • The pattern looks prettier in the photo

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

The Sizzix Lace Embossing Folder works only for the standard 4 ¼ by 5 ½-inch cards, and some crafters wished it was longer. Nonetheless, they loved embossing with it because of the crisp results. It made good impressions on even thicker cardstock. The resulting cardstock looks more like done by a 3D embossing folder than a standard one.

Sizzix Lace Embossing Folder review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Tim Holtz comes in a paper packaging material that you can use as a storage envelope. However, it gets torn after a few uses because of the paper material. We urge you to take a plastic storage pocket for better storage and organization. 

The heavy-duty polypropylene plastic embossing folder measures 4 ½ inches wide and 6 inches long. You can use it on almost any embossing machine and leave a deep impression on nearly any material, such as cardstock, vellum, metallic foil, and foil cardstock.  

The Darice Laces Border embossing folder is the perfect complement for your lace embossing card. Each border in the 3-piece pack measures 1 ½ inches wide and 5 ¾ inches long.

Who Should Buy It

The Sizzix Lace is an excellent embossing folder that you can use for almost any occasion. The classic design never goes out of date, and you can use it for years.

4. Sizzix Woven Embossing Folder by Lynda Kanase

 Sizzix Woven Embossing Folder by Lynda Kanase in its packaging
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 Pros Cons
  • Highly textured finish
  • Works with a single cutting pad
  • Compatible with different embossing machines
  • Ideal for various surfaces
  • Deep and crisp impressions
  • Too thick for some embossing machines

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Those who tried the Sizzix Woven Embossing Folder by Lynda Kanase feel it is too thick even for a 3D embossed card. However, they love the 3D effect and how sturdy it is to make deep impressions on metal sheets without warping. 

Many crafters also posted some images of the cards they made for Easter and picnic invites. Other customers suggest using a spritzer bottle to moisten the cardstock to make deeper impressions, but others believe it works fine even on dry paper. 

Sizzix Woven Embossing Folder by Lynda Kanase review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Sizzix Woven Embossing Folder by Lynda Kanase embossed like a dream, gushed one crafter, and we believe her. Although the folder is a lot thicker than most 3D embossing folders, we recommend using it with just one cutting board to lessen the pressure and prevent the embossing machine from breaking.

You can use this embossing folder for foil cardstock, regular cardstock, metal sheet, and even soft leather. The embossing folder itself measures 4 ½ inches wide and 5 ¾ inches long. It is multicolored, so you can’t choose what color you’ll get when ordering online. However, Sizzix guarantees the same quality. 

When given a patina finish using distress oxide ink, this embossing folder gets a new character and dimension that you won’t believe you’re looking at a cardstock. You can also try adding variegated red and gold flakes before embossing.

Who Should Buy It

This best embossing folder is an excellent tool for rustic design cards and DIY tags. You can also use this to embellish custom gift bags.

5. Darice Damask Embossing Folder

Damask pattern embossing folder in a black and white packaging
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 Pros Cons
  • Transparent polypropylene plastic
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Versatile use
  • Neutral design
  • 5x7-inch size
  • Warping may occur

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

The classic design of the Darice Damask Embossing Folder makes lovely impressions, and the users found these impressions very pleasing when added to a card. 

One crafter does not even have an embossing machine, and yet she can make embossed cards from a 110gsm cardstock. However, some users wished that the embossing folders were larger than its 5x7-inch size.

Darice Damask Embossing Folder review

Why We Think It’s Great

Damask is one of the most popular patterns you can use for almost anything, including accessories, home decors, and clothing. Darice makes use of this lovely design in its 5x7-inch transparent plastic embossing folder.

It is larger than the usual 4 ½ x 5 ½ inches embossing folders so that you can make larger cards and embossed embellishments for your custom gift bags. It is also neutral enough to use for various occasions. You can also use it for embossing foil cardstock, thin metal sheets (0.3-0.4mm), and other soft surfaces. 

Do you prefer a 3D damask-like pattern? Check out the Sizzix 3D Botanicals Embossing Folder with its lovely floral and leaves design. This folder is smaller, but the 3D impression makes up for it.

Who Should Buy It

This classic pattern is an exceptional addition to your craft shop, and it is also very affordable. You can still enjoy this embossing folder even if you are on a budget.

6. Sizzix 3D Botanical Embossing Folder - Most Elegant

Sizzix 3D Botanical Embossing Folder in a golden material
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 Pros Cons
  • High-quality material
  • Versatile design
  • Works with most materials
  • Deep impressions
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Slightly thicker than most embossing folders

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Users called this embossing folder gorgeous because of the stunning and classy pattern. It also made a beautiful and deep impression on their cardstock, making an excellent all-occasion background. Though it is thicker than standard embossing folders, the crafters still love it.

 Sizzix 3D Botanical Embossing Folder review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Sizzix 3D Botanical Embossing Folder comes in lovely gold color, measures 4 ½ inches wide, 5 ¾ inches long, and almost 4mm thick. It is slightly thicker than regular embossing folders, but it is much thinner than the 6mm of other 3D folders. 

It makes a lovely all-occasion card background. Best of all, it works with non-Sizzix embossing machines, although it works best on Big Kick, Big Shot, Big Shot Express, Vagabond, Big Shot Plus, Big Shot Pro. You can also use it to emboss various materials, including metal sheets, foil cardstock, and other soft materials.   

For a similar swirly design, you can try the Sizzix 3D Scroll embossing folder. Adding a patina or distress finish to your embossed cardstock gives your card an authentic metallic finish.

Who Should Buy It

Are you looking for the best embossing folder for a metallic finish on your cards? Try the Sizzix 3D Botanicals, and you won’t regret spending your money on it.

7. Sizzix Snowfall Speckles by Tim Holtz

A Sizzix Snowfall Speckles embossing folder in its original packaging
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 Pros Cons
  • Colored embossing folder
  • Blank space for adding sentiments
  • Works with most embossing machines
  • Affordable
  • Impressions are not too deep

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Some custom cardmakers added finished cards in their reviews showing how impressed they were with the results. Another crafter added distressed ink to it before embossing, and her card turned out spellbinding.

Sizzix Snowfall Speckles by Tim Holtz review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Sizzix Snowfall Speckles Embossing Folder by Tim Holtz is another testament to the company’s dedication to quality and art. It comes in colored polypropylene plastic, but you can’t choose the color when you’re ordering it online. With its 4 ¼ x 5 ½ inch dimensions, you can make four backgrounds from your standard letter-sized cardstock.

What makes it unique for us is the wide blank at the bottom. It has enough space for adding other card ornaments or sentiments. Also, adding a smooth color transfer technique to the embossing folder gives a more natural look.

Some crafters may find the upper portion too clumpy, but moving your cardstock lower on the embossing folder will improve the look without messing with the total effect on the card. 

While the manufacturer suggests using it only on Sizzix embossing machines, it works well with other embossing machines. Also, the manufacturers call it snowflake speckles, but we think you can’t discern the snowflakes as a neutral background. If you want more patterns like this, try the Kwan Crafts Snowflake or the Darice Snowflake Swirl embossing folders. 

Who Should Buy It

This embossing folder is a great background piece for your Christmas cards with pine trees, a snow-covered house, or a Santa figure in the foreground. Any crafter who loves adding snow on their cards without being too conspicuous will love this embossing folder.

8. Migavan Patterns Embossing Folders, Style D (4 Patterns)

Migavan embossing folders in 4 different patterns
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 Pros Cons
  • Four versatile designs in one pack
  • Designs printed on folder’s front
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Some do not leave a deep impression
  • Too thick for some embossing machines

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Crafters agree that this embossing folder set offers an excellent value for their money since they cost almost the same as a 3D embossing folder or two standard embossing folders. They also have good embossed quality and work perfectly for any occasion.  

Why We Think It’s Great

The Migavan Embossing Folders (Style D) includes four folders in one set with dandelions, feathers, hearts, and giraffe skin patterns. It measures 4 ¼ inches wide and 5 ¾ inches long. To assure its durability and quality, you’ll get an embossing folder made from polypropylene material.

The embossing folders are transparent. However, what sets them apart from other brands is their printed front. This feature eliminates the need to peer on your embossing folder to see the pattern or using a colored cardstock sandwiched between each folder.

Aside from the usual cardstock, you can also use these embossing folders on thin metal sheets, foil cardstock, aluminum foil, vellum sheets, and other soft materials like faux and soft leather.  

Suppose you’re a newbie to embossing and don’t want to commit to an expensive embossing machine yet; check out FAQ #5 below for some hacks.

Who Should Buy It

It is the best embossing folder set for newbies on a tight budget. It lets you try different patterns of embossing folders without spending much.

9. Zker Leaf Embossing Folder Set (9 Patterns) - Best Bundle

 

9 embossing folders of various designs

 

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 Pros Cons
  • Made of high-quality, warp-resistant plastic
  • Works with multiple embossing machines
  • Professional-looking finish
  • Versatile application
  • Affordable
  • Some patterns don’t leave a good impression

 

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Customers claim that they got value for their money with this embossing journal set. Aside from its affordable price, you can also use the designs for any occasion. Enough patterns for every theme you want.

Why We Think It’s Great

The Zker Embossing Folder Set has nine different folders with four nature-inspired designs and one each for the birthday, diamond, woodgrain, gears, and door pattern. The embossing folder makes a 4 ¼ x 5 ½ inches card background.

You can use these embossing folders not just for cards but for scrapbooks and journals, too. Complete your card with these sentiment stamps that you can use to welcome a new baby or send some sweet notes to your special person. It also includes sentiment stamps for birthdays. 

We also love to have these flourish and nature border embossing folders because they have coordinating designs. You can use these borders for the envelope flap or on vellum sheets that you can utilize as invitation inserts.

Who Should Buy It

The Zker Embossing Folder Set is an excellent kit for crafters who want to start with cardmaking. They are sturdy enough that you can use them for a long time without warping.

10. Kwan Crafts Leaves Plastic Embossing Folder 

 Kwan Crafts leaves embossing folder
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 Pros Cons
  • High-quality materials
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Emboss on various materials 
  • All-occasion design
  • 5x7-inch size
  • May be too thin for some embossing machines

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Numerous crafters swear by the versatility of the Kwan Crafts Leaves embossing folder. One clay artist posted images of her polymer clay crafts showing patterns from this embossing folder. Another user added a patina effect over a foil cardstock embossed using this folder, and she’s pleased with the outcome.

Kwan Crafts Leaves Plastic Embossing Folder review

Why We Think It’s Great

Kwan Crafts produces the best embossing folder that boasts quality, affordability, and durability. The leaves and scroll pattern are intricate and classic designs that every crafter should have to create lovely card backgrounds.

The embossing folder made from high-quality polypropylene plastic is slightly larger than most standard folders at 5x7 inches. Although it is transparent, the designs are still discernible for easier identification. Still, it helps if you sandwich a sheet of colored cardstock between the folder before storing it in a plastic storage pocket

It is very thin at 1mm, and you may need an additional shim to add thickness to it to achieve the impression. However, it is still sturdy and resists warping. Even with its slight construction, you can still use it for various surfaces, including faux leather and soft leather. If you’re not a fan of this design, here’s another leaf design embossing folder you can try.

Who Should Buy It

Classic designs like this leaves and scrolls embossing folder is a must-have for every crafter who prefers all-occasions patterns to push their artistic limits.

11. Sizzix 3D Hearts Embossing Folder

Sizzix 3D Hearts embossing folder on pink material 
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 Pros Cons
  • Intense 3D effect
  • Crisp, textured surfaces
  • Flexible application
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Perfect for various surfaces
  • Too thick for some embossing machines
  • May cut through the cardstock

What Customers Have To Say 

Crafters have mixed feelings about the Sizzix 3D hearts embossing folder, but most appreciate the deep impressions and the stylized hearts in combined embossed and debossed design. 

Many complained about its thickness, especially when using non-Sizzix embossing machines. One crafter fiddled with her embossing machine and figured that using several shims instead of the usual cutting board does the job.

Sizzix 3D Hearts Embossing Folder review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Sizzix 3D hearts embossing folder comes in paper packaging with a window cut so that you can see the design and the color of the embossing folder. Like other Sizzix 3D embossing folders, it is not transparent, but you’ll have to live with the color you get since you can’t choose when shopping online. The colored embossing folder makes it easier to see your patterns, though.

It is a bit longer than your usual embossing folder at 4 ¼ inches wide, 6 inches long, and thicker at almost ¼ inch thick. If your embossing machine has a thick baseboard and cutting boards, you may have trouble fitting the folder into the machine. However, using shims with a single cutting board usually helps. If you don’t have mylar shims, you can try using 1-2 cardstocks since they allow you to control the pressure better.

We think this is the best embossing folder featuring hearts, not only because it is 3D but also because of the details and crisp results you get every time.

Who Should Buy It

Don’t you think it’s a crime not to have this heart embossing folder in your crafter’s stash? Are you looking for other alternatives to heart-patterned folders? Try the Darice hearts and dots or the Kwan Crafts falling hearts embossing folders.

12. Gemini Studded Leather Embossing Folder

The Gemini Studded Leather Embossing Folder in its original purple packaging with a transparent window
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 Pros Cons
  • 3D design gives defined impressions
  • Neutral background for cards
  • Elegant pattern
  • Crisp design
  • 5x7-inch size
  • Larger for most Sizzix embossing machines

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Many crafters immediately assigned this embossing folder in their most favorite pile because of its lovely design. It is also neutral enough to use for their all-occasion cards, and the deep embossing helps make their cards stand out even better.

Why We Think It’s Great

Give your ordinary cardstock an elegant look and a reason for your friends to gush over your cards. This 5x7-inch 3D embossing folder is made from transparent polypropylene plastic is ideal for those looking for a lovely yet neutral design for their cards.

It is slightly thicker than regular embossing folders at approximately 5mm, so we suggest using one standard cutting board and a thinner shim instead of two cutting boards. 

When used on a piece of soft leather, it gives it an almost authentic studded leather finish. Read the “How to Use Embossing Folders” tutorial so you can add color to your embossed card and give it a more defined character by sanding the raised parts or adding gold embossing powder on the dots and heat setting it.

Aside from paper and leather, you can also use it on faux leather, flocked cardstock, aluminum foil, thin metal sheets, foiled cardstock, and vellum. However, if you’re looking for a simple yet classy design, you can try this grid or argyle embossing folder.

Who Should Buy It

We recommend the studded leather embossing folder to every crafter who prefers a tool they can use year-round. If you’re working on faux leather and soft leather crafts, this embossing folder also gives your work a different and more appealing look.

13. Facemile Nature Embossing Folder Set (6 Patterns) 

Facemile Nature Embossing Folder Set in 6 different patterns
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 Pros Cons
  • Six designs in one set
  • Design printed on the front
  • High-quality materials
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Inexpensive
  • Too thick for some embossing machines

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

One husband proudly reported how delighted his crafting wife was when she received this set of embossing folders. She used it a lot for her scrapbooks. 

Another crafter who used to emboss manually had to ditch her embossing stylus after she got these folders. She can make many cards with the same amount of time she spends on manual embossing.

Why We Think It’s Great

The Facemile Nature Embossing Folders have six folders in one set. All are transparent, but the front has a print of the pattern. It eliminates the need to put a colored cardstock in between the folder or print a sticker of the design on the plastic pocket where you store it.

All the embossing folders measure almost 4 inches wide, 5 ⅝ inches long, and 4mm thick. They are nearly as thick as 3D embossing folders, which is one thing we didn’t expect. 

You can use these border embossing folders for your envelope flaps and the inner border of your cards. They complement well with the Facemile Nature Embossing Folders. 

Who Should Buy It

Are you thinking of finding the best embossing folder for a newbie embossing crafter? Get the Facemile Nature Embossing Folders. With six folders in one set, you have enough designs to choose from for your cards.

14.  Outus All-Occasion Embossing Folder Set (15 Patterns)

Outus All-Occasion Embossing Folder Set consisting of 15 transparent folders
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 Pros Cons
  • 15 designs in one pack
  • Template for all occasions
  • High-quality embossing folders
  • Works on various materials
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Strong paint smell
  • Too thick for some embossing machines

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Customers agree that this embossing folder set offers the best value for their money with the 15-folder set. They also say that it works as efficiently as more expensive embossing folders for dry and heat embossing techniques. 

It doesn’t fit some Sizzix embossing machines, and it may need more muscle power for cranking on other devices. But overall, it is the best embossing folder set any newbie can get. 

Why We Think It’s Great

We agree that the Outus All-Occasion is the best embossing folder set for value, durability, and affordability. Each embossing folder measures 4 ½ inches wide, 5 ¾ inches long, and 0.2 inches thick.

The set consists of 15 transparent embossing folders, each printed with the pattern inside so you can readily see what you want from the stash. It includes Christmas-themed folders featuring a Santa scene and another with reindeer and gifts. It also has nature-themed folders with flowers, butterflies, stars, woodgrain, and a meadow scene. The manufacturer also threw in all-occasion patterns like damask, hearts, dots, and cherries to complete the set.

However, some patterns have black ink painted inside the folder, which may affect the print quality. In the case of embossing folders painted with black ink inside, refrain from adding clear embossing ink on the positive side of the folder or misting the cardstock. 

Any moisture may activate the paint and end up in your cardstock. It may affect how you can use the different embossing techniques, but you can perform some hacks. One is to try and remove the paint with 100% acetone, and another is to use a sheet of print paper to act as a buffer.

Who Should Buy It

For crafters who want more embossing folders but don’t have the budget, this set gives you the most at less than $2 per folder. It includes a good selection of patterns that you can use for almost any occasion.

15. Darice Birthday Collage Embossing Folder 

 a transparent birthday-themed embossing folder in plastic storage envelop
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 Pros Cons
  • Works on various surfaces
  • Deep impressions
  • Comes in a plastic storage envelope
  • Compatible with most embossing machines
  • Easy to use
  • Works on one card size only

 

 

What Customers Have To Say 

Crafters agree that this embossing folder should be a staple for every crafter’s workshop. It makes distinct and crisp impressions that even if you use it in place of white or colored cardstock, it looks great on its own.

Darice Birthday Collage Embossing Folder  review

Why We Think It’s Great

The Darice Birthday Collage is perhaps the most commonly used embossing folder. It makes an excellent card, and all you need to do is add a few highlights to it. Check out the tutorial on how to use embossing folders for 22 techniques you can try.

The embossing folder measures 4 ½ inches wide, 5 ¾ inches long, and a little less than ⅛  of an inch thick. It is transparent, but it comes in black plastic packaging with a transparent front panel. A sticker of the design graces the upper righthand corner of the packaging, so you can readily see that pattern inside.  

You can also complement it with a birthday border embossing folder. Each package has three border folders that measure 1 ⅜ inch wide and 5 ¾ inches long. 

Who Should Buy It

Every crafter should have at least one birthday-themed embossing folder in her craft shop. It’s a no-brainer embossing folder that allows you to make fantastic cards in minutes. All you need is a sentiment stamp, and you’re good to go!

Best Embossing Folder Buying Guide

  • Compatibility

Ask yourself, is it compatible with my embossing machine? Compatibility is the most crucial factor to consider before buying an embossing folder.

  • Patterns

When buying an embossing folder, try to find a classic design but steer away from patterns that look too common. Scrolls and flowers never grow old but buying a 3D embossing folder make it look modern and realistic. 

We suggest you start with a starter bundle with six or more patterns in it. The best embossing folder bundle has at least three all-occasion designs and a Christmas or Valentine’s Day pattern.

  • Budget

Embossing folders range from $5-13 dollars per folder, depending on the brand, type (regular or 3D), and patterns. As mentioned earlier, embossing folders may come in bundles. If you’re planning to buy a set, check out if you already have those patterns in your stash.

As interesting as bundles are, you also don’t have much choice, so you have to go for single embossing folders. Choose ones that are compatible with your embossing machine and durable enough to last more than one season.

Embossing Folder FAQ

1. What is an embossing folder? 

An embossing folder has a raised (positive) pattern on one side and a depressed (negative) pattern on the other with a hinge in between. Both fit together to impress the design on cardstock using an embossing machine.

2. Can I make my own embossing folders?

While we mentioned earlier that embossing folders are usually plastic, they always don’t have to be that way. In fact, you can make a DIY embossing folder in several ways, depending on your available materials.

A good thing about making your embossing folders is that you can have a coordinating embossing folder and a die-cut set. Meaning, after you finish embossing, you can cut the embossed pattern and layer it over your cardstock cut from your coordinating dies. This technique is best used for vellum and acetate film. 

The downside to DIY embossing folders is that you can’t add embossing powders or inks on your embossing folders to transfer them to the cardstock.

DIY Embossing Folder #1

This method uses a craft foam sheet as the negative and a thick cardstock where your pattern gets glued as the positive for the embossing folder. The craft sheet foam should be thicker than the stack of designs on your cardstock to leave a deep impression.

Things You’ll Need

  • Crafting foam sheet
  • Cardstock
  • Cutting die
  • Glue

Directions

  1. Cut the crafting foam sheet and cardstock according to size. 
  2. Cut 2-3 patterns from a cutting die with an embossing machine.  
  3. Glue your patterns on top of one another on the cardstock, ensuring that the designs are correctly stacked so they can make a good impression. This cardstock is the positive side of your folder. 
  4. Sandwich your cardstock between the positive side and crafting foam sheet, then emboss as usual. 

DIY Embossing Folder #2

This method uses a cardstock folder with positive and negative sides, as you would see a regular embossing folder. All you need is a cutting die to cut patterns from your cardstock.

Things You’ll Need

  • Cutting die
  • Cardstock
  • Glue

Directions

  1. Cut your cardstock according to the size you want. Make four pieces of them or 5 if you want a deeper impression.
  2. Make a pattern out of 1 or 2 cardstocks. If you’re using two cardstocks, align the designs well before cutting. The cardstock from which you cut the patterns will be on the negative side of your embossing folder. Glue them together.
  3. Return the cut patterns to the cardstock, carefully apply glue, and align a black cardstock over the glued side. The adhesive will pick up the cut pattern for the positive side of the embossing folder.
  4. Glue the negative pattern to a blank cardstock.
  5. Once the glue is dry, fit the positive and negative sides together. 
  6. Without removing the positive and negative sides, add a tape to the folder to “hinge” them together.
  7. To emboss, use this cardstock embossing folder as you would use the commercial ones adjusting the shims to suit your embossing machine. 

DIY 3D Embossing Folder

  1. Follow Steps 1-2 of DIY Embossing Folder #2, using two cardstocks. 
  2. Do Step 3 from the same DIY method, but leave some cut patterns out, so you get deeper and shallower impressions, giving you a 3D effect.
  3. Follow the rest of the steps to finish your DIT 3D embossing folder. 

3. What is the difference between a 3D embossing folder and a regular embossing folder?

A 3D embossing folder gives your embossed card a dimensional and more realistic look because of the different heights on your patterns. It is generally thicker than regular embossing folders to accommodate the 3D design. 

For this reason, most embossing companies recommend using one cutting board instead of two, as you usually do with regular embossing folders.

4. How do you use embossing powder with embossing folders?

There are several ways to add embossing powder to your embossing folders. One is to use it directly on your embossing folder by applying clear embossing powder to the negative side of the embossing folder (the part that goes to the background of the card). Another way is to add clear embossing ink on the positive side if you want to emboss on the raised parts of your card. 

Once you have added the embossing ink, run your cardstock through the embossing machine as you usually do. Add embossing powder to the card and tap it to remove the excess embossing powder. Use a dry brush to remove stubborn specks of the powder for a cleaner effect.

Heat set your embossing powders with an embossing heat gun, moving it around the card instead of focusing on one spot at a time. This technique will prevent your card from combusting. 

If you’re using a 3D embossing folder, you might see some parts that don’t have embossing powder. To solve this issue, touch up the parts you want to emboss using an embossing pen, add more embossing powder, and heat set it again.

5. Can you use an embossing folder without a machine?

You can still use your embossing folders even if you don’t have an embossing machine. This hack is excellent if you want to try your hand at embossing without investing in an expensive device that you won’t use often.

The good news about this hack is that you can use almost anything flat or cylindrical at home. We recommend a rolling pin or a bottle. Other crafters suggest using the flat side of a meat tenderizer or small mallet, but we discourage this since the uneven pressure on the embossing folder may cause it to break.

To use the rolling pin or bottle, sandwich your cardstock between your embossing folder. If you have weak hands and can’t use as much pressure, try misting some water on both sides of your cardstock to moisten it a bit. Roll your pin or bottle evenly over the embossing folder. You can also use a block of wood to do this.

Conclusion

In this roundup, the Sizzix 3D Botanical Embossing Folder is the winner for its elegant look. It makes deep impressions on the cardstock and is compatible with most embossing machines.  

The Sizzix Lace Embossing Folder is our runner-up. It is compatible with various embossing machines and leaves a crisp, deep impression on the cardstock. It comes in high-quality, heavy-duty polypropylene plastic material for long-lasting performance. 

Meanwhile, the Zker Leaf & Flower Embossing Folder Set is the best bundle. It comes with nine patterns and is affordable. The bundle has excellent quality and constructed with warp-resistant materials and a professional-looking finish.

Do you prefer buying embossing folders, or do you create your own? Which of these best embossing folders would you like to use next in your project? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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