How to Emboss Cards with a Cricut

I have a few card embossing ideas in this tutorial along with an overview of how to use the Cricut debossing function to emboss your cards.

I like using my Cricut cutting machine in unusual ways and this is one of those opportunities. It’s probably the most confusing tutorial I’ve done but bear with me and hopefully, you’ll end up with a new way to use your cutting machine and new crafting opportunities with this new skill.

Before we go any further, it is possible to do all this by hand as well, you just need a ready made stencil instead of cutting one yourself.

Lets start with debossing which is in many ways the opposite of embossing. Debossing is making an indentation into the paper. This is the base function available via the Cricut.

You can debossing with the Cricut Maker using the rotary attachment or with the Stylus and the Circut Explorer.

card embossing ideas

Embossing is creating a raised area on paper. This can be done with a little finagling with the Cricut.

card embossing ideas

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Materials for Embossing Cards

Cardstock – You will need both heavy cardstock (100lb and above) and medium-weight cardstock for this project. Here are some of my favorite brands:

  • Assorted Starter Pack – Basic assorted colors, great starter pack, perfect weight for most papercraft projects
  • Cricut Joy Insert Card Packs – You don’t have to use these with the Cricut Joy, they are nice material kids for cardmaking.
  • Cardstock Warehouse Brand on Amazon – I love the quality of all the matte-colored cardstock with Cardstock Warehouse. It is my go-to brand for individual matte colors that I might need
  • Poptone Assorted Variety Pack – This is the perfect peppy assortment of colors of heavy cardstock. It’s a heavy cardstock assortment with colors I actually use frequently for cardmaking.
  • Seasonal Assorted Variety Pack – This is a slight variation on the Poptone assortment and has a quite few neutrals that complement almost any accent color.
  • Stardream Metallics Line – For paper crafts, the Stardream line is the go-to for a metallic shimmer finish. It is the perfect sheen to make any project pop. The core is also colored is which hard to find for metallic paper.

Glue – I have a few glue favorites for card making. The main concern here is making sure you don’t warp the paper.

Embossing tools – If you have a Cricut Maker, I recommend the #21 attachment to the rotary attachment. If you have a Cricut Explorer or if you are doing this by hand, I highly recommend the Cricut Embossing Stylus. I use it all the time for scoring on all my paper projects.

Printer – This project requires a printer.

Cutting Machine – I use a Cricut. Check out my recommendations for Cricut machines and accessories for beginners for more info.

Templates – I have a set of floral stencils I used in this debossing and embossing for beginners tutorial that are all free and available in my resource library.

How to emboss cards with Cricut Debossing

First, we are going to start with some graphics editing in Cricut Design Space.

My base template is this hibiscus trio. We want to create a stencil with the cutout ever so slightly larger than the hibiscus we are going to trace over using the debossing tool.

Start with the base template. If you base template is not already grouped, be sure to group it first.

Next, create a halo around it using the Offset function. We want this offset to be small, like 0.1 inches or less.

how to emboss paper

Next, draw a generous box around your graphic. (don’t be too generous or the project will be too big for your machine to handle.

Select the box and the graphics and duplicate the whole thing.

Then in one of the copies, we are going to delete the original template leaving only the halo. In the other, we are going to delete the offset halo leaving only the original template.

It is very important these flowers stay in relative positive in both boxes. Don’t move them.

Now, in the box with the original template (left here), select the 3 flowers and turn them into “deboss” lines using the Operations dropdown menu. Select the box around it and turn it into a Pen graphic using the Operations dropdown menu. Select both the flowers and the base square and Attach.

For the box with the halo graphics, we are going to turn the halo flowers into a basic cut line if it isn’t already. Then turn the base square into a Print and Cut graphic using the Operations dropdown menu. Select the halos and the base square and Attach.

circut embossing tutorial

We are first going to make the stencil and then deboss the card afterwards.

Hide the square with the embossing flowers on it for now.

Hit “make it” with the remaining halo flower print and cut assembly.

how to emboss paper

I used watercolor paper here which is about 140lb cardstock. Try to use the thickest cardstock you have. The thicker your stencil base is, the better embossing effect you will have.

After Print and cut, leave the base on the mat and peel off the halos.

how to emboss paper

Next, we are going to trim our card sheet to a piece that fits within the Print and Cut outer frame and enough to cover your graphics.

how to emboss paper

You will need to tape this part down. Either use transparent tape or some low tack tape like washi or masking or painter’s tape. If you are using non-transparent tape, you need to tape it where the scanner on the circuit doesn’t scan which is in the lower left of the box, the middle of the top and bottom.

Now back in Cricut Design Space, we are going to hide the halo graphic we just made and make the other flower trio we hid earlier.

We are going to do some air drawing by not placing a pen in the pen slot of your Cricut. Go ahead and make this flower graphic box. First skip the Print and Cut option and say you’ve already printed.

Then let it air draw without a pin. Finally when it gets to the debossing part, place either your rotary attachment in or the stylus.

how to emboss paper


How to emboss paper without a machine

This method above is similar to how you would emboss paper by hand. Instead of using the machine to trace over the stencil, you would just trace using the stylus by hand.

It helps to have a light pad underneath to be able to see the outline of the stencil.

Related Articles:

How to make Envelopes

How to make Lattice Cards

Easel Card Templates

how to emboss cards
Cricut embossing tutorial
embossing for beginners

2 thoughts on “How to Emboss Cards with a Cricut”

  1. Destiny Thompson

    Do you have a video for this? i ried following but I do better with a visual! Thank you so much for all your help and knowledge. I have been wondering for so long how to actually achieve this!

    1. ilyssa.norda@domesticheights.com

      I do intend on making a video eventually, just haven’t gotten around to it yet 🙂

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