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The Best Heat Embossing Gun - Do You Already Have it?
First, we regret to inform you that this article is not going to be about using a hair dryer for embossing.
Sadly, it just doesn’t work. The hair dryer doesn’t get hot enough and it blows the embossing powder around too much.
We also have to tell you that using embossing powder in the oven doesn’t work either. Not only is it inconvenient, but you will also scorch your paper.
Back in the day, we tried both of these strategies. But then we bit the bullet, bought the best heat embossing guns we could find and never looked back.
If you want to try out, and inevitably fall in love with, heat embossing, it is time for you to buy a heat gun.
The ONLY way to heat embossing powder is with a proper embossing tool. But which is the best heat embossing gun? The good news is that there are a few different ones and none of them are very expensive.
Keep reading to see what you need to look for in a heat tool and which one is our favorite.
So . . . what should you look for in a heat embossing gun?
Finding the best heat embossing gun is not easy. There are a lot of options out there but we’ve found that none of them are the one. You have to make some tough compromises depending on which of these features are most important to you.
Plastic Casing Around Heating End: If you have small children, you need to be especially careful about the type of heat gun you use to emboss your cards, scrapbooks, and other projects.
The side of the tool where the heat comes out can stay hot for 1-2 minutes after the gun is turned off, which is plenty of time for your little one to grab it. (We are looking at you Stampendous for manufacturing such a safety hazard).
For that reason, it is best to stay away from heat guns that do not have a thick plastic covering around the metal end of the tool.
Most of the paper craft embossing tools have this, but the heat guns from the hardware store might not. To be fair, the hardware store heat tools are designed with a different purpose in mind. They aren’t meant to be left sitting on a desk directly after use.
Darice makes a much beloved heat tool that many paper crafters swear by. But be warned, this gal gets HOT. It can also be used for shrink wrapping, clay, and SMT Soldering, but you need to turn it off and let it cool down after about 5 minutes of constant use. And be sure not to let it stay for more than 30 seconds on your paper or it will burn.
Durable: We drop our craft supplies a lot. A lot, a lot. None of us have broken our heat guns yet, but among us we have broken: several rulers, a glass cutting mat, a craft punch, a home made picture frame, a pair of scissors, and a fuse tool. (Devastating!)
Maybe you aren’t as clumsy as we seem to be, but it’s easy to get tangled up in a cord and accidentally pull your heat gun to the ground. You want one that will withstand being knocked off the table a few times.
If you are clumsy, the Uchida Embossing Heat Tool is not for you. Many, many crafters use and adore this heat gun but there are dozens of reports about it malfunctioning too easily. It can stop working after only one drop.
But otherwise, it is one of the best heat guns on the market. If you don’t tend to drop things, this is the heat embossing gun that we most recommend.
Nice to Have:
Heats Up Quick: Of course, this is not an absolute necessity. But it is nice to have a heat embossing gun that gets hot ASAP.
In order to prevent your paper from warping, it is best to let the tool get really hot before directing it over your paper.
This will make sure that it immediately melts the embossing powder. The less time your paper is under the heat, the less likely it is to warp.
Quiet Enough to Hear Yourself Think: Some heat tools are so loud you can barely hear yourself think, let alone hear the TV over all that noise.
Everybody knows we are a big fan of Stampin’ Up, but their (expensive) heat gun is outrageously loud. We cannot recommend it if you are bothered by noise.
Light-weight: Crafters with health issues should be cautious about the weight of the heat gun. (And also somewhat lazy crafters like us care about this too.)
When you are working on a big project, holding a heavy heat gun can get exhausting and even painful. This pink one by Craft Crocodile is only 8 ounces, so it is 3-4 ounces lighter than the others on this list. But it does cost about twice as much, so there is a trade-off.
Looks Pretty: The Heidi Swapp Minc Heat Tool wins the award for being the most stylish embossing tool on the market. But apart from being so pretty, it is otherwise pretty standard. It works well but it is kind of loud and takes a little too long to heat up. It’s certainly a fair choice, but it is by no means the best heat gun on this list.
So which heat gun should you buy?
Your heat embossing gun should last most of your crafting life, so it is important to pick the best one the first time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do want to pick one with a good reputation. Some of the generic brands have a terrible tendency to burn out after only a few months. The ones we listed above are some of the best heat embossing guns on the market. Any one of them is a solid choice, depending on your personal preferences.
But wait – what about the Ranger Heat It Tool? Why didn’t you review that one? ….we thought you might ask. The Ranger Heat It Tool is good for drying wet art journal pages but it doesn’t get hot enough to properly melt the embossing powder. For that reason, we chose to leave it out of this post. But if you have successfully used it for embossing, please let us know!
One Last Note: When you first turn on your new heat gun, it might start to smoke. If any oil from the manufacturing machines is still on it, the heat tool will burn that off. Just let it run for about a minute, then turn it off and let it cool. It should be fine to use on your projects after that point.