I'm new to this heat embossing malarky, so I have been experimenting with different ways of adhering the powder to the card.
There are two main ways of embossing it appears, one is to use an appropriate coloured 'ink pad' and use either clear or coloured powder.
The other way is to use a clear ink and whatever powder you choose.
So if using the second method, the sticking bit is pretty straight forward. Either buy a clear embossing pad such as Versamark, or make your own version. A shallow tin, some sponge and some glycerin is all you need, but did you know that you could, at a stretch use baby oil? Yup, tried it and it worked!
The glycerin is perhaps capable of a finer stamped image but the baby oil still did the job, much to my surprise, so if you run out of one, use the other!
Turning my attention to the other method, that of using a coloured ink, I had already had some success with acrylic and water colour paints mixed with glycerin but wasn't completely happy that I was getting the very best result. If it was wet enough, it tended not to be as opaque as I may want.
I've never painted with oils, always thought it too messy, all that drying time....wait a minute, did I just say 'all that drying time?' Sure did - and what is it we need for heat embossing? Hmm? Drying time! So, I went out and bought a set of 12 tiny oil paint tubes. From the size of them, I think they are 6ml each but they are not marked, so I have no way of knowing. Good strong colours and I am more than capable of mixing them if I need to.
After a bit of a trial, I have found that although I could emboss with paint straight from the tube pretty much, it is quite soft paint, I got the best result by adding a drop of glycerin to make it wetter. No racing to get the embossing powder on, I could take my sweet time. The paint was still so opaque that I could even use white on black card quite happily. Moreover, the embossing powder stuck to it very nicely, providing good coverage.
I can't think why I didn't try this before, except that the terminology of 'ink' made me ignore the idea of oil paint entirely. Cleaning up stamps is still easy.
There is another method, and sometimes it is quite useful. Stamp with a water based ink or your standard fast drying one and then stamp over that with clear ink and use that to emboss. I tend to prefer doing this with black, rather than use black embossing powder. Some of my card is ok but other card just won't keep a clean image with black powder, even if I treat it first.