How Envelopes are Embossed

Embossed envelopes may be among the most impressive types of personalized and custom printed envelopes. Embossing is a technique that creates a raised design on paper or fabric. Most people, even if they don’t know of American Stationery, will be familiar with one very famous and well-known embossed envelope design – the raised rose on the envelope of American Greetings greeting cards.

Embossed designs are a popular embellishment on formal wedding stationery and on business envelopes. Because of the process used, embossing is often one of the most expensive types of personalization available, especially for small quantities of stationery. Unlike printing or thermo-engraving, embossing requires that dies be made for the imprint, which means that the up front cost for embossed envelopes, letterhead and cards are higher than printed or engraved stationery.

The Embossing Process

The raised image that results from embossing is accomplished by placing the paper to be embossed between two parts of a die, and then pressing the pieces together, often using heat to help set the image permanently.

If you have ever had a notice or letter of any sort notarized by a notary public, you have probably seen a very simple embossing machine – that’s how the official seals are usually affixed to papers. A simple personal embosser looks rather like a stapler with a broad head. You slip the paper between the top and bottom of the embosser, push down on a handle that applies firm pressure to the paper, lift the handle, and voila! Your paper comes out with a raised seal or design pressed right into it.

The bottom of the embosser holds a metal plate with a sculpted raised design. A metal plate engraved with a matching image is fixed to the top of the embosser. The two plates fit together, with the raised image on the bottom fitting into the engraved lines in the top image. When a sheet of paper is placed between the two images and pressure is applied, the paper is forced up against the top plate by the raised parts of the bottom plate, leaving the design behind.

While hand embossing works well for individual use at home, it is obviously far too time consuming for printing thousands of sheets of stationery or embossed envelopes, but the basic process is the same. When you order embossed stationery from American Stationery, here’s what happens:

  1. A die maker engraves your custom personalization into a set of plates, top and bottom.
  2. The plates are set into an embossing machine that consists of a sheet feeder and a press. The plates fit into slots in the top and bottom of the press.
  3. The paper stock is loaded into the sheet feeder.
  4. Each sheet of paper is fed into the machine, stamped and then ejected.

Because embossing requires that dies be engraved with your image, which will not be reused for any other customer’s order, the cost of your order will include the cost of engraving the plates. If you are ordering business stationery from a stationer that specializes in engraved and embossed stationery, the cost will usually go down with the increased quantity of your order, because the initial quantity includes the cost of creating the dies. Once the dies are struck, the cost of each extra quantity of identical stationery will be less.

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