Friday, April 30, 2010

Embossed Book Plate Stickers

If you're anything like me, you're pretty much obsessed with books. You read them one after the other, discuss them with strangers on the internet, arrange your furniture around book shelves and lend them out to people you know so that you can discuss the book with people you know instead of strangers on the internet.

Of course, if you truly loved a book, it's a bit nerve-wracking to lend one out. If many of your friends enjoy lending out books, ownership can easily get jumbled. That's why I'm going to teach you how to make your own self-adhesive book plate. These are thin stickers that have been stamped and embossed to make them look a bit more elegant, while still being thin enough that they don't fuss with the way the cover of your book closes. Perfect for paperbacks! I'm going to make mine with a kitty stamp. Because I love kitties about as much as I love books. Yes, I'm probably a crazy cat lady. And I like it.

First, you're going to need a full sheet of label paper. You can find this at most office supplies stores, or at You're also going to need:
  • A stamp, approximately 2 1/4" square
  • Ink, preferably slow-dry
  • Embossing powder
  • A heat gun or hair dryer, a heat gun is best
  • A little dish to catch the excess embossing powder
  • Decorative scissors (optional)
  • This PDF: Save me

Step one:
Print out the above PDF onto your label paper, if your printer doesn't allow for borderless printing select "fit to page."

Step two:
Ink up your stamp and give it a good press into the ink pad, then move it over and carefully press down in the center of one of the squares on your label paper. Use the lines on the paper to make sure your stamp is as centered as possible.

Step three:
Remove the stamp quickly and set it aside, lift straight up and do your best not to twist it or otherwise smudge the image. While the ink is still wet, sprinkle with the embossing powder. I usually cover the whole image thickly and tap it down lightly with a finger to make sure it sticks. Allow it to rest for a second. Count to 20 in your head if you're impatient like me.

Step four:
Lift up your paper and carefully dust the excess powder off into your little dish. Gently tap the side of the paper, and blow on it to make sure all the loose bits come off. Check to make sure there isn't any remaining powder in a spot you don't want it. Lay flat.

Step five:
Turn on your heat gun. Give it a few seconds to warm up. If you just wave it at the paper right away the lukewarm air will blow the embossing powder around before it melts it. When it's hot, hold the paper down with one finger in a corner, and hover the gun about an inch above your stamping. The paper will warp slightly, but this is okay. It will flatten out later.

Step six:
At this point you can go one of two ways. You can keep stamping/embossing your sheet until the whole thing is covered, or you can cut this one out with your fancy border scissors cutting just inside the black lines on the paper.

Step seven:
Once you've made and cut out all your book plates, stack them and let them sit with a heavy book on top of them over night. This smooths out the paper and gets rid of any leftover warping from the heat gun.

Ta-da! You're all finished! You can also buy the kitty book plates I used as an example in my BarefootFae Etsy shop, packaged all purdy and ready to go.

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