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Embossing or die cutting -- which comes first? Do you emboss before die cutting or do you die-cut and then emboss? That's a burning question from one of our readers, and it's a good one!

Mary W. asks, "I want to emboss a die cut -- to make a wood grain pattern on a cross. If I emboss first and then die cut, the embossing gets flattened. If I die cut and then emboss, the shape gets distorted. Any ideas on how to do this?"

Mary, there a few things to consider before you even start. Pick a cardstock that is a crisper or tighter paper. A softer cardstock or one with a texture is more likely to spread when embossed and lose its shape. You can usually tell which it is by feel, but try a few different kinds of cardstock to figure out what works best for you. To me the ones that work best are a little thicker and don't flop if I hold it out by an edge.

After you've decided on the paper, I suggest embossing first and then the die cutting. Then reverse the process to see how much the die cut you are using distorts the shape. Some die cuts will distort more than others because they have a fine point like a star, but even more solid shapes may distort, you just won't notice it as much. I prefer to die-cut first and then emboss.

Finally, sometimes it may just be an optical illusion that it appears distorted. When we are looking at something so closely, and we have been struggling with a technique, we start to notice every little detail. Most people who receive our cards would never even see the small flaws that drive us crazy. Just enjoy the process and send off your card with your head held high!
-- Kimber

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