A heat gun is a very useful tool and should form part of your crafting or DIY toolbox.
Types of Heat Guns
There are special heat guns (also known as heat tools) that have been designed for craft projects for techniques such as heat embossing. In addition to these, there are a variety of other craft heat guns and heat tools available that can be used to successfully emboss rubber stamped images. You will find heat guns and heat tools in craft stores and an extensive collection online.
There are a number of different types of heat gun available. These include:
Craft and Embossing Guns
Craft and embossing heat guns are typically electrically powered and can be plugged safely into any household electric supply. These have been specifically designed for use with small craft projects and provide a consistent heat. These heat guns are similar to small hairdryers, however they generate a higher heat with a more gentle heat flow.
Three well-known brands of craft heat gun are:
- Marvy Uchida Embossing Heat Gun (electric)
- Wall Lenk (butane)
- Hot Boss Embossing Tool (electric)
DIY and Builders Heat Guns
In addition to special heat guns, other heat sources can be used successfully. These include stripping guns and heat guns used for DIY projects. These typically reach higher temperatures than the craft versions and, as such, should be used at lower settings and held further away from the work to avoid scorching. Be very careful to check the heat settings and make sure that you do not use a builder's heat gun which reaches too high a heat.
Other Heat Sources
Rubber stampers are a creative breed, and those without heat tools have experimented with other heat sources. Hair dryers, for instance, are reported to have been used with success, although some stampers find that hair dryers blow the embossing powder around too much for reliable results.
A naked electric light bulb generates a surprising amount of spot heat and this can be a useful fall-back if you need to heat a small area. Hold the paper or card above the light bulb, but watch like a hawk to ensure the paper does not burn.
Other heat sources may be suitable for use in emergencies, however, these are not recommended for beginner rubber stampers. These other methods of heating embossing powders may generate inconsistent and unreliable results and could end up spoiling a project.
Features of a Craft Heat Gun
A craft heat gun has some key features:
- Designed to have a gentle stream of hot air so as not to blow the embossing powder around.
- Has a small, defined airflow ensuring that hot air is well targeted. This avoids other areas of the paper or card getting heated unnecessarily.
- Specifically designed to be repeatedly switched on and off for several small projects.
- Will not scorch the paper or card.
Tips for Using a Heat Gun
With care, a heat gun can give years of use.
- Do not block the air vents during use; this may cause the heat gun to overheat and this result in the fan and/or elements burning out.
- Do not hold the heat gun too close to the work as this can result in overheating the embossing powder and, if the hot air is forced back into the gun, may damage the heat gun.
- The nozzle of the gun will get extremely hot. Handle with care and leave the gun somewhere safe and on a heatproof surface while cooling.
- Keep a heat gun out of the reach of children and pets, particularly when plugged into a power supply.
Note: A heat gun should NEVER be used by children.