How to Emboss Furniture

There is something really special about an unexpected detail when it comes to decorating your home right? Things that seem to catch my eye always have something just a little different about them so when it came time to redo my grandmother’s old cabinet and make it into an industrial chic bar cabinet for my dining room, giving it a little something special was on my list.

Adding the metallic contact paper and then the metallic pattern to the drawer front was a really easy and fun way to get that element of surprise and today I’m going to show you how to emboss furniture to create a unique pattern and a tiny bit of texture.
how to emboss furniture

First things first. Do you know what embossing is. I didn’t know what it was until a few years ago. Here is a good example. You know when you get a fancy wedding invitation and the font is slightly raised off of the paper? That is embossed. Embossing can be done in almost any color and did you know you could do it yourself with a few supplies from the craft store?

Embossing it typically done on paper crafts, but it is just not my style to stick to the norm so I decided that I wanted to emboss on furniture.

embossing furniture

Keep in mind that when I say it is possible to emboss on furniture, I’m talking about a small portion of the furniture. As I will be explaining, you will be pouring embossing powder on, and will need to dump it off, so it has to be a portion of the furniture that you can easily lift and tilt, like a drawer front.

So for this project you will need…

  • a stencil and a few pieces of painters tape
  • embossing powder in the color of your choice. Michael’s and Paper Source both have great selections as do most craft stores.
  • a clear embossing pen
  • an embossing heat gun (Here is the one I have, and here is one from good ol’ Martha Stewart.)
  • the surface you want to add your embossed pattern to

gold metallic embossing powder on drawer fronts

I started this project in the house which was a giant mistake. Embossing powder is a bit messy and because it is a large ridged surface you are bound to get a bit on the floor when you are dumping it off, so my advice is to do this outside.

Step 1: Place your stencil onto your surface and keep it in place with a small piece of painters tape.

Step 2:  Outline your stencil with your clear embossing pen. This gets a bit tricky because you can’t see where you’ve marked but you’ll get the hang of it. Also keep in mind that you don’t want this ink to dry before you have a chance to get the powder on, so work in small segments.

embossing on furniture to create pattern

 Step 3:  Lift the stencil, pour the embossing powder over your marked area and then dump it off onto a large piece of newspaper so that you can gather up the extra, put it back into the container, and use it again. When you dump off the excess embossing powder give the drawer a tap from the back side to really get all of the excess off. I also had to blow some of the excess off or use a dry small paint brush to ensure that you don’t have any embossing powder where you don’t want it.

Step 4: Use your embossing heat tool to emboss your pattern. You will see it sort of cook right before your eyes. Don’t stay in one place too long or the paint on your surface will bubble. If you’ve never used these tools before, of course it would be a good idea to practice on some paper first so you get the feel of it. You want the embossed pattern to raise slightly and have a shiny finish.

Continue these steps lining up your stencil each time until you are done. Once you’ve used the heat tool, there is no dry time so you can touch it as soon as it is cool and place your stencil over the already embossed area with no problem.

Use embossing powder to create a metallic pattern on furniture

Now ain’t that pretty! This drawer front is actually a hidden drawer on the inside of my industrial bar cabinet and the gold accents are a perfect compliment to the industrial detail I did on the top of the cabinet. I think this might just be my favorite addition to my newly revamped dining room.

how to add pattern on drawer front

So what do you think? Do you love the unexpected detail?

Want more from this room?

Check out the dining room reveal here.

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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

25 thoughts on “How to Emboss Furniture

  1. Morry-Ann says:

    Hi Correy

    I need to embossed a name on plastic chairs. Can I use your embossing method on plastic chairs also or what do you recommend?


    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Morry-Ann! Embossing is high heat so I would not do it on plastic but you can use a vinyl for that! My friend Alexis at is a vinyl lover and has a ton of info on how to use it a lot of different ways on her site so you may want to head over there and check out her tips!

  2. CUTE! ! I never thought of embossing on furniture. I do make cards and have tried the paint brush thing to take extra embossing powder off, but. . It always seemed to ruin my cards. !! I DID a thing called Embossing buddy from Stampin UP that is a thing you roll over it and it makes it static free. It’s just a little packet size of tea bag. . I WILL try your idea! ! Thanks for sharing it;-)

  3. Okay, I used to emboss stuff on paper all the time (stamping…) but I have never thought about doing it on furniture. This is stunning Corey- and such a cool technique! Have you found that it has held up really well??

    1. Hi Krista. That is a great question. It has held up fine. It isn’t a drawer I would say I use all of the time, but the embossing turned pretty hard, so I don’t see it coming off any time soon 🙂

  4. I’ve embossed paper loads of times but you have just taken it to a new level! Love it, what a cool idea, totally worth the effort and mess!

    1. It is a bit messy, but totally worth it. Definitely an outdoor project on a non windy day 🙂 You will love the results!

  5. This is REALLY cool, Corey. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an embossing DIY. Turned out beautifully!!

  6. wow that turned out amazing!!! I am so excited to try this!

    1. Thanks Sara! I think I may be addicted to this technique!

  7. This is so outside the box, I love it! I wonder how it would hold up over time though? It looks so pretty, I would hate for all of that effort to be wasted. It looks amazing! I love how it turned out.

    1. That is a great question Betsy. It actually is a hard finish so I think it will hold up great, just like paint would. Thanks for the great question! Hope you are having a great week.

  8. Sherry Fra says:

    I had no idea that you could emboss furniture either. Love how it looks! May have to give it a try.

    1. I had no idea either, but I’m so glad I gave it a try! Now I need to find more stuff to emboss 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  9. Totally didn’t know you could do that but I can’t wait to try it out!!

    1. I actually thought of you when I was doing this. I was like Bre (queen of furniture redos) is going to either be totally impressed or she’ll think I’m nuts-0! hahaha

  10. That looks great! I have never tried that before. It looks a little hard, but the outcome is fabulous!

    1. It definitely wasn’t hard, but it took time just because it is detailed. Definitely try it on something small. The outcome is so worth it.

  11. I had no idea you could emboss furniture!!! SO creative and SO, SO pretty Corey!!!

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