showing products

I wanted to see the difference between some brands of embossing powders and how scratch resistant they were on polymer clay.  I also wanted to see how EFColor Opaque Low Temperature Enamelling Powder compared to embossing powders.

Products compared:

  • Ranger Embossing Powder in Platinum
  • Ranger Distress Embossing Powder in Pumice Stone
  • Zing Embossing Powder in Chestnut
  • Ice Resin Iced Enamels in Turquoise
  • EFColor Opaque Low Temperature Enamelling Powder in Spring Green

All the photos in this post show the five products in the above order going from left to right and top to bottom.

Ranger Embossing Powder, Zing and Iced Enamels are readily available in the United States.   The Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder line seems to be discontinued.  Though there are tutorials on the Ranger site, I couldn’t find the product itself.  EFColor is made in Germany and currently seems to be available only in Europe.

Ranger Embossing Powder comes in about 55 colors plus 18 colors in the Wendy Vecchi line.  Iced Resin comes in 14 colors, some of which are nice mixes of colors. Embossing powders are usually melted with an embossing heat gun.

EFColor Low Temperature Enamelling Powder comes in 46 colors.  (It’s pronounced E F Color.)  It melts at 300˚F when baked for 3-5 minutes.  I bought mine from Metal Clay Ltd.  It’s also available from CooksonGold and other vendors as a starter set or as individual colors.  Here’s a video on how to use it.  Here’s another.  I also like this one in French.  There are several other tutorials on YouTube.  A tea light stove is available for sale to use with EFColors, but a toaster oven seems to work just as well.

A very noticeable difference is that embossing powders are made up of larger particles, like sugar, while the particles of EFColor Low Temperature Enamelling Powder are very fine, like cake flour.

Testing methods

I used Fimo Gel and a leaf design stencil by Iris Mishly to create a pattern on cured, dark gray Cernit. Then I shook each powder onto the wet Fimo Liquid Gel and tapped off the excess.  Rather than using a heat gun on the embossing powders, I baked all the powders at once at 300˚F for 5-6 minutes.

I’ve done some previous informal testing and found that Fimo Liquid Gel works a bit better to adhere embossing powder to polymer clay than Ranger Perfect Medium or VersaMark Watermark Ink.  I haven’t tried Iced Enamels Medium or EFColor Adhesive.  EFColor doesn’t seem to need an adhesive if you’re not trying to confine it to certain areas.

closeup before baking
Powders before baking. Left to right and top to bottom: Ranger Embossing Powder,  Ranger Distress Embossing Powder, Zing Embossing Powder, Iced Enamels and 
EFColor Opaque Low Temperature Enamelling Powder.


When baked, all powders except Ranger Distress Embossing Powder, developed a glossy finish.  The Distress product is meant to be more matte and have a sandpaper-like texture.  All the rest developed a pebble finish, though EFColor was a bit smoother than the rest, probably due to its smaller particles.

I’ve seen YouTube demonstrations where EFColor was completely smooth.  A very generous application of powder helps to achieve that.  They make little sieves that fit on the containers so you can shake out an even layer.

before scratch test
Powders after baking.

Then the real test… does it scratch off?  I tried just one swipe with my fingernail in the lower left hand leaf.  Those marked with red circles in the photo below scratched off easily, especially Ranger Embossing Powder which came entirely off.  Embossing powders are generally meant to be used on paper, so using them on polymer clay is probably stretching their abilities.

Ranger Distress Embossing Powder and EFColor didn’t scratch off and seem really well adhered.

after scratch test
Scratch test results.  Those that scratched off are indicated with red circles.

In the photo below, I rubbed in a thin layer of pink EFColor onto a thin layer of Fimo Liquid Gel on six brands of baked clay.  None scratched off.   It’s a tough, hard surface.  I tried adding more thin layers to the bottom left tile.  The color became more opaque, but it still has a texture I don’t like.  One really thick layer gives a smoother finish.

EFColor on 6 brands of clay
A thin layer of EFColor on six brands of polymer clay.  The lower left hand tile has several thin layers.  One thick layer will give a smoother finish.


Ranger Embossing Powder has over 70 colors.  EFColors has over 40.  Iced Resin comes in about 14.  The color ranges are continually changing.

Embossing powders are made up of larger particles, like sugar. The particles of EFColor Low Temperature Enamelling Powder are very fine, like cake flour.

All products developed a glossy finish except Ranger Distress Embossing Powder, which is meant to look more matte and sandpaper-like.

All products developed a pebbly texture, though a bit less so with EFColor.  A thick application of EFColor will give a smoother finish.

Ranger Embossing Powder, Zing Embossing Powder and Iced Resin scratched off easily from polymer clay.  I’ve had this happen when using a heat gun, too.  A coat of resin will protect them.  Ranger Distress Embossing Powder and EFColor didn’t scratch off.