Foiling is a special kind of printing that involves the use of heat, pressure, and metallic paper, widely known as the foil. The process has to do with creating shiny designs and graphics on solid surfaces.
Some of these surfaces include paper, wood, photos, etc. Foiling is fast becoming the preferred printing technique because it gives the surface a more stunning appearance.
In essence, foiling is basically the application of foil (could be in metallic or pigmented form) onto a solid surface. The process is not complete without the introduction of heated dye.
The heated dye will ensure that the foil sticks permanently to the surface, regardless of its size, so it does not fade away gradually.
One of the many reasons why people have come to like foil printing so much is that it comes in a variety of colors and finishes. However, some colors happen to be more popular when it comes to foil printing.
Some of these popular colors include gold and silver foils. Foils also come in other colors like pearlescent and holographic effects, which can be used to replicate the look of precious metals.
If you are not aware yet, foil printing is becoming more popular by the day, and you should hop on the train before it begins to move fast. It can turn your print projects into something more luxurious in the nearest future.
I have received questions about how foiling can be done and the machines involved. In subsequent subsections, I will explain more about this topic.
What are the Machines used in Foiling?
You can’t just begin foil printing if you don’t have the necessary instruments in place. The machine used for foil printing is known as Hot Foil Stamping Machine. Sometimes, people call it Heat Transfer Foil Printing Machine.
Whichever name you choose to call it, it does the same work, which is to stamp foil designs on solid surfaces.
However, you might encounter some issues with the Hot Foil Stamping Machine. This issue is the price. The machine costs tens of bucks on Amazon and might be too expensive for you.
Even with the price, we still need to do foil printing; this is why alternatives have been provided. One of these alternatives is making use of printers. Printers can be used in place of Foil printing machines.
The most common and reliable printers for this purpose are the Laser Jet and InkJet printers. Whichever one you choose to use, you will not encounter any problem whatsoever.
Can I use a Laminator for Foiling?
If you don’t have a printer around, you might have come across some suggestions to use a laminator. Here, I will let you know if you can use a laminator for foil printing or not.
The truth is that you can use a laminator for foiling, but it all depends on the paper you will be foiling on and the laminator itself. So Yes, it is possible to use a laminator to foil.
Basically, this is how the process works. High-quality materials/paper will work well in a typical laminator, while low-quality materials/paper will need ironing to improve the look after foiling.
So, how do you go about this? You can easily improve the result of foiling by ironing the material with a hot, dry iron. It is necessary to keep the iron dry, so moisture does not interfere with the already-foiled paper.
If you are going to use low-quality materials or paper, kindly ensure that you properly attach the foil to the paper by ironing it before putting it in the laminator to get stamped.
Before Using a Laminator for Foiling, Read this
Firstly, before you go ahead to use any laminator to foil, there is something you should be aware of. Please do not work with cold laminators; you should take note of this, so the supposed foil printing does not go wrong.
Cold laminators do not work well with metallic or pigmented foil as they don’t have enough heat capacity to melt down the adhesive required for foil printing. The bond improves the attachment of the foil to the solid surface and will not be successful if you use cold laminators.
If at all you want to use laminators for foil printing, you should only go for hot laminators. Hot laminators have enough heat capacity to melt and activate the adhesive needed to make foil stick to the paper.
The heat in hot laminators is an advantage, especially when you use the foil sheets with other sheets; the heat ensures that the items remain bonded to one another.
While using a hot laminator, you need to be extremely careful. If possible, you can watch a video tutorial to guide. Carelessness when using the hot laminator for foil printing can distort your paper.
There are other essential things you need to consider before choosing an appropriate laminator for foil printing. Let’s check them out.
The first thing to put into consideration is the maximum temperature of the laminator in view. Foiling is only possible at extremely high temperatures than the regular 284 – 356 degrees Fahrenheit of many laminators.
If the laminator in question can not attain higher temperatures, then you can not use it for foiling. Even if you put it to a try, it will not work.
Also, you should check your laminator for the kind of films or materials that can be laminated with it. Some laminators are designed to work with thin materials or paper, while some can work with thicker ones.
The laminators capable of working with thicker materials are recommended for foil printing as they can produce adequate heat for the process. The other kind of laminator is no match.
In addition, you should observe the speed of your laminator or check if there is any way you can regulate it. If your laminator works too fast, I will advise that you find a way of slowing down the speed or go for another one.
Laminators with slow lamination speed are better because they can allow the foil to pass through the rollers smoothly without having them get wrinkled or something.
I will recommend you get a laminator with a Teflon-coated roller. Laminators with Teflon rollers can even speed up the movement of the foil and, at the same time, prevent wrinkling.
What foils can we use?
To ensure good results after foil printing, you should also go for a suitable foil. Using a bad foil might ruin the whole process. For this reason, I will show you what to consider when choosing a foil for printing.
People use different foils, but they all work at different paces. Foil A will perform better than Foil B, and Foil C might still work better than Foil A.
When choosing foils, do not for thin or fragile foils. Foils with very little thickness might get damaged by the laminator. Also, fold that have white backing usually produce visible edges during lamination.
I will recommend that you choose a thick foil, which is also transparent or dark-backed, to achieve satisfying results.
It is not mandatory that you use a laminator for foil printing if you have the machine around. Laminators can be used as alternatives and if you think you prefer using laminators, go for it.
Moreover, if you follow the guide I have mentioned previously, be sure to have a good experience during the process. I am confident you will not experience any additional glitches.