Guide to Foiling

Guide to helping customers achieve quality prints – Questions you should ask and why.


Q)  What material are you foiling on to?

A)   The material that is being foiled determines which grade should be used. Different foil grades are suitable for different materials.  Foilco supply a large range of foil grades to suit most applications, with our knowledge and experience we can help you choose the correct grade for your application.


Q)  Is the material coloured?

A)  The colour of the material can often affect the colour of the print, particularly if the material is darker in colour, this is most common when using pigment foils and pearl foils.  Stamping down a     white first, then the chosen foil on top is one way to prevent colour show through on the foil and to give a good solid level of shade opacity.  Alternatively, we can advise alternative foils to suit your application.


Q)  What image are you trying to foil?

A)   The graphic design matters when choosing foils.  If the design is fine detail, a clean release foil is often most suitable.  A quick release foil will give better coverage for a solid design. In the event the image has both solid and fine areas testing is highly recommended to ensure the correct foil is chosen to give the best possible definition in print.


Q)  What make ready are you using?  Or do you require a Make Ready?

A)   The make ready suitability is usually determined by graphic design along with the material that is being foiled.  The term ‘make ready’ can also be referred to as ‘bedding material’.   We have found that some customers are not aware of how make readies can increase the quality and consistency of the print.  The correct make ready can greatly assist in overcoming many issues faced during the foiling process.  As a general rule: Fine detail images often require a harder make ready and large coverage designs may work best with soft bedding material.  Folico supply a full range of make ready materials and we offer data sheets to help our customers with all make ready materials we supply.


Q)  What machine are you using?

A)   The machine being used can often have impact on the settings that can be used.  Some fast running machines will not have a dwell setting and therefore a very high temperature may be needed compared to other machines.  This is because the running temperature of these machines is lower than the set temperature.  Small hand pull machines are not capable of reaching high levels of pressure.


Q)  How long are you holding the dwell?

A)   Typically, the dwell time directly affects the amount of foil that is transferred.  For fine detail, a shorter dwell time is recommended.  Solid areas may require more dwell time.  Be careful; holding dwell can cause gloss foil finish to matt and if dwell is held for too long it can start to dull the finish of metallic foil.  It may also cause excessive release often known as bleeding and bridging.


Q)  What temperature are you using?

A)   The temperature works similar to dwell.  Foilco have data sheets for all the foils which indicate foil applications and working temperature indicators.  Lower temperatures are suitable for fine detail.  High temperatures are suitable for solid areas.  Be careful; if the temperature is too low, the foil will not be activated properly.  This can cause patchy results with some areas not being foiled.  If the temperature is too high, the finish of the foil may start to stress and mark, this may also cause excessive release.


If you have any further questions or queries, our sales team are fully trained and able to assist with foiling issues and enquiries.