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Foil Academy

Choose a category to discover more about stamping foils

01

What is
stamping foil?

02

Types of foil

03

Foil FinIshes

04

DefinItIon
in design

05

PickIng
a substrate

06

Choosing the
right die

07

MakeReadies

08

Available
Machinery

What is
stamping foil?

Stamping foil, also known as blocking foil, is a method in which foils are transferred to a substrate.

Foil stamping is a popular method of relief printing, allowing foils to be transferred to a surface with heat and pressure using metal etched or engraved 'dies'. Hot stamping foil is unique in being able to offer bright, mirror-like, metallic finishes. During the stamping process, the foil creates a slight impression into the material, which creates a level of luxury that is unachievable through digital print. There are four main types of decorative foils available to you on the market; Hot stamping foil, Die-less / Cold foil, Digital and Textile foils.

Types of foil

When selecting the correct type foil you should always consider the substrates, foiling methods and machinery.

When selecting the correct type foil you should always consider the substrates, foiling methods and machinery. When selecting a type of foil there are various considerations you should take into account. The material that is being foiled will determine the grade of the foil you select. Machinery should also be taken into account as specific foils work better witch certain machines. For example, some substrates require foils that operate at high temperatures or high levels of pressure.

Foil FinIshes

All foils are available in a wide range of finishes and can easily be used to enhance products.

There are many different foil finishes to choose from so choosing the correct one to match your project requirements is important. Using specific foil finishes can add subtle enhancements to cards, product boxes, posters and more. Standout foils such as holographic, fluorescent and brushed effects can create added impact.

DefinItIon
in design

Always consider the complexity or intricacy of a design when using stamping foils.

Fine, Medium and Solid are the terms used to describe the definitions that can be found within foiling. Different details require different foils in order to achieve the best result possible. Generally lower temperatures should be used for finer details and higher temperatures should be used for large solid areas.

PickIng
a substrate

There are a few things you should consider when looking to pair a foil with a particular substrate.

The structure of the substrate is important especially if the substrate is textured or uncoated as these will require foils with thicker adhesives. You should also take into consideration the opacity because using fluorescent, pearlescent and some pigment foils can alter the appearance of foils on darker substrates.

Choosing the
right die

It is important to understand the benefits of choosing the right die material for your project.

Choosing the right die material can massively improve the outcome of your project. Two of the most commonly used materials are Magnesium and Brass. When selecting a die material you must weigh up both the pros and cons for each. You should consider substrate, artwork and the production run length as these are important factors.

MakeReadies

Makeready materials are used to aid the printing of hot stamping foils.

Choosing the correct makeready material is important as they will result in the following benefits; a reduction in set-up time, an improvement of the overall quality of the foil print, allows crisper definition when foiling fine text and details, ensures greater consistency and a higher quality finish throughout short and long-run print jobs.

Available
Machinery

It is important to understand the differences between the foiling machinery available in the market.

Selecting the right machinery is crucial as it is important to ensure your investment(s) in machinery is worthwhile and suitable for the print/finish you require. The choice of a foiling machine will also depend on the type and size of the items to be foiled and the output speeds required for that particular work. A good quality machine will allow you to adjust the following three variables; pressure, dwell time and temperature.

Foil Academy

Hot foil stamping is one of the most desired and unique finishes in print.

Most designers use stamping foils in their projects because they understand that adding a decorative effect to a product can enhance brand equity, grow market share and provide measurable promotional lift.

Regardless of whether you are a big or a small business Foilco are always happy to help with foil choices, sampling and finding unusual foils.

Marta Hebda, Dot Studio

When we are looking for a high-end finishing touch for a packaging project, book design or fashion show invitation, the Foilco swatch book is our first port of call.

Studio Thomson

When working on bespoke foiling projects for our clients, Foilco is our first choice for range, quality and service.

Daniel O'Kane, International client manager, Imprimerie du Marias

Glossary of terms

These can be produced from magnesium, copper or brass. The die is shaped to the image required to be foil printed.

The paper/board is shaped into a defined, permanent relief. Sometimes the sheet is foiled first and then blind embossed to create a deep foil embossed effect.

Sometimes referred to as combination stamping is where the foil stamping & embossing are done in one pass through the use of a foil embossing die.

The paper/board is pressed to create a pattern within the paper/board using a special die & makeready.

This is used on the base of the foil printing machine. By making use of different makeready materials a better foil print can be achieved.

A unit of length equal to one millionth of a metre, used commonly as a measurement in the manufacture of stamping foil. Used to describe the thickness of the foil structure(s) either in part or total.

This is real gold that has been hammered into extremely thin sheets and is often used for gilding.

This is a measurement of the surface tension of the surface of the material. If it is to be foiled the dynes level is recommended to be above 40, however we have found that some of our foils can work below 30 dynes.

This is when the foil is not adhering completely to the stock and leaves small ‘Pick’ marks. This can normally be resolved by adjusting machine settings or a change of foil grade.

Find the perfect
foil for your project

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