So, what is foiling and why is it so cool?
You may have seen cards and signs with shiny metallic writing on them that just look so professional and eye-catching. This printing technique is called foiling, and is generally done by professional printers using commercial machinery. The process uses heat to melt shiny foil onto a specific image or text.
Lucky for us, however, there is a simple (and cost effective!) method to get the same result at home, using a few easy items. Read on!
What You Need
1. A Laminator Any kind of laminator will do – there are some business-purpose ones with adjustable heat settings, but your standard home-purpose laminator will have the same result, it just might take a bit longer.
2. Heat-reactive Foil Make sure the foil that you buy is heat-reactive – otherwise it will not work!
This foil I purchased from Spotlight (Heidi Swapp Minc Reactive Foil) for $20. It comes in 11 different metallic colours - perfect!
3. Blank Paper This will be used solely as a cover page, to hold the foil in place and protect it.
4. Scissors ...to cut things.
5. Power Point ...for the laminator.
6. Your Printed Design Your printed text/design MUST be printed using TONER, not ink. Your standard home printer usually uses ink. Your large office multi-function printer however, usually uses toner.
Okay, now that we have everything, let's get creative!
Create and print the design that you want to foil.
You must print this on a printer that uses toner, not traditional ink. Toner is powder based and uses heat to print onto paper.
This is absolutely critical, otherwise the foiling will not work!
If you work in an office, most large multi-function printers use toners.
Plug in the laminator and switch it on. Make sure it is on the ‘Heat’ setting, and wait until it signals that it is hot enough – usually there will be a ‘Ready’ indicator.
Cut out the foil – enough to completely cover the printed words/images on your design.
Place the foil over the printed words/images. No need to affix it, just place it loose. Make sure all of the printed area that you want foiled is covered!
Note: The foil needs to be coloured-side up! The foiling will not work if you have it the other way around.
Place a blank piece of paper on top of the paper with foil on it, and run it through the laminator. The blank paper will protect the foil (and keep it in place!) when you run it through the laminator.
Laminating ... laminating ...
Depending on the type of laminator that you have and/or the heat setting it is on, you may need to run it through a few times to apply additional heat.
A business-purpose laminator may have heat settings that you can play with to get the perfect result. This cheap home-purpose laminator only has one heat setting, so I ran it through 5-6 times to get the perfect result.
Remove the paper from the laminator, and place the top cover paper aside. You will see that the foil has stuck to the printed text/images on the page. If it hasn't stuck, this means that either:
You put the wrong side of the foil down; or
The heat settings on the laminator weren't high enough, and you need to apply additional heat; or
The text/image wasn't printed with toner.
Slowly peel off the foil, checking that the foil has adequately transferred onto the printed parts.
If the foil has not transferred completely and the text/image is a little speckled, put the top cover page back on and run it through the laminator again until you’re happy with it.
Voila!! Step back and admire your wonderful handiwork!
Tips & Tricks!
If you can’t get your hands on a laminator, an iron also works. Just make sure that you are leaning on a hard surface (ironing boards are usually quite soft), and you don’t have the steam setting on (the moisture will wrinkle the page!).
You must print using toner, not ink. The toner is what reacts with the heat, melting the foil onto it.
You must buy heat-reactive foil – sometimes your run-of-the-mill foil is not designed to react to heat, and thus will not work.
Cut out pieces of foil to cover only the parts you want foiled – this way you will not waste any of it!
The foil must be coloured-side up! It will not work with the coloured-side down.
Once you have run your paper through the laminator, start to slowly peel the foil off, checking that it has transferred properly. If you find that it looks speckled, don’t peel all the foil off – smooth it back down, put the top cover paper back on and run it through the laminator until you are happy with it!
Well, there you have it - now get creative, and happy foiling!