Hot Foil Stamping
With hot foil stamping, a heated metal die will press the design on the top of the foil as the paper runs through the foil stamping press. The foil is released from its backing, and an imprint is left in the paper.
Provider Letterpress studios and other PSPs
Colors There are an abundance of colors and ranges, including solid, translucent, metallic, and holographic.
Run Length They run from medium to large
Paper Options Foil stamping works great with both coated and uncoated paper. For a deeper impression, choose soft and uncoated sheets of paper. For crisp, clean, and nice results, use an opaque foil.
Advantages Hot foil stamping is the most versatile of foil processes, with the ability to emboss as well as foil in the same run, and the ability to press micro-etched patterns on the surface.
Disadvantages With hot foil stamping, there is a longer turnaround time and the cost is higher due to the need for special dies and plates.
Cold Foil Transfer
This method is typically used in-line during an offset printing process and works best for a number of mediums such as labels, magazine covers, and cartons. It works by using the first 2 units of a press in order to apply an adhesive and foil, which sticks to the adhesive. It can craft any color due to printing on top of the foil in-line.
Provider PSPs that specialize in packaging and labels.
Colors If CMYK is used, can create unlimited metallic hues.
Run Length They run from medium to large.
Paper Options Uncoated papers typically absorb the adhesive, so coated papers should be used and will provide a great shine. Advances have been made that allow for more flexibility with printing on uncoated papers.
Advantages Cold foil transfers provide a great opportunity if you need a lot of foil coverage. It runs in-line on the printing press and makes unlimited metallic colors.
Disadvantages Difficult to use on uncoated and smaller paper.
There are offline processes used to create a digital piece with added shine known as digital foiling. Digital foiling doesn’t need film, plate, or die, and also does not use pressure or leave a deep impression. This process is best used for short to medium runs.
You can use toner or varnish as a base adhesive in digital foiling.
Toner Based Digital
In just a few steps, print your design on a toner of digital press, then run the sheet through the sleeker to stick the foil to the black ink with heat. After the foil is adhered, you can run the sheet through the press again in order to combine CMYK with your foil to determine the color.
Provider There are a number of PSPs.
Colors Metallic, gold, and silver are possible with toner based digital foiling.
Run Length They run short to medium.
Paper Options Coated and uncoated papers work with this system, but coated works best.
Advantages You can use the foil for personalization and no film, plates, or dies are required. With toner based digital foiling, you’ll be able to overprint for an abundance of metallic hues.
Disadvantages This method needs multiple passes in order to have the results you want.
Varnish Based Digital Foiling
This technique allows you to print your project and then run them through a digital enhancement press and have a shiny result. With a clear varnish adhesive of your design, you can adhere the foil, and then add a layer of adhesive. This ensures that there is an embossed look on your foil image.
Provider A number of PSPs are available.
Colors Silver, gold, holographic, and many more.
Run Length They run short to medium.
Paper Options Coated works best but uncoated is possible.
Advantages No plates, films, or dies are needed. The varnish creates a tactile feel.
Disadvantages They don’t work as well for larger foil and you won’t have as many options for color.
When you want to print large foils, use foil substrates, otherwise known as metalized laminates. With a foundation of paper or board, you can laminate the foil to the substrate which provides you with a shiny side and a white side.
Paper Suppliers Find paper through Mohawk, Legion, Zander’s, GPA, CTI, Hagen, and Wausau Coated.
Colors The classic colors of gold, silver, and holographic are available.
Run Length They run short to large.
Paper Options Labels and C15
Advantages You will be able to create metallic effects with only one time on the press.
Disadvantages The cost of the paper or board is high.