Hi guys! Today I’m going to talk to you about how to make a gold foil print.
If you would prefer a video then please check out this one I created :
A gold foil print is a print which has shiny foil on it’s surface. They can be made with backgrounds or just with gold foil like this one :
Gold foil prints can be made with many methods. I use the hot toner foil method which I will describe shortly however there are other alternatives.
Here are some alternatives :
- Sticker foil https://amzn.to/3dtTfmH or gold sticky vinyl https://amzn.to/3hkwD9j – foil with a sticky back which you cut to the shape you need and then apply. With regards to cutting – people usually use cutting machines such as the Cricut or the Silhouette cameo to cut the sticker to shape.
- Foil quill which you can use in a silhouette machine – this uses hot foil rather than toner reactive foil.
- Glue / glue pens / gold size – you apply glue / size or use a glue pen to apply the glue to paper and once it dries so it is sticky but not wet you apply the foil. Again this method doesn’t always produce consistent results; Glue Stick : https://amzn.to/3w7NlxZ Pot : https://amzn.to/3jpTtz7
- Gold leaf – Strictly speaking this doesn’t produce foiled prints but the result is very pretty so I thought it would be worth mentioning here Much like the method before you apply the glue to the paper and once sticky you apply the gold leaf, let it try and then brush off. If you would like me to show you a demo of how to do this please pop a comment below and I will create a video to talk about this. Gold Size : https://amzn.to/3hn80J4 Gold Leaf : https://amzn.to/3w1twZe
- Sticky toner sheets https://amzn.to/362pMMx
The method I use uses TONER reactive foil (not hot foil – this is very important) and a laser printer. The foil I use is the Decofoil as I find it nice and thick https://amzn.to/3drdNfK. I use it with a minc machine and an inkjet and laser printer.
HOW FOILING WORKS
Laser printers use printer toner to print with. In very simple terms toner is largely made of plastic meaning that when it is heated it will melt very slightly.
If you apply foil to the paper wile it is being heated and compressed by the minc or laminator the toner will melt slightly and the foil from the foil sheet will stick to the melted areas. This is what a minc or a laminator does – it melts the toner while compressing it slightly meaning that the toner melts and the foil adheres to the melted areas but not the other areas.
The advantage that a minc has over a standard laminator is that you can change the amount of heat you apply to your print. So for thicker paper you can apply more heat whereas you can apply less heat for thinner papers
A question I get asked a lot is how you get a background on gold foil prints. The answer is that you have to print using an inkjet printer. If you try printing a background with a laser and then foiling you will just end up having the background foiled too.
HOW TO MAKE A GOLD FOIL PRINT
STEP 1 – DESIGN THE ARTWORK
Firstly I design the print – the background and the foreground. I use Adobe photoshop for design and I place the foreground and background on separate layers so I could hide/show layers easily.
STEP 2 – PRINT THE BACKGROUND
I have a Canon Pixma Pro 100s and I use this to print the background and any areas that I don’t want to be foiled.
STEP 3 – PRINT THE AREAS TO BE FOILED
I use the manual tray because this allows slightly thicker paper. I have an OKI C301DN which I’ve been using for many years now. Sadly it has been discontinued. I do also have the Brother HL-2350 DW which I bought to replace my OKI but it doesn’t match up to the quality of the OKI sadly. My printer is a colour one. A lot of people say you should have a monochrome printer to print gold foil, prints but I find my Oki works beautifully.
STEP 4 – CUT THE FOIL TO SIZE AND FOIL
The next step is to cut the foil to size and place it on your print. Then I use a transfer folder with my minc.
Next I feed the print through my minc. I use a minc though many people DO use laminators. I believe the swordfish 40352 A3 Armoured 660 Laminator one is good (https://amzn.to/360bE6j) because it’s one that you can adjust the heat on – something you can’t do on a ‘normal’ laminator and typically most people find that they don’t heat up hot enough for foiling.
Once it’s through I leave it for a minute or two just to cool down before peeling off the foil.
Next I peel off the foil and check the results.
FOILING BEST PRACTISES
- Store foil in a clean folder – try and keep foil clean, scratch and dust free
- Clean transfer folders regularly as they can get dusty and dirty over time
- It is a good idea to wear a mask when foiling as it does emit some fumes
- Make sure that there is no hair or dust on areas to be foiled before foiling
- Use a whole piece of foil to foil an area – you cant line them up as the overlap will cause lines in the foiling
- Make sure your foil fully covers your image – there’s nothing more annoying than getting a perfect foil with one tiny corner missing!
- Only foil once – putting foiled print through the foiling machine again will ruin the look of the original foil – it will look gold but the shine will be gone.
- Print the areas you want foiled in black – don’t be tempted to use another colour as they don’t all foil in the same way. I’ve heard that red also works very well (if you have a colour printer).
THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A LASER PRINTER
- The most important thing to look for is check the thickness of the paper the printer will take as a lot of laser printers will only take thinner paper with a low weight. The thickest I’ve found a laser will take is 220 gsm which for me works however may not work for you if you want to foil 300gsm card. My printer definitely won’t take this thickness – I’ve tried!
- Some people say you should only foil with a mono printer i.e. just black toner. I have found that my colour OKI works much better than my mono Brother printer so a colour printer isn’t necessarily a deal breaker in my book.
Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed this short blog post about how to make a gold foil print. You may also find my other post useful about artwork specifications.
Let me know if there is a specific topic you would like me to cover in these blog posts!