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What is Foil Stamping?

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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Foil stamping uses heat and metallic film in a specialty printing process that produces a shiny design on paper, vinyl, textiles, wood, hard plastic, leather, and other materials. Foil stamping, also called hot stamping, dry stamping, foil imprinting, or leaf stamping, can be combined with dimensional embossing to make letters and images on business cards, book covers, gift cards, office folders, and a whole host of professional or personal items.

Instead of using magnetism, plates, or inks to print words and shapes, foil stamping uses dies, or sculpted metal stamps. The heated dies seal a thin later of metallic leaf onto a surface. The foil comes in a wide roll, large enough for several passes, backed by Mylar. The hot die works similarly to a letterpress. Once heated, it presses the foil against the substrate material with enough pressure that the foil sticks only in the intended places, leaving a slight imprint.

Using several layers of foil in different colors or combining ink and foil can embellish this simple "flat" stamp. Imprinting and embossing adds even more dimensionality. The edges of the foil stamp may be straight, curved, or sculpted to make the image pop or float above the page.

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Foil leaf is available in every imaginable color and pattern, like standard gold or marbleized green. Rarer types of leaf come in matte, pearlescent, holographic, opalescent, or glossy finish. Semi-transparent layers allow an under color to show through. Not only does it provide a uniquely vibrant image with depth, foil stamping can be applied to a much more diverse selection of substrates in comparison to ink.

The cover of a leather photograph album could be printed with your family's monogram, or a cloth bookmark with a favorite literary quote. Impressive wedding invitations might have intertwining silver vines, blue flowers, and gold rings. Businesses use foil stamping to identify folders, cards, signs, and magnets with their logo. The reflective and unusual treatment is sure to catch the eye of a potential customer.

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anon228997
Post 9

Are any foil stamping processes also reliably conductive? Is it possible to connect wires to them and use them as you would a conductor, say in a circuit?

anon165788
Post 8

Please be so kind and inform me about the raw materials which are used in hot stamp foils. How many layers does it have?

akon
Post 4

desertdunes you don't have to worry about the ruin. As long as the temp, the pressure, the speed is proper, it won't be ruined. Besides, the foil to be stamped is also important.

Actually, i am the one who is in this line of business from China.

desertdunes
Post 2

Won't the heated stamp ruin the embossing? How are they heated or do you buy individual stamps that fit into one of those craft woodburner tools?

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