How to Foil your Lettering/Designs

Happy Fall, y'all!

It's been a bit since I've posted and today I have a highly anticipated (by my Instagram followers anyway!) video to share: How to Foil your Lettering and Designs...at home! 

Gold foil is all the rage.  and it should be.  But don't forget about the other gorgeous colors available too! Silver, bronze, teal, pink, blue, mint green....there are more but these are just the ones that I have hoarded :)

Heidi Swapp Minc Foil - 10' roll

Heidi Swapp Minc Foil - 10' roll

What Materials Do I Need To Make This Magic Happen, Molly?

Well, I will tell you, young grasshoppers.

For both of the methods shown in the video, you will need a heating mechanism to transfer the foil to the design surface.  In my tutorial, I'll be using a laminator that I purchased from Amazon.  $30 price point there.   The  Heidi Swapp Minc Foiling Applicator is really popular and as more heat settings to work with  but it's more expensive (I think I misspoke in the video an said $200 but the link below to Amazon shows a $150 price for the machine and starter pack.)  I've had great success for the laminator and totally recommend it but I'm sure the Minc is fantastic and if it's in your budget, go for it!

Foil Technique #1 - Heat Embossing

Materials Used:

In the video tutorial below, you'll see me hand-letter a phrase with the Emboss It Pens and also include an ampersand stamp that I demonstrate the use of the Versamark Ink pad. 

Once the embossing powder has been set with a heat gun (also magical to watch), I placed a piece of cut foil (only has large as the design to conserve foil!) on top of the design with the foil color side UP.  Then I used a piece of computer printer paper folded in half as a makeshift "transfer folder" just to make sure the foil stays in place over the design.  I placed both the design paper and the foil on top into the folded "envelope."

My laminator has 2 heat settings and I always choose the highest setting.  I then fed the 3 sheets through - the design sheet, the foil on top of that and the printer paper envelope encasing both of them.

I would recommend sending embossed designs through twice just to make sure you're getting an evenly heated surface and as much heat as possible to ensure the transfer of the foil to the page.   Take your design after it's passed through, peel off the foil and just love your life because it's so pretty to watch :)

Note: I mention this in the video - I think that the embossing technique is a bit inferior to the next method - using a Laser Printer.  As you can see in the photo above, I had some issues with the foil adhering to all parts of the lettering.  I'm sure I could be more careful to make sure that the Emboss It Pen was applied to the surface in a thicker manner but just be warned that this has happened to my embossed foiling creation. I wouldn't be discouraged though!  Try different tactics to fix the problem (more pressure on the pen, a higher heat setting if you have a Minc, maybe not using the printer paper on top etc....) first before cursing my name for showing this method. ha!

Foil Technique #2 - Digitized Design printed on a LASER printer

Materials Used:

  • Lettered Design, scanned in and digitized 
  • Laser Printer - either at home or use a local printing source (Fed Ex, UPS Print etc.)
  • Laminator (listed above)

The second method I demonstrate in the video is my favorite and has been pretty foolproof and perfect every time I've tried.   The most important thing about this method is that you remember that your design MUST be printed from a laser printer and NOT an Inkjet.  Laser printers use a toner cartridge and this is the material that, when sent through the laminator, will heat up and cause the foil to adhere and transfer to your design.  (As you can imagine, a printer is going to create a very even and smooth surface area for your design rather than the opportunity for imperfections when using the more hands-on way of the Embossing Technique.)

Fun Fact: A common misconception that I've found is that people think of the toner as being a "wet" surface that you have to speedily put your foil on top and then run it through your laminator right away.  

This isn't the case! The toner will still activate days, weeks, even months,  down the road.  I show this example in the video of a print that was sitting on my shelf for 2-3 months. I fed it through the laminator with the foil on top (color side up, same as the Embossing method) and it still turned out fantastic! (There is foil on that lower left side - the lighting is just catching the right side of the print more.)

My Thank You Card Project!

The last part of the video steps through some background discussion of a lettering piece I completed a few hours before filming.  

My daughter's 2nd birthday was in September so I wanted to create a stack of Thank You Cards to send out to our family and friends who sent her (tons) of gifts!

The photo above shows the hand-lettering sketches (pen used: Pentel Fude Sign Pen) of the Thank You sentiment I was working towards for the card.   I also used the Hero Arts Stamp set on the right with VersaFine Pigment Ink to stamp down some of the graphical images shown.  I wasn't sure how I would lay them out at the time but I stamped them just in case I could incorporate them.  

After scanning in this sheet and bringing it into Photoshop, I chose the "Thank You" that I liked the most, the stamp graphics I wanted to use and then worked on the clean up and placement of the layout.  I landed here:

This was set up to be a 5"x5" square card so that the line extensions from the "T" and the "U" extend to the edge of the card.  

After finalizing the digitized file, I printed it off on letter size Neenah Solar White 100lb cardstock from the at-home laser printer.  I trimmed the cards down to 5" x 10" long so that I could score them at the 5" / halfway point and create a top-folding card.

I ran these through the laminator with different color foil to create a set of cards that I can send out (and only be a month late!!! - so good for me :) )

FullSizeRender 11.jpg

I hope this blog post and video is helpful and please leave me some feedback or questions either on this post, in the comments on YouTube or on Instagram! 

Have a great week everyone!

-Molly