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How Is Foil Printing Done?

Foil printing can be an incredibly useful procedure when you want to create a printed item that has that extra special look – something which is stunning and shiny, and which adds a little sophistication to the finished product. If you are thinking about making use of foil printing, you will first need to know what exactly it is, what the process looks like, and how it is all done. Let’s take a look.

What Is Foil Printing?

Otherwise known as foil stamping, foil printing is when you apply colored foils to a surface. The result is often classy and elegant, and for that reason, it is a favored option among marketers of all kinds in many industries. Foil printing achieves its effects through a combination of heat and pressure, thus sticking the foil to a printed substrate. The results can very often be beautiful and stand out.

How Does It Work?

Let’s look now a little more closely at the foil printing process itself. Foil printing is done using a thin layer of foil, a copper foiling die, and the surface it is being printed on. The die is cut into the shape of whatever design has been chosen. This die is then heated before being pressed into the foil, and then onto the surface for printing. Because of the unique combination of pressure and heat, the foil is permanently bound to the surface. Foiling is often used in conjunction with embossing for extra added visual effects.

Various Methods

That is the basic procedure, but there are actually a few major kinds of foil printing. In fact, there are three that you are likely to come across at one time or another.


In traditional foil printing, the procedure is more or less as detailed above, with the heated die in the shape of the design being pressed onto the surface to produce the desired results. This might require several runs of the press foiling machine, to ensure that the final design is as it should be. Through the use of specialized dies, different effects can also be produced at the same time.


In digital foil printing, you achieve the same kind of visual effect as the traditional type. But rather than using the traditional stamping die method, the image is pressed onto the foil using a digital printing technique. This eliminates the need for multiple dies to achieve different effects.


In cold foil printing, you have a fast and cost-effective alternative to the above two methods. Cold foil is applied using a standard printing technique to an adhesive image. This creates an image that is then finished with printing inks. This can often result in a press-perfect result, so it’s a popular option for many printers today.
That is the basic process of how foil printing is done. If you think you might benefit from having some foil printing carried out, be sure to consider asking for this next time you have something drawn up.