Hot Foil Stamping

For those not familiar with the process, it was historically used to put text on the spines of books, when it was called gold tooling.
I have a small block stamper, and the foil is something like a mylar film, coated with an anodised layer of aluminium, and a heat/pressure sensitive adhesive layer.
Press the hot platten, carrying a flat relief design in metal, onto the foil laying on the object below, and the adhesive(shellac?) transfers the coating from the mylar to the object.
A good, cheap and reliable system for small areas.
However, I need to print metallic designs over a large area, typically 12" x 24".

Is it possible to either cut the foil, ie the mylar carrier, or ‘burn off’ the metallised layer, which was laid down by an evaporative process.



Googling around it seems like you can cut Mylar foils on a co2 laser at very low power. Does that answer your question? I wasn’t entirely sure what you were wanting.


Yeah, @smcgathyfay cuts a fair amount of mylar if I recall correctly.


Thanks both.
Not sure why I didn’t try the google route. It would have been quicker than trying to get the question unambiguous !
Still, it may give someone else a new idea.



laserbits sells laser foil

Is this similar to what you are referring to?


Do you just need the foil to stick to the design or do you need the embossed part of it too? Also, what are you printing on?

Because that foil sticks to toner - laser print a design (on the high quality setting), cover the design with foil, apply heat and pressure evenly over the whole thing, and the foil will just stick to the toner. But you don’t get any dimension, just flat foil application.


It gave me ideas, so I’m quite glad that you asked here :slight_smile:


Hi erin.
Part of the design is a 1/8" wide band running in an arc, 140 degrees, typically 10" radius, and the other part will be baroque style decoration inwards from each end of the arc.
I only need the flat ‘gold’ decoration, and it might be printed on paper/polyester fabric/wood.
I’m a fanmaker, hence the odd questions I have :wink:


Looks similar, but also a heck more expensive @ ~$1/foot !
Mind you, it’s years since I bought any.
hot foil stamping @10c/foot seems to be current price.
Several different types of foil, some for use with toner, some hot foil, another ‘letterpress ink foil’ but not sure what that is.

You can get the kind of foil (Mylar-based) that is used for garment decoration for really good prices at Stahl’s. A 12" x 25 foot roll is only $7. All you need is some way to make the part you want foiled sticky. There are iron-on double sided sticky materials (Stahl’s sells one) that you can cut with your laser (I think) or a vinyl cutter, then iron it on to the material and use the foil as instructions direct. This might be the cheapest way to get your item foiled. Comes in a nice array of colors, too.


Hi cynd11,
That was the approach I was planning to use with my new 16x20 heat press, before the GF appeared on the scene !
Now, my mind is filled with possibilities of alternative routes and completely new approaches to old problems.


With this method, the advantage the GF would give you over a vinyl cutter is that when cutting the adhesive you wouldn’t have to weed. Assuming the adhesive material is laser cuttable.

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Erin…I did a search but couldn’t find…was it you that said you were just ‘foiling’ everything in sight lately for things for people for Christmas? That got me started looking and now I’m doing it too! I was intrigued by what you said (if it was you) and bought a bunch of stuff to do that with. Bought a really inexpensive laser printer (black only) and something to run the print through…and of course, some transfer foils. I LOVE this! Thanks for the tip!


It was me! Sorry to make you spend money. Lol. I haven’t had time to play around with it much, but I’m planning to do some stuff as Christmas gifts in the next couple of weeks.

If you’re up to sharing, I’d love to see the projects you make!


Unfortunately, I love spending money. I’m still in the learning/experimental stage. Working on some images in Affinity Designer that I can print out with the laser printer…BUT, I want to experiment with doing different layers so I can put different colors of foil on one image. Clear as mud? What kinds of things are you making?

Oh! You can do multiple colored designs by breaking up the print into the different ‘layers’. So, let’s say you want to do flowers that will be blue, red, and yellow. You first print the blue flowers and foil them, then run the picture back through the printer to print the red flowers and foils them. That’s not a very good explanation :slight_smile: hopefully it makes sense. You can reheat the already stuck foil without any issue. And the printer should line up the picture fairly well. The other thing you can do is negative space stuff. So, print a flower on a page and foil it. Keep the negative space of the foil - the part you peel off. Then print a black page -just solid toner. Foil that with the negative image (the leftover bit) and you’ll end up with a black toner flower with a colored foil background. Which you can then run through with foil and it will only stick to the flower area.

I haven’t tried or seen anyone try printing with toner on top of the foil to do actual layers. I would expect it to smear, depending in the printer your have, but maybe it would work?

I’m working on maps and sciency diagrams! Like old anatomy illustrations and bugs and flowers and stuff. Sort of random, but that’s the kind of things my sister in law and sister will like. I think. I hope. Lol.


Don’t know why I didn’t see this response earlier. What you described with layers is exactly what I did and it came out just fine, but on one of them, the lines in the drawing didn’t line up right, so it was the design that failed, not the process. I’ve mostly been combining practice using the bezier pen tool in conjunction with foiling the trace. I just did this one yesterday with rose gold. I want to do this one again with blue for Mary’s robe. I like the idea of using old illustrations or Audubon-type drawings…they usually have amazing detail in them. Unless you need layers, printing them out just as originals would be just great. One of my projects will actually need to have toner printed on top of the already existing foil, so I hope it works. I’ll let you know.


Whoa! That is beautiful! Really lovely.

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This really is gorgeous…I’m going to come back to this thread later once the Glowies arrive, 'cause I haven’t had a chance to read it closely enough yet…


This image is great! Can you tell me what foil you are using, and the steps you took to make your finished product? I am having a hard time deciphering the information in this thread.