Printing sequins?

I need to find a way of producing the effect of sequins sewn onto silk fabric, the shapes of the sequins and the pattern they make to be designed by me.
Not difficult, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I can see that the simplest method is to use the foils that are used for transfering metallic effects onto T-shirts and such like, but from what I can see, the weave of the fabric always shows through, as the foil is so thin.

Does anyone know of a thick foil that might retain the flat ‘mirror-like’ surface, preferably not a vinyl !

An alternative idea that I might explore is to press the whole sheet of foil, first onto a thin paper sheet, spray that with a heat setting adhesive (shellac ?), then laser cut, weed, then finally hot press.
If anyone has dome something like this, or has a workable idea that will steer me in a new direction, I’d be most grateful to hear.

I have considered inventing a sequin-gun, something like a modified glue gun, where the glue is squashed to form a firm base for the foil, or gold leaf, but with about 1000 sequins on the design, with 4 different sequin shapes, the time involved becomes uneconomic.

I’ve got about two months to solve the problem, but lots of other things to do in the meantime, so I need to push this onwards.


puff paint to hide the weave of the fabric?

Grafix makes a holographic mylar sheet that is laserable.


This is a job for a custom cutting die and some reflective Mylar. The die might cost a few bucks but imagine cutting all four patterns at once in less then a second every time you use it. Time is money!


Here’s something that I’ve posted before. It might be useful for your application. The material is thicker than fabric foils and it is self adhesive. I don’t know if your project will require washing, or if it is more of an art or decorative item. The foils are laserable and I kiss cut some on my Silhouette using the rhinestone setting for the pattern. It weeded beautifully. I also stuck a few scraps to a cotton T shirt and they seemed to hold well and did not show any fabric grain.

One issue could be that it only comes in 6" wide rolls. If you’d like to test a bit of this, PM me your address and I’ll send you a couple of small pieces in a #10 envelope.


Paul, I had wondered about a two stage process, something like screen print a base first, something like acrylic glue. Then if I were to just lay gold leaf onto that, under a hot press at light pressure, the glue would grab the leaf, and be flattened by the pressure to give me a mirror surface, rather than the weave.
Might be worth experimenting with in the future, but the sequins I’m trying to copy in this job have small details in the outline that would disappear in the ‘squashing’.
The puff paint is another material that I’ll have to investigate, but if I can avoid the two stage approach, I’d be happier.

smcgathyfay, thanks for the link. Bit overwhelmed by their website, but I’ll contact them with a specific request to see what they suggest.

jkopel. The four patterns are the shapes of the individual sequins that are used to make up the overall pattern.
I’ve just taken another look, and discovered that there are actually six - a pointed oval, a simple round, a ‘gear wheel’ with 12 teeth, one with six teeth, and a flower shape with six petals.
The oval is 1/4" long and the 12 toothed gear is 1/8" in diameter, and the rest are equally small.
Thanks for your suggestion, but because I didn’t give enough detail, I’ll just have to say that your idea will give me all the sequin shapes that I need, but leaves me without an included method of applying them equally speedily.

Bill, I think you have it. Although I’m currently in UK, and don’t get back to Mississippi til end of May, I’ll pm you with my Corinth address, and get SWMBO to forward the samples to me.
If you could post details here of the material, I’ll see if it’s also available here.

This is going to be a wedding present, a reproduction of an early 19th century fan leaf, and the wedding is in the middle of July, so getting my own laser before that date is in the lap of the gods (and the team).

So if I can sort out the technology, and methodology, over the next few weeks, and if I can find a laser cutter over here that can do the job, I may be in with a chance.

I’ve sourced the silk, and have extracted the original ‘all-over’ pattern that I need to print onto the silk, but the sequins will be the biggest challenge.

Thaks all, for your help so far.



I’ll send out some samples of Red, Green, and Gold today. If this is a one off project and you don’t think you’ll need a whole roll of it, you can PM me and I will sell you the amount that you need at the pro-rated price of the roll. I don’t have any other details on the material, other than what is in the last link in my posting.

Lastly, You can see that my Silhouette cutting machine did a good job cutting the material. If you’d like to avoid seeking out a laser to cut the material, I’d be glad to cut the file on my Silhouette and send the cut material out to you with the transfer paper that you need. Since these are not complex shapes, I could do this with either an SVG, or even a .jpg that I’d trace and clean up. For a fellow 'Forger, just the cost of the material.


Bill, that’s really kind of you.
I’ll have a go at extracting/recreating the design of each of the sequin shapes and post a pm to you if it’s possible tonight.

Sounds good. I should be able to work with just about any type of file.

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Bill, I’ve looked at the Johnson site, trying to understand the process of using the transfer paper, but no luck.
Could you spell out the steps I take going from the cut foil to getting it onto the substrate, silk in my case.

I have to bear in mind if the process will affect the way I’ve printed the background pattern on the silk. At the moment, an image transferred from a laser print onto the fabric is the simplest for me, but I may have to choose another method, if applying the foil afterwards interferes with it.
Have you taken onboard just how tiny these sequins are, relative to the cutter
blade on your machine ?

The circles and gears are both about 1/8" in diameter. The ovals are 1/8" by 1/4". The gears have 12 cogs. Your shape may be a little different, but I could easily replicate it and the other shapes you need. The metallic material is transferred to the silk by using a medium tack masking material. I don’t think that it would be sticky enough to remove the printed background on the silk, unless that is very easily damaged. I think you’d want to test that on a scrap of silk that you painted before using it on the final product. I’d be happy to cut the files if you decide this would work for you.

Here is my poor attempt at a video detailing the transfer to the silk.


Bill, what can I say. You have got it 100%. That is awesome.
The silk will be a single layer, probably still mounted on a temporary paper support.
My current workflow is, having mounted the silk(it’s about 16" x 8" ) on paper, it will then have a laser print heat transferred to it. This will then have ‘gold’ powder applied to the ink lines.
The sequin pattern will then be applied in wedge-shaped sections, probably 16 separate pieces to produced the design.
Your video has given me a great boost in confidence that it will get made. The fact that it is a cold, pressure transfer is the key.
Working on the pattern today, so that I can set it fit into the 6" wide strip comfortably, alternating the wedge shapes across the strip.


Any chance that we could see the finished project when you are done? It sounds most intriguing, and I love the collaboration!


I’d love to post in due course. Please keep your fingers crossed for me !

That’s it, the original, and it’s about 16" across.


Bill, I’ve just finished drawing up the file. I use CorelDraw 8, so I can save the file as a .cdr file or .dxf, or export it as a jpg. Not sure what that might do to it, though.
I’ve included a bounding box around it 6" x 10" for sizing purposes.Sequins.cdr (50.7 KB)

I think this is the first forum that have allowed me to upload a .cdr file :smiley:


You can also save it as an SVG. That’s my workflow now with the GF - Corel is my go to design package (mostly because I’m older than it is and they weren’t doing the Adobe rent-your-software over the cloud thing).

That would be useful, but not an option in my version 8.
AI or dxf are the only other extensions that might be useful. I have some vague memory of saving a cdr as dxf or ai, and then converting it to svg with another software program, possibly inkscape, but I’m not sure.
Memory’s fading !!!

Is it the old 8 or the newer X8? If it’s the old one you’re probably the last guy still using it :slightly_smiling_face: Now that 2017 has come out you should be able to get a copy of X8 - they did some nice improvements to trace and similar functions in that version. 2017 is a $200 upgrade and I’m not seeing anything I need there to force me to upgrade :slightly_smiling_face: I often wait 4 or more versions before I cave in and upgrade - a little cheap and get to avoid application bloat for as long as possible.

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Yes, I probably am the last.
But then I’m the last fanmaker in UK, so it seems appropriate .
I’m in a book which is titled “The last of the line”, which did give me pause for thought, but there you go.
EDIT I do have a copy of 12 running on a laptop at home in MS, but in UK at the moment, I only have access to 8 running on an old desktop in xp.


Eeeek! Need to do some succession planning!

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