If you want to add a touch of sophistication and elegance to your printing, then think Foil Stamping. Commonly used on invitations, letterhead and business cards, this process highlights elements in the design for a truly special effect

Foil Products

What is Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is a print process where a heated stamping die presses and applies a ribbon of foil onto the surface of the paper. The foil, usually metallic, has a beautiful shimmering effect that grabs attention and makes your printed piece stand out from the crowd.

In the early days of books and manuscripts, craftsmen embellished these by brushing thin layers of gold into the intricate design. These early technique for illuminated manuscripts gave way to foil stamping machines in the 18th and 19th centuries, where leather bound books are pressure stamped with gold leaf.

A lot has changed from these early days. Foil stamping improved on the traditional method of heated die + pressure + foil by automating the equipment. Recent development also saw the introduction of digital foil stamping. Digital foil stamping looks like the traditional foil stamping but instead of using a heated die, the image to be foiled is printed digitally and a special foil is then applied by pressure and adheres to that image.

Captain Printworks offer both traditional and digital foil stamping.

Digital Foil Stamping

Black Foil

Digital Foil Stamping is the most recent development in this process. The image to be foiled is digitally printed so that this type of foil stamping is best used when all of the printing on the sheet is to be foiled. We can have other elements on the sheet not foiled by first offset printing these elements then finally going through with the digital foiling.

Digital foil stamping is most beneficial for short runs and for variable prints. As an example – you can have a foil stamped 25 guest invitation for a fraction of the price of traditional foil stamping. Highlighting individual guests name on the invitation adds that touch of class and luxury that is only possible digitally.

Traditional Foil Stamping

Embossed Combo Foil - Die - 01

The traditional method for foil stamping uses a heated die + pressure + foil. Letterpress machines with a heating attachment is commonly used in this process. The die is heated to the desired temperature, the foil is then pressed onto the material to be stamped; the combination of pressure and heat bonds the foil to the surface of the paper creating a shimmering effect. With traditional foil stamping we can vary the pressure on the stamping to the point of debossing the foiled image on the material creating a tactile dimension to your printed piece.

Foiling Process

The die is an essential element to traditional foil stamping. Different materials and options are used depending on quality and number of impressions:

Magnesium Foil - Die

Magnesium

The cheapest of the options. This is a soft metal best suited for short runs, but could perform well over twenty thousand impressions depending on details in the stamped image. It can produce high details but will not hold fine lines thinner than 0.5 points. We suggest using this type of die for short run wedding invitations, custom Holiday cards, business stationeries and any printing that you would like to stand out.

Copper Foil - Die

Copper

This is a better but slightly more expensive option. It is harder than magnesium and can be used for longer runs in the hundreds of thousands. Since it is harder than magnesium, copper is used for finer detail and thinner lines. These dies are good for longer run invitations and holiday cards, business card shells, packaging and other promotional materials.

Embossed Combo Foil - Die - 02

Brass

The most expensive option. This can be used and reused for long runs in the hundreds of thousands and can hold really fine lines and intricate design without deformity. Combo dies that can emboss and foil simultaneously are made from brass.  Combos are used when registering foil and embossing are difficult. Combo dies are expensive to produce but will be cost effective in lengthy runs. We suggest using brass dies for die-cut boxes, wine and alcohol labels and stickers. Wine bottles that are embellished with embossed foil looks and feels classy and luxurious.

Most of the dies are produced by etching out the background of the image to be foiled by using an acid bath. These dies can be stored and reused for future runs, or you can request to have it as a keepsake. Brass combo dies are created by Computer Numerically Controlled (CMC) machines. The image is sculpted using the digital image to create a relief.

Foil Styles

Foils come in a variety of colours, finishes and texture. It also comes with different type of bonding adhesives and releases. The foil that is used is part of the design process adding an extra dimension to your printed material. Here are some foil choices:

Metallic Foil - Detail

Metallic Foils

Most commonly used in the printing and packaging industry. These foils come in shiny gloss or matte finishes and can be applied to a wide range of paper, vinyl, acrylic and leather. Advances in foil and bonding technology makes these foils ideal for fine details. We recommend shiny gloss metallic foils for light coloured background. Dark backgrounds tend to make this highly reflective foil unreadable at certain angles – for this we recommend the matte finish.

Black-White-Blue Foil

Pigment Foils

Do not have the reflective look of the metallic foils. These foils are available in a vast range of colours in both matte and gloss finishes. These foils give a subtle contrast if used on similar paper colour – using a gloss black foil on a black velvet stock creates a subtle yet luxurious look and feel to your printed piece. Putting more pressure will create a debossed vintage letterpress finish.

Pearl-Silver Embossed Foil

Pearl Foils

Come in pastel colours in matte or gloss finish. Pearl foils are translucent and partially reveals the ink layer or the colour of the stock creating a multi dimensional look. Using this foil using a sculpted multi-level emboss die will enhance the effect with a dreamy, soft look.

Holographic Patterns Foil - 02

Holographic Foils

Come in a variety of spectacular patterns. These are designed to reflect light in different colours and angles to produce a wide spectrum of rainbow colours.

Clear Foil - Embossed

Clear Foils

come in matte or gloss finishes. Since these foils are fully transparent, these foils are used commonly as an alternative to spot UV to highlight an image on the printed product. When foil colours are not available on the Pantone Matching Colour System, clear foils will come to the rescue. We register and overprint with clear foil on the desired text or image to simulate the unavailable colour.

Gold Scratch-off Foil

Scratch-off Foil

As the term implies is like the Scratch-and-Reveal Teflon coating on a lottery ticket. These foils come in gold or silver or artlined silver options. The scratch off foil can be scratched off to reveal a winning number, a secret code, or a special message. We recommend to use this foil on coated or laminated stock for the best results.

We have numerous other options, even custom foils. Combining these foils will add beauty and glam plus security to your printed material.

Captain Printworks and Foil Stamping

Foil stamping produces the unique special luster that will add that touch of luxury, sophistication and elegance to your printed material. It is effective in grabbing the attention to your product.

Foil stamping can be used to enhance any printing project. We have foil stamped thousands of wedding stationery, Holiday cards and other invites. Your business will seem first-rate and high end by adding foil to your business cards, letterhead, envelopes and brochures, booklets and catalogs. Look at packaging these days and high end luxury products are foil stamped; expensive wines have foil stamped labels.

Our Works

Captain Printworks uses both the traditional foil stamping and digital foil stamping. It is one of our most popular finishing services and our clientele range from novice to designers from event planners to brides, single user to big corporations. We have presented some of our foil stamping pictures on our website to inspire you for your next great foil stamping project.