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The beginners guide to Hot Foil Stamping

By April 12, 2023News

If you’re keen to make designs distinctive, to add a little luxury or make something much more eye-catching then hot foil stamping is the ideal way to do it. This simple process will upgrade any aesthetic and help you to highlight your message in a really impactful way. It can also be used to convey quality and credibility, which can be vital to how your brand is perceived. So, what do you need to know about hot foil stamping? Here’s our beginner’s guide.

Hot foil stamping is a very traditional process

In fact, we have been using this technique for hundreds of years. One of the very first manuscripts ever produced used real gold leaf for decoration. With the arrival of the printing press in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries we began to see books getting the hot foil stamping treatment, again with real gold leaf. Today, metallic foil is a much more cost-effective alternative but one that will still have an instant and long-lasting effect.

How does hot foil stamping work?

It can either be a manual process or one that is completed by a pneumatic machine. Metal dies are used in both techniques – these are metal plates that have been etched with the chosen design that you’re looking to reproduce. Once the die has been heated up it’s placed against a sheet of metal foil that has been laid on top of the material you’re creating the foil-stamped design on. When the die is applied with pressure the foil bonds to the surface of the material, replicating the chosen design in metallic foil. Dies can be made from different materials. Magnesium tends to be the cheapest and the softest (which makes it ideal for smaller jobs) while copper or brass dies are more long-lasting.

There are many types of foil available

One of the major advantages of modern hot foiling is the many ways that exist to make this process distinctive. For example, there are lots of different foils to choose from, including a broad spectrum of coloured foils and the original metallic shades of copper, gold and silver. Pigment foils are another option – they aren’t shiny but are available in different matte or gloss colours. You could also choose extra shiny pearlescent foils or holographic foils that will reflect back a variety of colours.

When can you use hot foil stamping?

It’s an incredibly versatile technique so the short answer is: whenever you like. Here are some of the most common uses for hot foil stamping:

  • Invitations, for example to a birthday party or a wedding.
  • Stationery where you’re looking to convey quality, such as business letterhead or business cards.
  • Packaging, including labels, stickers and boxes.
  • Promotional materials of any type, from brochures to booklets and catalogues.

Wherever you use hot foil stamping you are creating an aspirational design that will make people stop and look at what is on offer. It’s a great tool for crafting distinctive branding from printed products.