What is Foil Stamping?

Foil stamping is the application of metallic print and foil on materials such as plastics, paper, and cards, using heat and pressure.

It can be used to create a variety of textures such as metallic, matte, glossy, and holographic textures on the medium.

This printing process of stamping is different from pad printing or silk screening, and is ideal for printed products with dark coloured surfaces as it does not involve the use of any ink and is thus not affected by the colour or texture of the medium.

This printing process foil stamping has been around since 19th centures and has been used for creating products like holiday card, baby announcement, scratchoff foil, wedding invitation ideas, save the date cards, business cards, presentation folders, book cover, etc.

How Does Hot Foil Stamping Work?

Foil stamping is a specialized printing process that involves the use of heat, pressure and metal foils to create shining metal like designs, texts, and graphics in a wide range of colors and textures.

It is also called hot stamping or hot foil stamping since the process is largely dependent on the heat for transferring the images from the hot stamp on a chosen surface.

“Dry stamping” or “dry foil stamping” is another name given to foil stamping. This is because the technique does not involve the use of any kind of liquid ink for the purpose of printing. Instead, dies and carved metallic plates are used for the stamping process.

Foil Stamping involves the use of a specialised multi-layered foil. Typically, the different types of layers in the foil are:

A polyester carrier layer,
A release layer,
Lacquer layers,
Image layers,
Metal layers (gold leaf or gold silver leaf or foil color), and
An outer adhesive layer

During hot foiling, heat and pressure are applied to the foil, which is pressed against the medium supported by a plate or cylinder.

The adhesive layer in the gold foil or silver foil is activated by this heat and pressure, and the release layer melts, attaching the machine hot foil to the medium.
The machine used for this hot foiling process is called a hot foil stamper /hot foil stamping machine. It could either be an independent, stand-alone machine or be connected to a printer or other such equipment.

The dies used in the hot foil stamper are usually made of brass that is etched or engraved manually or through other systems.

What are the Applications of Foil Stamping?

Hot foiling, or hot stamping, is used for the decoration of a wide range of products. It is also used as an anti-counterfeiting method.

It is widely used in the finishing of packaging products such as food, medicine, beverages, as well as high-end luxury products. Foil stamping is also used on currency notes, and artwork, as well as for designing greeting cards, wedding invitations, book covers, paper stock, etc.

From simple business cards to brochures, invitation cards, or regular business stationery (reports, envelopes, cards, etc), foil stamping techniques are widely used and appreciated.

Additionally, foil stamping finds its utility in the packaging sector. From stickers, labels, or scratch and win tags, foil stamping is a quick and easy way to add a luxurious factor and an eye-catching effect.