What is Hot Foil Stamping and how is it done?

If you want to add a touch of luxury to your designs, you need to know a bit about foiling. There’s something unique about foil that spells glamour… it's just impossible to not be impressed by the luxury and sparkle of foiling!

Hot foil stamping is a process whereby metallic foil is applied to the surface of the stock using a combination of heat and pressure. The result? A truly stunning effect that pulls out details of the design in a metallic or coloured sheen. 

A little bit of history for you: The development of modern hot foil stamping took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the 1930s, an English foil manufacturer introduced atomized gold on thin sheets of polyester film. Hot foil stamping (using these rolls of gold foil) increased in popularity in the 1950s through the late 1960s.


So, how do we do it?

The artwork to be foiled is translated into a negative, which is used to etch the design onto a metal block. (We like to use magnesium as it's cost effective and we recycle them - but they can also be made from brass or copper).

The block is locked into position on the machine, heated up, and the foil is placed between the die and the surface of the stock to be stamped. When the die is applied to the surface, the foil bonds to the stock, producing the metallic effect. Depending on the amount of pressure, you may notice a slight impression where the foil meets the stock – though nowhere near as much as you’d see in letterpress as too much pressure or 'impression' causes the foil to 'bleed'.

Even though foiling is an added expense to a standard print job, due to the extra hours and resources that go into the process, it's still relatively economical for producing an impressive effect that will take your design to the next level.

Be sure to check out our Artwork Guidelines for important details to consider when creating your design for hot foil stamping.


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