In case you hadn’t noticed, the team here at RPS (myself included) is completely obsessed with…FOIL!
Whether it’s on notebook covers or letterpressed cards, paired with floral patterns, solids, stripes, or polka dots, we simply can’t get enough of foil stamped awesomeness. So when we saw an online tutorial for DIY foil stamping at home, we had to give it a try! A tip of the hat to John Jensen, the awesome designer and author of the post that we found via Pinterest. (Speaking of which, if you don’t follow us on Pinterest yet, do it already, won't ya?)
[caption id="attachment_279" align="alignnone" width="720"] This is the step by step foil process. Now, let's get into the details![/caption]First things first – the artwork.
Start with a design you want to add foil to. The catch? You need to print your designs in pure black ink on a laser printer. Trust me, I tried both inkjet and laser, and the magic is in the toner that comes with printing via laser printer.
Now you’ll need the select the rest of your materials.
A laminator is key; you’ll need the heat and pressure to get the foil to transfer. The good news? There’s some small laminators available at office supply stores that won’t totally break the bank. I purchased mine (GBC Heatseal 220) at Office Max for around $100, but word on the street is that there’s definitely cheaper ones out there. There were also comments on John’s post that suggested using an iron for small projects. I can’t even iron a shirt, let alone a craft project, so that sounds terrifying to me – but for those who want to be a bit more adventurous with your home foil stamping, I say go for it…live on the edge, YOLO, life is nothing if not a grand adventure, and so on and so forth.
[caption id="attachment_278" align="alignnone" width="720"] The materials needed for your DIY foil project![/caption]Anyways...back to the foil. There are special foil sheets in almost every color imaginable (plus my personal favorites, gold and silver) available from a company called PulsarProFX. You can purchase 15’ (yes, that’s right, 15 FEET of foil!) packs individually by color for $9 each – but since I have an intense case of what I hear the kids these days are referring to as "FOMO" (fear of missing out), I went for the sampler pack with 19 different kinds of foil, so I could have my own personal rainbow to choose from.
[caption id="attachment_280" align="alignnone" width="720"] Pretty, pretty foil[/caption]You’ll also need mylar carrier boards, which are available from the same company. This will hold and stabilize your design/foil combo as they’re going through the laminator, without melting or catching on fire – always a plus in my book.
It says that for humid climates, a heat gun is recommended to dry the paper. I chose to skip this step. Now who’s living on the edge?
So you’ve got your materials? Here’s how it’s done.
[caption id="attachment_277" align="alignnone" width="720"] The before.[/caption]Place your printed design (in my case, yet to be folded/scored cards) on the carrier board with the ink side up, and then place the foil (dull side against the ink, shiny side up) over your design. Fold (at least one) edge over the carrier so you can get a firm grip on the thing, and so the foil doesn’t shift while it’s in the laminator. Turn the thing on, let it heat up (mine has a timer much like an oven to let you know when it’s ready to rock) and feed your piece in, foil, design, carrying board and all. Smooth the foil as it is being fed through, and if all goes well, once it comes out on the other side, you should be able to peel back the foil and reveal a shiny stamped masterpiece!
Feel free to leave any questions about the process in the comments section – we’re definitely not pros, but can share what did (and didn’t) work for us in our attempts at in-home foil mastery. Also be sure to check out the original post “You’ve Been Foiled,” which was our guide and inspiration!
Update:Before trying at home, make sure you read this post carefully - DIY foil stamping, at least the method we used, requires a laminator, mylar carrying boards, an ink jet printer, pure black ink, and TRF - toner reactive foil. If any one of these elements insmissing, the desired effect won't work. There are other methods out there, including this 2013 post from How About Orange, that can be found by Google-ing "DIY foil stamping." Happy foiling!