What is Foil Stamping?

Musings of a Printer
Andrew Myers
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You'll notice foil stamping on our website as a capability we offer but some people may to be quite sure what that actually is so in this blog post we will do our best to try and explain it!

We actually do quite a bit of foil stamping and it's become a popular print method for lots of different applications. We see it often with wedding invitations and business cards but that doesn't mean that it's limited to just that.


Foil in regards to printing is typically a metallic finish applied to the substrate. Common shades of foil are silver and gold and even those come in a number of colors and finishes, such as shiny and dull.

Foil Stamped Business Card


Here's a quick overview of the process and how our shop, Public, does foil stamping. Foil stamping is a printing process that involves heat, a lot of pressure, an adhesive and a metal stamping die with the artwork on it. What happen is you heat the metal foil stamping die to about 250 degrees and the foil drapes down in the front of the die. When the press closes pressure causes the metal die to cut into the foil and the heat adheres the foil to the substrate.  


We see a lot of foil on wedding invitations sets. It's a really nice way to add a special treatment on an invite. Inks, by nature, are dull and when you pair that with a shiny or glossy foil print it really helps the artwork and design stand out. Our favorite is when we see letterpress printing combined with foil stamping. Maybe the details on the invite are in letterpress, but the names of the couple stand out with a foil finish.

We also see foil used often for darker paper stocks and substrates because foil is very opaque. So if a customer really wants to use a dark navy paper, we resort to a foil stamp because we know it'll show up. We can even use white foil in gloss and matte pigments so it can still have that "letterpress ink" type treatment to it. It doesn't always have to be a super shiny finish. Some people like their work to be more subtle, and for those jobs we will use a dull or matte pigment foil.

Foil stamping can get really interesting too. We can use holographic foils, foils with patterns in them and clear foils to achieve some really interesting effects.

Foil Stamped Customer Stationery


It's right in line with what we charge for letterpress, the only difference is the cost of the metal foil stamping die itself is a little more expensive so you'll end up paying a little more for the materials. The good news is, the dies are metal and will last for a long time. So if it's something you'll order again, for example a business card, you won't pay for the foil stamping metal dies again.

Want to learn more about our capabilities? Head on over to our about page - About

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