Design insights & tutorials.

Foil Stamping: A Finishing Favorite

Foil stamped cd wallet

Foil stamping is always a fan favorite, due to the elegance and high visual impact that it can provide. Foil stamping (also called hot stamping, dry stamping, foil imprinting, or leaf stamping) can be used to add flair to products like business cards, book covers, gift cards, office folders, and a whole host of professional or personal items. Instead of using plates or inks to print words and shapes, foil stamping uses dies, or sculpted metal stamps.

Foil die

Foil Stamping: How it’s done

The heated dies seal a thin layer of metallic leaf/foil onto a surface. The foil comes in a wide roll, large enough for several passes, backed by mylar. The hot die works similarly to a letterpress. Once it’s heated, the die presses the foil against the substrate material with enough pressure that the foil sticks only in the intended places, leaving a slight imprint.

Gold foil stamping

Foil leaf is available in every imaginable color and pattern. Rarer types of leaf come in matte, pearlescent, holographic, opalescent, or glossy finish. There are also semi-transparent foils that allow an under color to show through. Not only does it provide a uniquely vibrant image with depth, but foil stamping can be applied to a much more diverse selection of substrates when compared to ink. Businesses typically use foil stamping to identify folders, cards, signs, and magnets with their logo. The reflective and unusual treatment is sure to catch the eye of your potential customer!

About the Author, Nick DeTomaso / Jakprints Inc.

I've spent nearly a decade managing the sales and operations for Jakprints’ has experienced triple digit percentages in growth & expansion, has received Printing Excellence awards from the PIA (Printing Industry Association), and is a two-time recipient of the highly regarded Weather 100, which showcases the fastest and consistently growing companies in the northern Ohio region.
Discover More by Nick DeTomaso / Jakprints Inc.


We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • Adam_Wagner

    Hey Nick! It's nice to know how you pros do foil stamping over at Jakprints.

    How should a designer prepare a file for printing with foil stamping? Just a call out? Any printing problems to be aware of when designing for foil?

  • Unik Ink Specialty Printing

    Here is a link to pics and a video of how we foil print t-shirts. We posted it in the GoMedia forum.

  • Design Informer

    That's awesome. Is that expensive to do? What companies can you recommend that offer this service?

  • eloy ibarra

    thanks nick, very interesting, saludos

  • whacko

    There is a similar method of printing foil that doesn't involve direct heat. Glue is printed out on a design like a spot color, and a metalic foil is then rolled onto the substrate and then a pressure is applied. The foil sticks where the glue has been applied.

    If you use this application process in tandem with a standard 4 color printing process you can then print colors directly over the foil (which is usually silver to start with) in order to tint the foil practically any printable color.

    The only downside with this technique over the heat stamp method is that if you print darker colors on top of the silver foil, the foil looses some of its luster as the ink density absorbs some of the light that would otherwise be reflected. Of course the trade off for this is the wider range of colors as you are not limited solely to what your foil supplier can stock in terms of foil colors.

  • Dan

    Excellent job..
    dizi izle

  • Shefalisawant


    i would like to know more about micro embossing designers

  • panax

    Very cool and interesting article