By Laura | 03rd September 2019

What is custom foil printing?

We’ve been offering custom foil printing for a while now, so we thought it might be time to explain a little bit about the process. So whether you’re interested in ordering a foil print, or enjoy learning about neat printing methods, we have something for you here!

How did foil printing begin?

You may be surprised to know that foil printing has been around almost as long as paper. Some of the earliest written manuscripts featured ornate print work in real gold leaf, which would have been applied painstakingly by hand – obviously not a job for the easily distracted! In later years, the advent of the printing press meant books became more readily available, and expensive ones were made to stand out with gold foil printed covers.

Foil printing today

The fundamental foil printing process hasn’t changed much over the years and involves special dyes being added to the foil, heated together and pressed onto the paper. The dye makes the foil stick permanently to the paper, and your foil print is done!

These days it’s not necessary to foil print by hand, although that’s still the preferred method for small batches. The presses used are either manually-driven or pneumatic (air) powered commercial machines that come in three general types:

  • Clamshell presses – great for medium-sized runs, these presses are named because they close like a clam and press everything together
  • Straight stamp presses – these are large industrial-sized for commercial print runs
  • Roll presses – also perfect for large commercial job

It’s also uncommon for foil printing to be performed with real gold leaf anymore... apart from on costly items!

Instead, most foil printing uses tin or aluminium foils, which can be combined with layers of colour to give a range of beautiful effects. We offer five colours (black, gold, silver, rose gold and copper) in our custom foil printing range.

Modern foil printing is capable of creating stunning pieces of artwork for all occasions, and there’s almost no limit to how intricate or delicate it can be. This is why you see foil printing on invitations for weddings or anywhere a touch of class is required.

Our custom foil printing capabilities means you can grab a great gift for any occasions (even just as a treat for yourself), and come in a choice of beautiful frames and papers. This includes custom foil printing for when you already have the perfect words, and you want them to sparkle!


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