More experimenting with iron-on foil | How About Orange

June 26, 2013

More experimenting with iron-on foil

I wrote awhile back about trying to iron metallic foil onto laser-printed paper. See this post and this post for my first attempts and how I ended up working with this stuff. I don't think stationery is its intended use, but I like experiments.

Recently I ran out of birthday cards, so I tried to make some quick foiled options. Foiled being the key word— most of my prints didn't turn out very well and went into the trash.

Using this metallic foil on paper has been hit or miss for me, probably because I'm too cheap to buy this laminator and modify it like the company recommends. I keep trying to make my iron work. I've gotten one or two nearly perfect prints, some decent ones, and A LOT of bad ones where some of the foil doesn't adhere. Here are the best results from my latest attempt.

This project uses metallic film from DecalPro FX. Using my home black-and-white laser printer, I printed black lettering onto cardstock. I laid a roughly-cut piece of metallic foil on top of the printed design. With my iron set on #2, the nylon setting, I slowly, smoothly ran my iron over the foil, pressing very hard. A few sheets of cardboard under the print protected my table.

After the foil was ironed on, I peeled off the excess around the edges, leaving shiny letters where the film adhered to the toner.

You can see these aren't perfect— there are little black flecks showing where no foil stuck to the toner. Among the many variables that can affect outcomes are the type of toner your printer uses, and even the type of paper seems to make a difference. (Heating the toner with a hairdryer first has no affect; I tried that.) I still like the idea of making cards this way. Maybe I'll try again another day or look for another product that might yield similar shiny awesomeness.

Update: I had better results with this method!


Grandma G said...

Imperfect can still be very pretty... and your cards are!


Jessica Jones said...

In this particular case, imperfect drives me nuts.

Krissie said...

I love these! Does it have to be black toner? I'm thinking some color popping through the imperfections would look great!

Jessica Jones said...

Good question! I don't know... isn't all toner basically plastic? It seems like color would work, since it's still laser toner. Then you could match the color to the paper or the foil if you wanted to disguise the imperfections. Or contrast the color if you're going for a distressed, vintage look. Hmm. I might have to get a print made somewhere and try it.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried using the sticky stamp pads, for adhering embossing powder, and stamping the image on? Or even using clear embossing powder? Stamps are limiting, but you can have custom images made. I would think, with simple typography, that making you're own from linoleum would not be terribly hard.

chantel said...

We used to do a ton of foil prints at Art school many years ago - so much fun and very addictive!

I found an article that may help with your foil printing.

Basically the lady put through the print with the foil on top through the printer again and it came out pretty great ( according to the images anyhow )

You could give it a go and report back to us!

Love your blog :)

this is the link with the instructions...

Jessica Jones said...

Chantel, that's what I ended up doing last night, with much better success (depending on the kind of paper). I'm very pleased! I hadn't tried it before because the foil company said it wouldn't work. But I got fed up with the iron. I'm doing a new post about later today. I'll check out your link, too!

Nicole Underwood Gonzalez said...

those look VERY snazzy!

Jessica Jones said...


And Anonymous, I haven't tried any stamping / embossing. The thought of having to carve a stamp or get a custom one made is daunting, since I really just want one or two prints made with a design, and then it's on to the next thing.

Anonymous said...

Hi jess do you know how the pros get glitter onto the cards? Also could you use a die cut machine to do foil do you know?
Thanks x

Jessica Jones said...

I don't know how manufacturers apply glitter. As for die cutting, do you mean you'd die cut the foil into shapes? Not sure why you'd need to, since all you have to do is print your letters or shapes on paper with a laser printer and the foil will stick to only those areas. Lots easier than trimming the foil itself into intricate shapes.

I don't think my Silhouette digital cutter would handle cutting foil very well, but I haven't tried it. It's very, very thin stuff and would be very hard to remove from the sticky "holder" surface that holds the paper (or foil) in place for cutting. I'm not familiar with other kinds of die cutters. Seems like holding the foil in place for cutting would be an issue.

Nic said...

I recently received some gold foil for some print I had to do, after some trial and error with iron, I found if you warm up the toner and foil on a low heat for 30 to 45 seconds, then use the tip of the iron to apply pressure to encourage adhesion of the foil to the toner you can get full foil coverage. it takes a little time to ensure the foil is bonding properly but you get a great result.