Everything You Need to Know About Foil Printing

Everything You Need to Know About Foil Printing

Embellishing home furnishings with gold and silver has been one of the hottest trends of 2014. We expect copper to also be extremely popular in 2015. One of the ways to get these metallic finishes onto fabrics for your cushions and table mats is by using a method known as foil printing.

 d0daf7c80bcd7c51d058e01d7b11d8f6Courtesy: thelittlecorner.tumblr.com

Coming to the technicalities, foil printing is the process of transferring foil from a paper roll onto a fabric using heat and adhesives, and is a great way of adding shine and luster to a product. We love how designers have used foil printing in so many creative ways – from adding a classy baroque look to a table runner to adding fun and bling to a cushion cover.

Today, there are a range of foil papers available in metallic (like gold, silver and copper) and regular colours that can give our home a royal and shiny makeover.

How it’s done (In Layman Terms)

For bulk manufacturing, rotary screen foil printing is used.

Initially, a rotary screen is made using the design that needs to be printed. This screen is then used along with the foil paper, heat and adhesives to transfer the foil onto the fabric. The cost of making the screen is much more expensive (about 10x) for foil printing that it is for regular rotary or flatbed printing – this makes sampling or customized short runs more difficult to do.

Things to watch out for

Foil printing looks great, and using good quality foil and adhesives can guarantee a consistent look for even long runs. However, certain printers re-use the foil or use low quality foils when there is a low-coverage design, to save costs. This can lead to gaps in the printing, leaving the final product looking shabby!

Washing and ironing

Since foil printing is an adhesive process and not a reactive process over time the foil is bound to peel off. However, the durability of it is based on the quality of the adhesives and the care taken.

Foil printed articles have low washing fastness and therefore should ideally be dry-cleaned only. If it must be washed, the article should be turned inside out to reduce the wearing. While ironing, the article should either be turned inside out or another fabric should be placed above the foil so that it doesn’t get stuck to the iron.

You can view some of our Foil Print Products right here.