How do I Laminate something with Foil?

posted this on Aug 21, 2015

 

There are so many options and so many things to consider to get the best results when foil laminating. In this article we will go over:

  • How to foil laminate
  • How to print for foil lamination
  • What paper to use
  • Optimizing your laminator
  • How to only apply foil to sections of your project. 

Most of this information was provided by our Customer Service team, so if you still have questions by the end of the article, we recommend calling them up!

How to Foil Laminate

The basic steps to foil laminating are pretty simple when you don’t factor in optimization:

  1. 1. Print your project using a LASER PRINTER.
  2. 2. Cut your foil to appropriately cover the correct sections of your printed project.

  3. 3. Place project into a carrier (paper cover).

  4. 4. Insert the carrier--with the project in it--into your pouch laminator.

  5. 5. Peel off the foil sheets.

  6. 6. Gaze upon the glory of your foil infused project!

Foil Lamination Project

However, if you’ve ever tried foil lamination, you probably know it doesn’t always turn out so glorious. Many times you’ll end up with lots of spots in your foil (spots that simply didn’t adhere to the printed areas). You might also see edges that look jagged and messy. We are going to do our best to find the best way to avoid this!

How to Print for Foil Lamination

  1. 1. Everything should be printed SOLID BLACK. No greys or colors(they might work, but we’re going for best results here).
  2. 2. No fades or opaque images.
  3. 3. Use VECTOR BASED IMAGES for best results. If your image is rasterized, then there is no changing the size.
  4. 4. Print using a LASER PRINTER ONLY.

 

Black shapes printout

Before printing we must review what you are printing.  You see, foil lamination adheres best to SOLID BLACK PRINTS. If there are any fades or gradients in your print, then your foil will turn out spotty! To avoid this, it is best to use vector based images.  All text fonts are vector based images, which means no matter how big or small you make them they retain their clean edges.  Rasterized images are based on pixel, so if you change the size of a rasterized image then the computer has to interpret new edges into pixels, which generally creates softer edges (this is bad for the finished product).

Some printer toners don’t work as well with laminating foil. Here in the office our large company printer’s toner does not work as well as the toner in the personal Brother printers some employees here use. Be sure to test your results with this in mind. If you need to, you can send us samples from your own printer and we will laminate it for you and get back to you with how it worked. Call our customer service for inquiries about this.

What Paper to Use

  1. 1. Smooth papers only (glossy works best; no textured paper).

  2. 2. Must be able to print in a laser printer.

Glossy paper

Technically, whatever material is appropriate for laser printing can be foil laminated. But there are different results. The smoother the surface, the better your foil will fuse onto the laser toner. Papers like Linen covers or others with embossings and rough textures won’t work. Glossy papers generally result in the best foil laminated projects since they are so smooth and hold the toner on the surface much better than normal papers.

If you want to foil something that cannot be printed by a laser printer, then you’ll have to use foil stamping, which is a completely different machine and process. This also works better with textured paper and even plastic covers.

Optimizing Your Laminator

  1. 1. Use a laminator that has 10 mil setting or higher. Full control of temperature is preferred.

  2. 2. Set you laminator to slower speeds.

  3. 3. Make sure your laminator is wide enough for to fit your entire project and carrier!

Laminating using a carrier

Slow and hot, that’s what we want to ensure the laminator we choose is able to do. Pouch laminators with adjustable heats and speeds are the best for foil laminating.  Since a carrier is a necessity, this means that more heat is needed to get through to the foil. Laminators that can laminate 10 mil pouches or higher are best. Slower speeds also allow for the foil to reach appropriate temperatures when going through the machine.  Some laminators don’t necessarily change the heat for each pouch setting, they only change the speed--so ones with actual temperature controls (above 300 degrees Fahrenheit) are preferred. It’s best to experiment with speeds and heats to find what works best with your machine.

How to Only Apply Foil to Sections of Your Project

  1. 1. For projects where you want foil and printed text on the same page, or even multiple colors of foil on the same page, make sure to cut pieces of foil to fit each corresponding section.
  2. 2. For sections you don’t want to apply foil cover them with paper to prevent ink transfer to the carrier.

Using multiple foil colors on one sheet of paper

Sometimes you don’t want to foil every section of your project--sometimes you’ll want foil and printed text on the same page.  When doing this, cut out the section of foil so it only goes over the appropriate position. It’s also important to cover the non-foiled prints with a thin sheet a paper, too. Without doing this some of the toner/ink will transfer onto the carrier. So next time you foil laminate with the carrier, the old toner/ink will transfer onto your new project. So cover every section of your print with either foil or paper to prevent cross contamination between projects.

________________________________

 

Professional Foil Machines:

For those with high demands for foil laminating we recommend looking into a foil fuser. These laminate faster with better results and really simplify the process.

There are also foil stamping machines that can apply foil to virtually any material, even those with textures! We also offer in-house personalized foil stamping so you don’t have to purchase an expensive machine if you don't want to.

 

Recommended products and other links:

Laminating Foil: http://www.mybinding.com/laminating/pouches/laminating-foil.html

Pouch Laminators:

http://www.mybinding.com/pro-lam-plus-330-akiles-pouch-laminator.html

http://www.mybinding.com/akiles-prolam-ultra-x6-laminator.html

http://www.mybinding.com/gbc-heatseal-h700pro-pouch-laminator-1700500.html

Laminating Pouch Carriers: http://www.mybinding.com/laminating-pouch-carrier.html

Foil Fusers: https://www.mybinding.com/finishing-equipment/foiling-machines/foil-fusers.html 

Foil Stampers: http://www.mybinding.com/aamstamp-titan-2000-stamping-machine.html

 
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