Guide to Print Techniques: Foil Stamping


The second in our series about print techniques focuses on foil stamping—another one of our favorite ways to print! We just love the shine from foil stamping and the polished, glam look it presents. 

Foil stamping, or foil printing, is the process of applying metallic or colored foil onto paper using a heated die. The die is custom-created for each project based upon a computer-generated design. Note: Every color in the design requires a separate die—making this too a more labor-intensive print method. (As a result, foil stamping is usually limited to one or two colors per project.) We mentioned in our post on letterpress printing that letterpress ink is not completely opaque and that this print method is reserved for lighter paper colors. Not so with foil stamping! Metallic or colored foil is completely opaque, so it can be used on even the darkest of paper colors. While the end product feels similar to letterpress printing—think imprinted design into a heavier stock paper, it doesn’t look as handmade but rather more polished and sophisticated. 

Keep in mind:

  • Foil stamping is more expensive; its cost reflects the creation of the dies, labor, and process required to achieve the best product.
  • Foil stamping can be applied to a wider variety of papers (as compared to letterpress printing), but be sure your custom stationer verifies just how thick the printer can go before ordering your desired paper.
  • Like letterpress, foil stamping is ideal for more simple layouts with one or two ink colors. However, in recent years, foil has been applied over things like digitally-printed photo Christmas cards, birth announcements, and the like. So don’t be afraid to ask your custom stationer to get creative!

Why choose foil stamping? If your event is distinctly sophisticated or modern and features bold design elements, this might be your best print option! Also, if you really want a metallic look vs. muted gold, silver, rose gold, etc., definitely choose foil. No other print method can achieve a truly metallic look like foil stamping can.

Behind the Paper: Jennifer & Matt

Guide to Print Techniques: Letterpress Printing