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Hot Foiling Tips and Ideas

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Hot foiling adds a new dimension to all of your paper crafts.

Hot foiling adds a new dimension to all of your paper crafts.

What Is Hot Foiling?

Hot foiling is a process where heat and pressure are used to create a design on cardstock, fabric or paper. The shiny pigment from the thin hot foil sheet adds that much-needed metallic color to the plate’s design as it gets impressed onto the surface of your project.

Foiling Basics

There are two processes that use eat to bond foils to paper or toner sheets. These are the different process basics, so that you can understand the difference between the two of them.

Toner Sheets and Laminators

The first system uses toner sheets and laminators. In this system, toner sheets are either printed or purchased. The heat reactive foils are bonded to the toner ink through the use of a laminator which provides the heat in the process.

The advantage to this system is that you can use dies and die cutting machines that you already have to cut and foil.

The disadvantage is that you either have to purchase a special printer (inkjet printers will not work) to create tone sheets, or you have to purchase toner sheets or special designed toner sheets to create designs.

In addition to laminators, there are also machines created for crafters to foil, like the Minc and the Glaminator.

Hot Foiling Systems

The hot foiling system is different from toner foiling. In the hot foiling systems, you have a platform that heats a metal foiling die. The hot foil is then placed over the die with the dull side up. The dull side has the adhesive that is transferred to the paper placed on top. The imprint of the die is then imprinted onto the paper with the foil.

The platform is then run through the corresponding die cutting machine to finalize the impression.

The hot foil machine only provides the heat; a die-cut machine would provide the necessary pressure to transfer the design onto the paper.

The advantage to the hot foiling system is that you eliminate the need for toner sheets (which can be costly) and laminators. Another advantage to this type of system is that you can foil on cardstock and other surfaces (where on the other system, you can only foil on toner sheets) Plus, toner sheets can only be used once. Though you will initially spend money on foil dies, they can be used over and over again.

The disadvantage to this system is that you need to purchase foiling dies, which can be costly

You weigh the costs and advantages of both systems and decide which one is best for you. For now, we are talking about hot foiling.

What Types of Paper Projects for Hot Foiling?

You might think of using hot foils on just greeting cards, but there are so many more options when it comes to hot filing:

  • Greeting card backgrounds
  • Metallic elements to your scrapbook pages
  • Custom made gift tags
  • Geometric designs on journal pages
  • Personalized bookmarks
  • Foiled wedding invitations and elements
  • Foiled focal points in a bullet journal
  • Metallic home decor items
  • Foiled envelopes
  • Foiled tags

Heat Foil

The first thing to know about these foils is that thy require a significant amount of heat to transfer the foil to paper or other materials.

These foils have adhesive in the foil that is heat activated when it is used with a heat foiling machine

Most manufacturers of hot foil machines make a foil compatible to their machines, but you can mix and use foils from other companies as long as they are heat foils.

Buying rolls rather than individual sheets is far more economical. On rolls, you can cut the amount you need, leaving more area to be able to cut.

When you are purchasing heat foil either online or in person, it is important to make sure to read the information on the packaging to make sure that you are getting the right product to for the right job.

Glimmer Hot Foil

These foils come in rolls as single rolls as well as 4-roll combination packs. These foils come in plenty of colors as well as rainbow and some holographic. The approximate sizes are 5 in. x 15 ft per Roll. They cost on average $5.99 per roll/$15.99 for the combination pack.

Gemini Hot Foil

These foils also come as individual units and combination packs. The roll size is 4.96 inches x 16.4 feet. And the approximate cost is $4.99 single unit/$15.37 for the combination packs.

Foil Quill Foils

Rather than rolls, these oils come in sheets. Their bundles contain three packages of We R Memory Keepers Foil Quill 4 x 6 Inch heat activated foil sheets for use with the Foil Quill Pen. Each package includes six sheets in five different color finishes.

Couture Creations

These are rolls of hot foil, these rolls measure 12cm wide x 5m long.You can also use these foils without a Go Press machine. They can be used with use with Double-Sided Tape Adhesives, Rubber Cement, Versamark Embossing Powder, Foil Adhesive, Zig Glue Pens, Foam Stickers and Scor-Tape. Average price $4.99

Before You Foil-Dust

The foils and the foil stamps or dies are all prone to dust on their services. This dust will adhere to the materials and show up as black dots all over your projects.

It is essential to the process that you dust all of these before you foil. Use a ery soft brush. Dust the die where it will hit the foil as well as the back side of the foil.

This one step will help you get better results every time.

Hot Foiling Supplies

There are just a few supplies needed to get started hot foiling on your favorite surface.

Hot Foiling Plates (Dies)

Hot foiling plates are similar to wafer thin dies. The difference is that these are thin metals with etched areas that will allow you to press your foil into the paper instead of cutting a shape out of it (like metal dies). There are a variety of sizes, shapes, designs and patterns available. Many of these coordinates with stamp, die and stencil designs.

Hot Foil Machines

These machines create a metallic foiled effect on your surface. There is a base that is referred to as a docking station. The hot foil platform is placed on the docking station. The platform is heated by the docking station.

There is a gray area on the platform that has a silicone surface. This is the area that gets hot. The sandwich is placed on this area to warm up.

There is a handle that you use to remove the platform.

The lights on the machine indicate whether it is turned on, ready for use, and there’s a button for the timer.

Hot Foil Sheets and Rolls

Hot foil sheets are available in different colors and sizes. These ink-resistant sheets can be metallic, holographic, or iridescent. Each sheet has a metallic and shiny side. Some hot foil machines come with a couple of rolls that you can use for practicing.


There are a number of accessories available. Often, these tools come with your hot foil machine:

  • Tweezers: You could use regular crafting tweezers. There are a number of specialty tweezers that have magnets. These help hold onto the metal foil dies.
  • Acrylic Spacer Plates: This plate often comes with the foil machine, but can also be bought by itself. It helps to add additional pressure in your sandwich to get a better result.
  • Shim: This is usually made of plastic, acrylic, or metal, depending on which machine you use. Like the spacer plate, it is an integral part of your foiling sandwich.
  • Silicone: This comes with some machines. This is a silicone pad that allows you to cool the foil die plates. They need to cool for about five minutes.
  • Toner Ink Pads: These are specialty ink pads that have toner ink to be used with stamps to create stamped images that can be foiled. The stamp pad and the toner inks are separate purchases. Every time that you use the ink pad, you need to add more toner ink.
You can write or draw with the Foil Quill pen on multiple surfaces.

You can write or draw with the Foil Quill pen on multiple surfaces.

Free Style Pen

This is the We Are Memory System of foiling.

Freestyle Pen

The foil quill comes in a fine tip, regular tip, a bold tip and a calligraphy tip. It is nice to write a message inside of a card or address an envelope.

Of course, you can foil on paper, but you can also add foil to leather, acetate, wood and even dimensional items like your planner, journal or even your purse.

You can use a metal stencil to create an image.

Free Style Pen Tips:

  • This pen needs be held at a more vertical angle than a usual pen to make sure the heated tip is in contact with the foil.
  • Hold the pen quite upright so the heated nib is in contact with the foil.
  • Let the pen heat up for several seconds before writing, and test it on a different material first to make sure it’s working. Test it on a different material first to make sure it’s working.
  • Tape down the foil at the top and left with washi tape—this will hold it in place, and let you lift the foil to check if it’s transferred properly and repair if needed. The washi tape is easy to remove so you don’t waste any foil.
  • Tape down the foil at the top and left with washi tape—this will hold it in place, and let you lift the foil to check if it’s transferred properly and repair if needed.
  • Apparently the different colors have different levels of reactiveness to the heat, with gold being the easiest to work with and silver the most difficult.
  • The whole pen gets hot, so avoid touching it.

Foil Quill for Electronic Cutting Machines

The foil quill is a foil pen that is adaptable to most major electronic cutting machines.

These are adapters that fit into most cutting machines. They are sold in a kit either as a single pen or in a kit that contains all of the pens.

What's in the Box?

  • Four Adapters: A is for the Silhouette, B is for the Scan N Cut, C is for the Cricut and the D is for a Sizzix.
  • A Ceramic tool with a shortish cord that has a USB connection on the end to plug into the power.
  • Metal heat protector that you place under the tool while it is heating up to protect your mat and cardstock/materials. It is removed before your machine starts the design.
  • The instruction booklet in a number of languages. Instructions are fairly basic.

How to Use the Foil Quill

  1. Remove the tool from the packaging and screw it into the correct adapter for your cutting machine.
  2. Plug it into the power.
  3. Place your cardstock/material onto your mat and load it into your machine. Set up the project so that you are ready to draw. If you have a Scan N Cut, I recommend doing any scanning prior to heating your foil quill (look below for more info on this).
  4. Place the foil quill into the slot that you would load your PEN tool into. For a Scan N Cut, there is only once choice. If you have a Cricut select the pen slot.
  5. Place the metal heat protector piece under the foil quill tool and then turn the power. Allow to heat for about five minutes.
  6. Remove the metal heat protector and get your cutting machine going.

Foil Quill Tips

  • Not all foils will work well with the Foil Quill. We Are Memory Keepers foils, Spellbinders Glimmer foils are said to give the best results
  • Never plug your Foil Quill into your cutting machine. Always use an external source of power. You are better off using a USB plug (an extra purchase unless you have one) and attaching it to a phone charger. You can also attach it to your computer port.
  • The cord that is attached to the tool is not overly long and an extension cord may be required to reach your power outlet.
  • Cricut has stated that using the Foil Quill will void your machine’s warranty. I am using my older machine, which is already out of warranty.
  • The foil that you will be using is very lightweight. You need to tape it to your project before you send it through your machine. It needs to be fairly taut so that it doesn’t move too much as the tool heats the areas of the design.
  • If you have a Scan N Cut, scan your mat once you have everything set up and ready to be foiled and check that you have your design over the foil. If you need to shift the foil (or design). Remember to remove the heat protector if you need to scan again.
  • Important: before you remove your mat after the design has been completed, remove the foil and double-check that all of your design has been foiled. If any has been missed then re-place the foil on your project and send it through the cycle again. This should catch any missed bits. Once you remove your mat the above will not work as the mat will not load in exactly the same place to achieve a nice outcome.

More Foil Quill Resources


The Spellbinders Glimmer and Letterpress System

Like the Gemini Foiling System, the Spellbinders system heats a foiling stamp, then a sandwich is created and run through a Spellbinders embossing and die cutting machine.

  • Easy to Use: Just heat the Glimmer platform, create your foiling sandwich, and run through your die cutting machine.
  • Over 80+ Foil Plate Designs
  • Foil with Metal Dies: Create foil designs using some of your existing metal dies.* (Not all etched dies compatible)

What's in the Box?

  • Hot Foil Stamp Press Machine
  • Power Cord (6 ft.) US version only
  • Heat Resistant Acrylic Spacer Shim
  • Thin Heat Resistant Acrylic Spacer Shim
  • Silicone Cooling Pad
  • Magnetic Pick-up Tool
  • Two Starter Foil Rolls (Silver & Gold)
  • Two Starter Hot Foil Plates (Frame & Sentiment)

Materials That Can Be Used With the Glimmer

Many materials can be used with this system, but you may have to add a shim to get a good foiling effect.

  • Cardstock-Use a thin shim and a Glimmer spacer pad
  • Watercolor paper-Use a thin shim and a Glimmer spacer pad
  • Chipboard-Use a Glimmer Spacer pad
  • Fabric-Use a thin shim and a Glimmer spacer pad
  • Ribbon-Use a thin shim and a Glimmer spacer pad
  • Leather-Use a cutting plate from a die cutting machine


This system is compatible with the following die cutting system:

  • Spellbinders Platinum, Platinum 6
  • Deep Sea Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
  • Sizzix BigShot
  • Sizzix BigKick
  • Sizzix Big Shot Plus
  • Sizzix Big Shot Express
  • Tim Holtz Vagabond
  • We R Memory Keepers Evolution
  • RG Amaze

How to Use the Glimmer System

  1. Plug in your machine and place the Glimmer Hot Foil Platform into the charging base. Also get your die cutting machine ready by removing any adapters or cutting pads.
  2. Turn on the system and wait for it to fully heat up; the three handy system lights will help you know when it's ready.
  3. Take your Spellbinders Glimmer Hot Foil Plate and place it on the rubber portion of the platform face up. Press the timer button. This measures the appropriate amount of time to fully heat your plate. When it's ready, the timer button turns solid green.
  4. Place your foil shiny side down on top of the Glimmer Plate. Then add your desired material on top of it. If using cardstock, make sure you use a smooth texture for the best coverage. Also, be careful: the platform and the plate will be very hot.
  5. Add the included shim and spacer plate next. Carefully remove the platform from the system and place on your die cutting machine platform.
  6. Slowly run the Glimmer Hot Foil platform through your die cutting machine. Once it's done, remove the shims and your material. Slowly peel the foil away to reveal your amazing foiled design!
  7. Place the Glimmer Hot Foil platform back in the charging base to begin heating up again for another foiled masterpiece!

Glimmer Foil Tips

  • Too much foil? Try cutting down your foil to just slightly over the size of your Glimmer Plate and rounding the edges as well. If you end up with foil where you don't want it, simply use an eraser to gently remove excess foil from edges.
  • Not enough foil or coverage is uneven? Each Glimmer Plate and die cutting machine is different. Try playing around with shims like cardstock to apply more pressure.
  • When you are doing hot foiling in your Glimmer Hot Foil machine or another Hot Foil machine you can overlap or layer your foiled designs without messing up the previous layer.
  • The glimmer machine comes with two shims: a clear plate/shim and a milky plate/shim. You need to use both of them when foiling on paper. The reason there are these two plates instead of one is this allows you to foil on different types of materials. For example, you can foil on leather. Leather is thicker than paper, so you’d skip using the milky plate and just use the clear plate.

Cost: $119

More Glimmer Information And Ideas

The Gemini Foil Press

The Gemini Foil Press

Gemini Foil Press

This is a system that is made to be used with either the Gemini Junior or full-size Gemini Embossing and die cutting machine. You cannot use any other die cutting machine other than either the Gemini Junior or the full-sized Gemini with an extender plate. (It is not made to be used with the Gemini Go)

The machine has a heating plate for the special foiling stamps. The stamps heat up. You then cover the stamp with cardstock. Create a sandwich and run it through the Gemini Junior to get your project foiled. If you have the full-sized Gemini, there is an extender plate that you can buy separately to use with the system.

You can create an amazing number of projects with this system. You can foil just about any papercraft project.

This system works in a three different ways:

1. Foil Stamp Dies: Debosses the paper and applies foil hot-stamping to your project. The metal die does not cut the paper, only stamps.

2. Stamp and Cut Dies: These metal dies adds foil hot-stamping and die cutting all with one pass.

3. Hot Foiling With Thin Metal Dies: You turn a thin metal die into a foiling die.

What's in the Box?

  • Foiling Plate
  • Plate Cover
  • Metal Shim
  • Silicone Cooling Mat
  • Magnetic Tweezers
  • 1 Paper Foil Roll
  • 2 Foil And Cut Dies
  • 3 Foil Stamp Dies
  • ! Instruction Manual
  • 1 Power Cord

How to Use the Foil Press

  1. Plug your machine in and insert the FoilPress Plate into the FoilPress Base. Switch it on. Also get your Gemini or Gemini Jr. machine ready!
  2. Using your included instruction manual, refer to the helpful table detailing times and settings depending on the type and size of Foil Stamp Die or Foil Stamp 'n' Cut Die you're using. Select the appropriate heat level and time using the handy LCD screen on the FoilPress Base.
  3. Place your die onto the FoilPress Plate and press the start button. Allow the timer to count down; when it beeps, you're ready for your foil.
  4. Place your foil shiny side down on top of the die. Then add your desired material on top of it. Be careful: the platform and the plate will be very hot.
  5. If you're using a Stamp 'n' Cut Die that foils and die cuts a shape, place your metal shim on next. For just foiling, you would skip this step.
  6. Next, add your heat plate. Carefully remove the platform from the system using the silicone finger grips to avoid burning your fingers. Feed the platform into your Gemini die cutting machine, grabbing it from the other side when it's done.
  7. Once it's done, remove the shims and your material. Slowly peel the foil away to reveal your amazing foiled design!
  8. Place the platform back in the charging base to begin heating up again for another foiled masterpiece!

Hot Foil Tips

  1. Keep an eye for the heating plate becoming too hit, the machine will flash the word COOL, which means you need to remove the plate and place it on the silicone cooling mat until the timer shows 00.00, showing it's the right temperature. This usually occurs if you are going from high to low-temperature settings.
  2. Allow dies to cool down on the Silicone Cooling Mat before each use.
  3. When removing your Foil Press Foiling Platform, ensure it is placed on the Silicone Cooling Mat to avoid damage!
  4. Remember dies will be HOT so always use the tweezers provided to pick them up.
  5. Do not directly touch the purple non-slip surface of the Foiling Platform during the heating process or whenever heated.
  6. When cleaning your FOILPRESS use a wipe and never submerge any part of the Foil Press™ Machine in water or liquid.

Gemini Hot Foil Resources


Couture Creations Go Press and Foil

The base of this foiling system is a heating unit that heats to 90 degrees. Open cover and place a metal shim on the heated platform 30 seconds to one minute. Add foil colored side down and a little larger than the item to be foiled. Add the paper or other material; close cover, slide platform from heating unit and run through a die-cutting machine. Open cover for a beautifully foiled project.

You can foil chipboard, emboss with foil, letterpress, letterpress with ink, foiling on ribbon and fabric, and more

Wafer thin dies or hot foil stamps can also be used. Place the die or stamp without a shim on the heated platform for about 30 seconds to one minute, cover with foil colored side down and cut close to the size of the stamp or die, cover with cardstock or other material. Close cover of platform, remove from heating unit and run through die-cutting machine. Peel off extra foil to reveal design.

What's in the Box?

  • Go and Press Foiling Machine
  • Hotplate Heating Platform With Stamp Press Cover
  • Silicone Surface Protector Mat
  • Pick N Lift 3 in 1 Magic Tool
  • Silver And Gold Foil Sample Pack
  • Instruction Book

Compatible Die Cutting Machines

  1. Cuttlebug
  2. Big Shot Machines
  3. Go Cut And Emboss

Compatible with most die cutting and embossing machines on the market that can accommodate the Go Press and Foil's Heat Platform, which measures 150mm wide and 25mm tall. This includes Cuttlebug, Platinum and Bigshot machines.

Cost- $129

Like many other brands, Couture Creations has it's own band of foil to be used with their machines.

Die Press Stamps for the Hot Foil Systems

Many of the different foil dies are interchangeable in the systems offered. The dies and die plates come in quite a few options. There are dies that have specific sentiments, alphabets, images, frames, borders, corners and edging dies that all can be purchased for your stash.

Gemini Hot Foil Dies

The dies are silver in color.

There are also foil dies that will not only foil but also cut the image as well. These tend to be darker in color and are considered specialty dies.

Spellbinders Dies

These are a gold color the same as the regular dies, so you have to look at the packaging to tell the difference.

Todo Hot Foil stamps cannot be used with the Gemmini System.

Foil Die Tips

  • If you have a friend who also foils, have a foiling get together. Make several foiling projects using each other's dies to get even more projects for your stash.

Sentiment Foil Dies (Stamps)

Using The Die Cutting Machine With Your Hot Foil Machine

The second part of the process is the die cutting machine. The first tip is to run the platform from the heating unit very slowly through the die cutting machine very slowly. That will assure that there is no shifting of the foil or the plate. That will get you the best results.

Not all die cutting machines will work with all hot foil machines. The platform of the foil machine has to fit in the opening of the die cutting machine to be able to complete the process.

if foiling is of no interest to you, go ahead and purchase any die cutting machine. If you think you may want to foil in the future, consider the compatibility of your die cutting machine with various hot foiling systems

You can foil all kinds of projects beyond just greeting cards

You can foil all kinds of projects beyond just greeting cards

Double Foiling

Think of this, like stamping, in the stamping world you have stamping tools such as Misti that allow you to double stamp images if you didn’t get a good enough impression the first round.

You can double foil your design provided you have secured your foiling plate in place using low tack tape. This will allow you to re-position the plate in the exact same spot and foil again without messing up your entire plan.

Mass Foiling

When you need to foil the same element multiple times, lets say you either need multiples of the same image for one card, like multiple flowers for example, or you are making multiple cards with the same image, maybe you are mass producing wedding invitations or your Holiday cards or thank you cards, or anything that requires mass production – you can skip waiting for the timer button to heat up the plates for every new piece of paper you plan to foil.

Offset Foiling

You can fix your foiling mistakes with offset foiling. You cover your mistakes by foiling over the foiled piece with another color of foil. Use low tack tape and just taped the border in place, next added my foil, taped the plate again on the other side and foiled.

Reverse Hot Foiling

More Hot Foiling Tips

There are a few tips that will help you get the best results for your hot foiling projects. These tips and ideas will help you use your foil to the best advantage. That means you will get the most of every craft dollar spent.

  1. Trim the foil around your hot foil plate’s shape and cut as closely as possible. This will ensure that you don’t have excess foil outside your design.
  2. Remember, less excess foil, better results!
  3. Make sure to cut out sharp corners too.
  4. Always use a pair of tweezers to move the plates around and pick them up, so you don’t burn yourself. It might be tempting to just pick them up with your fingers, but that’s what the tweezers are for.
  5. When using a manual die-cut machine, make sure to crank it slowly to get better foiling results.
  6. Do not throw away the user manual. You will need to refer to it every now and then, especially when exploring other techniques.
  7. Use a sand eraser to remove the excess foil on your cardstock. A regular eraser might work too, but Jennifer McGuire highly recommends a sand eraser.
  8. Heat and pressure are crucial in hot foiling! Always make sure that your hot plate has enough heat, especially if you want to foil on textured surfaces (like colored cardstock).
  9. Some foil plates have coordinating dies. With these combinations, you can add more dimension to your projects.
  10. You can use your stand-alone dies for hot foiling? You just need to add an extra shim (like a cardstock) to ensure that your metal die won’t cut out the shape.
  11. Foil can resist ink, so you can stamp or ink blend over your foiled designs!
  12. Make sure your hot foil machine is compatible with your die-cut machine. You can always do your research online or ask the manufacturer for a list of compatible die-cut machines.
  13. Not all wafer-thin metal dies work with foiling machines, but you can give them a try.
  14. Over foiling or excess foiling is sometimes unavoidable, but a trick that some crafters swear by is using anti-static powder all over your cardstock before doing foiling. This is a great way to prepare your cardstock.

More Hot Foiling Techniques

Bottom Line on Hot Foiling

I love hot foiling! You could say I am really into the shiny effect that this system gives your projects. Even just a foiled sentiment gives every project new dimension.

Let's start with the equipment to do the hot foiling technique. Most paper crafters have a die cutting machine. Start with that as your base. After all, most of us would not want to purchase a new die cutting machine unless our old one was shot.

Using that as your base, then decide what foiling machine meets your needs. If you have a Gemini die cutting machine, then your choice is pretty limited to the Gemini foiling machine.

If you have any other die cutting machine, then you have additional options. Look at all the choices and decide what machine gives you the best options.

If you do not have a die cutting machine, take time to investigate all the options and decide what combination is best for you.

There is another consideration: the cost of the dies. Start with some sentiments that you will use over and over again. Get sentiments for birthdays, get well and sympathy. Add sentiments to encourage and special occasions.

Try using monthly subscriptions. These are usually the best buys. Or purchase from sites where you get points for your purchases. Most of these point systems allow you to apply them to a future purchase.

Sign up for emails from companies that have the dies that you are interested in. Often, they have sales, promotions and free shipping that you can take advantage of.

So, get started with hot foiling. I guarantee that once the filing bug bites you, you will foil a lot. I hope that this article has helped you! Happy Crafting!

© 2022 Linda F Correa