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What Is Toner Foiling?
Toner foiling is the process of applying foils to a sheet of paper that has been treated with toner ink. Toner foiling can also be known as laser foiling, foil fusing, sublimation foiling and foil sleeking.
It works by simply fusing specialized adhesive coating that reacts with the black toner. It is a specialty print process of adhering specialized metallic or pigment foil to an area layered by toner from a toner (laser) printer. It works by simply fusing specialized adhesive coating that reacts with the black toner.
The laminator heats and presses the toner and the foil bonding them together to create an image.
Foil stamping is a specialized printing process that involves the use of heat, pressure and metal foils to create shining metal like designs, texts, and graphics in a wide range of colors and textures.
You print an image using the laser printer in black ink at the highest possible quality setting. The foil is then placed over the image and sandwiched between a piece of parchment paper folded over.
Only toner reactive foils cab be used in this process.
What Do You Need to Do Toner Foiling?
To start toner foiling you need specialist toner foils, a toner foiling machine or a suitable equivalent laminator, a printer and paper.
It is important to know that toner foils are not compatible with hot foiling. Specialized reactive foils are required for this kind of foiling projects.
The most important tool in this process is a laser printer. An inkjet printer will not work. If you do not have a laser printer, you could take an image to an office supply store and have them print it on a laser printer.
What Kind of Printers Are Needed for Toner Foiling
Using a Laser Printer for Toner Foiling
In order to foil, you need toner sheets or images that are printed on a laser printer. If you have a laser printer already, you are all set to begin creating all kinds of foiled projects.
The most important feature for creating toner sheets for this type of foiling is that the toner ink is deposited evenly across the sheet. Monochrome printers are generally considered the best printer type to create laser images and sheets for foiling projects.
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For more cost-efficient results, print your sheets and images in black toner. You are going to cover the image with foil anyway and the black toner is less expensive.
When printing toner sheets, paper will for sure affect your results. For the best results, you want to use a high-quality, smooth, semi-gloss paper.
Older laser printers will work very well for this process because of the high level of toner used to print.
Some ECO mode is printers on the market have lower levels of toner that may be more challenging in foiling with the laser sheets that are made on this printer. The foil may not fuse as well.
What Is the Difference Between a Laser Printer and an Inkjet Printer?
The majority of crafters probably have an inkjet printer at home. That is because an inkjet printer is most often used to create colorful images. And they are generally more reasonably priced.
An inkjet printer uses inks from cartridges. On the other hand, a laser printer manipulates static electricity to attach toner to a sheet of paper. Laser toner is a powdered ink that’s more grain-like than regular ink.
The way that the foil sticks and reacts to the foil is that when the toner is on a paper and heated through a laminator, the foil adheres to the grains of the toner. The toner essentially "melts" when it cools down the foil and adheres to those grains.
The ink from the inkjet would not hold the foil in place.
Have Them Printed at an Office Supply Store
If you do not plan to do a great deal of foiling, or do not want to spend the money to purchase a laser printer, another option is to have toner sheets or images printed at your local office supply store. This option means that you will not have the expense of purchasing supplies for your printer.
Use Commercially Made Toner Sheets and Projects
Another option would be to purchase commercially produced toner sheets and designed projects. There are dozens of different designs and products available, and most are reasonably priced. Many of them have been designed for card fronts and sentiments. Take some time to see what is on the market. These products make your foiling projects a lot easier.
More Printer Ideas and Tips for Laser Printers
- Free Printable Toner Sheet for Foiling - Kat's Adventures in Paper Crafting...
Print your own toner sheet with this resource
- 10 Best Laser Printer For Foiling – Perfect Foiling Everytime
Pros and cons for the best laser printers for 2022
Choosing the Right Laminator
When you are foiling with toner sheets, the obvious and most popular source of heat to create an image would be a laminator. For any foiling without using a laser printer image, a laminator is a must-have tool for foiling. There are different features to consider, but with a few facts, your choice should be a very easy process.
Laminators are much more reasonable than foiling machines. You can get a very functional laminator for $35 and up depending on all the bells and whistles that you would like on them. Every additional feature will add more to the cost, but you may get better results with a higher priced machine. Your price point may very well depend on how much foiling you plan on doing.
Opening Size (Feed Width)
How big a project would you plan to make with your laminator? For some folks, they may very well plan to multitask with their machine. Openings vary. So, take this into consideration when you are choosing the right laminator for your needs.
Warm Up Time
Warm up times can vary from three minutes all the way up to seven minutes. How fast you are willing to wait for your laminator to heat up depends on you.
Some machines have no temperature settings at all. You turn them on and when the ready light goes on, you are ready to go. Others have temperature settings. While learning to set the temperature may be a learning curve, you may also be able to get better results. Hot laminators for foil use heat (between 220°F to 300°F) to unlock the adhesive properties inside the laminating pouch or film to seal the plastic over the sheet.
Some laminators have an adjustable temperature control. It lets you decide how hot the laminator gets. Some only have one or two choices; others have a dial with multiple settings.
Reverse and Jam Release Lever
The reverse function allows you to get a jammed piece out of the laminator. Some laminators also have jam release, which slacks the rollers’ tension, so you can pull the pouch or film free.
While I have never had a jam in my laminator, I would certainly want that option. To me, this is a must-have feature.
If you ask five people which is the best laminator for foiling, you are likely to get five different answers. Take time to study different machines and then make the decision that is right for you.
An auto shut-off feature keeps the machine from overheating if you forget to turn it off. Some laminators have double-walled insulation, which prevents the exterior from getting hot.
Using the Right Foils (Reactive Foils)
Especially when you are just starting out in foiling, the different kinds of foils can be a little confusing.
But all you need to really remember is that when you are using toner sheets and laminators for foiling, you need heat reactive foils.
Different Kinds of Foils
- Heat Foils require a significant source of heat to transfer the shiny foil onto your project.
- Reactive Transfer Foil uses heat with a reactive agent like transfer gel, transfer paint, or ink toner to fuse the foil onto your project.
- Adhesive Foil uses liquid or adhesive sheets to transfer the foil on a tacky surface.
- Pigment foils don’t have a metallic look, but instead come in a range of matte or gloss colors. These are great for pulling out text or logos in an eye-catching way.
- Pearl foils add a pearlescent, ethereal sheen to otherwise mostly transparent or translucent color and texture.
- Holographic foils appear to be silver before application, but in fact they reflect a variety of colors back at the viewer, giving the impression of a holograph or rainbow. For the most part, crafters use a shiny kind of foil or a holographic foil. When you are buying foil for your toner foiling, you need to have the right products.
Pros for Reactive Foils
- It’s way quicker to produce results, compared to traditional hot foil stamping.
- It’s much cheaper to produce.
- It’s possible to personalize the invitations with guest names, as long as the text is thick enough.
Cons for Reactive Foils
- It only works with laser printers or specialized toner.
- It only works on smooth cardstock, so using textured cardstock won’t work.
- You won’t get an embossed finish with this method.
- It doesn’t really work on thin or hairline artwork because the toner needs to be thick enough to adhere to the foil.
Sheets vs. Rolls
The foils for the toner sheet/laminator process comes in both rolls and pages. In actuality, you will get more bang for your buck with rolls. That is because you can cut the exact amount of foil that you need with less waste than you would have with sheets.
- Never throw any waste pieces of foil from your projects. Every little piece can have some use, especially when you are using die cuts. Those tiny pieces of leftovers can come in handy.
- Once you laminate your project, let it cool a minute or two before you peel off the foil. That gives the foil the best chance for a better result.
Before You Foil-Dust
The toner sheets, foils and carrier sheets, all tend to get dust on them, even if stored correctly. So, it is very important for you to dust all of the elements of your projects to get the best results. Dust will appear as black dots on your project.
Use a very soft brush. Ant kind of stiff brush will cause scratches, especially on your toner sheets and foils.
Brush the back (dull side) of the foil. Also brush the top side of the toner sheet. Then brush the inside of your carrier sheet.
Taking this one step will give you the best results om all of your foiling projects.
Toner Foiling Process
Finding Your Images and Graphics
The first step in creating toner foiling projects is to pick your design.
Templates, graphics and sentiments can often be found online for a nominal fee. Check out Etsy and Ebay.
You can also create your own designs with a free account on Canva. You can upgrade your free account for more options.
Printing Your Design
Once you have chosen your design, it is time to print it. When printing your text, make sure you use 100% on all CMYK values to get the maximum amount of toner onto the paper.
If you do not have a laser printer, you can have your images printed at your local office supply store. Or you can use commercially made toner sheets.
Preparing Your Images
If you have printed or had your design printed, you will need to prepare your graphics for foiling. Since you probably have repeated a sentiment or design, you will want to cut them down to the right shape or size.
If you have purchased toner sheet sentiments or images, you will want to cut those down as well before you get started foiling.
Cutting them down means that you will use less foil, create less waste, and have a less chance of getting foil where you do not want it.
When you remove the foil from the package, make sure to only grab one sheet. Sometimes they stick together.
Remember, the foil goes over your image with the shiny side up, dull side against the toner.
You also have the option of adding a piece of scratch paper over the project. The paper would be slightly larger than the project. This paper is to protect the surface of the foil from the laminator so it doesn’t get damaged.
You can run the project through the laminator more than once. Experiment with your laminator to see what works best.
More Laser Printer/Toner Sheet Process Resources
- How to Foil you Own Prints and Stickers using a Laser Printer and Laminator - CRAFT CHATTERBOX
A tutorial to show you how to make your own foiled prints and stickers using a laser printer, a laminator and toner foiling sheets. I also show you how to layer foiling over inkjet printed designs or patterned paper. I compare Minc, Deco Foil and Pat
- How to Put Foil on Paper with a Heat Press and Laser Printer (VIDEO) - Silhouette School
How to use a Silhouette cutting machine to create toner foiling process
The Glaminator is similar to a laminator. You need to use toner sheets or an image that has been printed on toner sheets to be able to oil with the Glaminator.
It is manufactured by Xyron and accepts items up to nine inches wide.
There are presets that will enable you to create a foiled project without being concerned about special heat settings. It has standard hot and cold lamination capabilities. The foiling setting is specifically configured for foiling.
What Is in the Box?
- The Glaminator
- One 9" by 12" transfer carrier
- One roll of gold foil-6" by 5'
Create your own snowflake Christmas ornament with the Glaminator
- Glaminator Foil Crafting Machine » Hedgehog Hollow
The Glaminator crafting machine is a 3-in-1 foil applicator and laminater. Laura Kelly Designs crafts Halloween Cards with the Glaminator in our studio.
The Minc Foiling Machine
The Minc Foiling System is an easy way to apply foil in all of your projects easily. It uses images and papers off of a laser printer or toner papers that you buy or have printers. You need a power source to plug into where you are crafting.
The Minc machine works in a similar way that a laminator works but with a better design. But unlike a laminator it uses both heat and pressure to insure a better and more even application of the foil. In most laminators you get two rollers. The Minc has four rollers. The extra rollers allow more and even pressure giving better foiling results.
It comes currently with two opening sizes-a 6-inch opening and a 12-inch opening.
It can accommodate cardstock between 65-80 lb.
What Is in the Minc Package?
- The Minc machine
- An instruction manual
- 1 transfer foil
- 1 foil sheet of gold fil
- 3 practice tags
How to Use the Minc Machine
- Turn the machine on.
- Select your heat setting; the light will turn from red to green when ready.
- Place your paper, cardstock, die cut, tag or cupcake topper in the transfer sheet.
- Choose your foil and place it over your paper with the shiny side up.
- Place the transfer sheet inside the machine; the rollers will grab the sheet and pull it through.
- Lift the transfer sheet to reveal the foiled accents on your project.
- You can print your toner sheets or images in either black or white toner. Either way the foil will stick to the toner sheets.
- Use a monotone printer. Minc recommends Cano printers.
- Paper matters. Plain copy paper will give a distressed look as the foil may not adhere evenly. To get the best results, coated paper or double coated paper gives the best results.
- Choose your heat setting based on the weight of your material; use lower heat settings for lighter papers and a higher heat setting for thick cardstock or chipboard. The zero setting has no heat; however, it will apply pressure to your project when running your paper through the machine. This setting works great for your double-sided stickers and rub ons.
- Wrinkle on purpose for texture. Force the foil to wrinkle, or wad it up, then smooth it out, before placing it on top of your project and through the machine to get a natural distressed look.
Minc Stamping Pad and Ink
These items are sold separately. They allow you to stamp an image, using any stamp in your stash with the toner ink applied to the pad. You can then foil the image and run it through your Minc or a laminator.
- Once you pour the Minc Toner Stamp Ink into the stamp pad, it can be used for approximately 2-3 hours or 125 stamp impressions. Keeping the saturated ink pad in the case can extend the life of the toner ink up to 12 hours based on climate conditions.
- When you're finished stamping, the saturated ink pad will need to be disposed of—replace it with a new, clean refill for next time!
Minc Toner Sheets
These are full toner sheets with six sheets in each package. The measurements of these sheets are one 4" x 6" sheet, one 4" x 4" sheets, two 5" x 7" sheets, and two 8" x 10" sheets.
Minc Texture Paste
Clear texture paste that you can use with stencils. Once you have stenciled, you can then add foils to your stencil.
Fine Tipped Glue Pen
Can be used to draw designs that can then be foiled.
Meant to be used to run projects through the Minc machine. These folders will not only smooth out the wrinkles, but they will also keep your product in place while running it through the MINC. Included in the package are three transfer folders (one 6.25" x 12" folder and two 12.25" x 14" folders).
Minc Reactive Foils
These foils are made to be used with the Minc and come in a variety of colors and finishes.
The Minc Complete Package
All About Toner Sheets
I Craft Toner Sheets
The most popular toner sheets on the market are the Thermoweb I Craft toner sheets.
- They are 8.5" by 11" in size.
- There are three sheets to a package.
- You can cut them, punch them, die cut them or use an electronic cutting machine to create all kinds of embellishments and projects.
- Use them for negative foiling.
- You can get a lot of cuts from one toner sheet.
Clear Designer Toner Sheets
These are similar to the black toner sheets, except they are clear.
- Can be used clear for shaker cards or laser printed for foil.
- Dimensions are 8.5 inches x 11 inches.
Anna Griffin Toner Sheets
- Dimensions are 5.7 inches by 7.75 inches.
- There are 48 toner sheets in a pack.
- Averages about $17 a pack.
Anna Griffin also sells a brand of toner sheets under her own name.
How To Use Toner Sheets
- Use scissors, die cutting machine, electronic cutting machine or a craft punch to craft the shape or design of your choice.
- Cut and place a piece of hit foil over the shape or design.
- Place the foil over the design
- Place both the design and the foil in a parchment paper folded in half
- Make sure that the foil stays over the design
- Run the parchment paper with the design and foil though the laminator
- Remove the design with the foil from the parchment paper folder
- Allow the piece to cool a bit
- Carefully peel the foil from the design
- Save the used piece of foil for a negative foil project
Toner Sheet Tips
- The smoother the cardstock, the better the foiling. The foiling will adhere better with smoother cardstock
- Color toner sheets do not give better or less results than black toner sheets
- Sometimes the foil does not adhere to the cardstock. This could be because you did not allow your laminator to heat up enough. Or it could also be because your paper had grit or was not smooth.
- If you have settings on your laminator, use the 5 ml setting to give you the most amount of heat.
- Always place the dull side towards the toner sheet.
Other Types of Toner Sheets
There are other types of toner sheets that are made specifically for the foiling needs of paper crafters. These are packages of specific products designed for specific needs.
Flock Transfer Sheets
Add a velvety texture and vibrant color to any project without the mess of traditional flock powders! They are used with transfer gel or foam adhesive sheets.
- 6 Sheets: 6 inches x 6 inches (15.2 cm x 15.2 cm)
- Transfer using Deco Foil Transfer Gel Duo, Blanco or Foam Adhesive Sheets
- Can be die cut or used with embossing folders
Clear Designed Toner Sheets
These are clear toner sheets designed for shaker cards. They could also be used for overlays on other cards as well.
- They come in 4 sheet packs
- Sized at 8.5 by 11inches
- Can be die cut or used with electronic cutting machines
Designer Toner Sheets
These unique foilable designs can be used to create custom shaker cards or stunning backgrounds, cards, overlays and mixed media
- 4 sheets per pack-2 white sheets and 2 clear sheets
- Sheets: 8.5 inches x 11 inches, Printed Area: 8 inches x 10.5 inches
- Use with Foil Transfer Sheets
- Can be used with surface sprays, alcohol inks and markers to create one-of-a-kind designs
- Can be hand-cut, die cut or used with electronic cutting systems
- These toner sheets come in different sizes and packs.
- Sizes are 4 by 9 " with 12 sheets per pack, 6 by 6" with 12 per pack
- Prive averages around $4.99
Adhesive Transfer Designs
These are sentiments, images and words that can be foiled to any greeting card, envelope, vellum or transparency. Adhesive Transfers Designs can be applied to card stock, patterned papers and ink-blended or water-colored backgrounds in two ways, with or without heat. There is a bottom sheet covered with a clear plastic that you peel off and affix to your project. You then run the project through your die cutting machine or a laminator.
- 2 sheets per pack (approx. 5.9 in x 5.9 in)
- Use with foil transfer sheets
Toner Card Fronts
Card fronts that are designed to foil make these very popular. Each pack has two designs included. There are numerous designs to choose from.