Issues When Foiling and How to Combat Them
In this post, I'll talk about a few common issues that I've experienced when foiling and how I've learned to combat them! Quick disclaimer: I won't be covering every way this process can go wrong, only the issues I've personally encountered and know how to deal with. If you are having a hard time getting this process to work, I recommended experimenting on your own with different products, methods etc. It's totally normal to come across issues along the way, trust me I've struggled for years to get the best results possible! The key is just to keep practicing and experimenting until you find the best combination that works for you!
1) Foil is creasing
This is definitely the most common issue, especially if you are using a normal laminator. The quickest way to combat this issue is to purchase the Heidi Swapp minc machine. It is specially designed for this process and comes with a protective sleeve meaning the foil will never crease.
If you don't have $100 laying around however, here's what I do when using my laminator. First, make sure to use a straight edge of the foil on the side of the print that is going into the laminator first, and line up the edge as close as possible to the printed portion. This way, the foil will melt to the toner immediately and is less likely to move around with going through. Next, smooth out the foil as much as possible. I like to use the back of my hand to do this.
Finally, for whatever reason I find that holding the paper up slightly so that it is parallel to the laminator while it goes through works wonders to stop creasing. I simply place my hand under the print as it goes through to hold it up a bit.
These tips will help decrease the percentage of prints that will crease, however the only way to stop it entirely is to purchase the minc machine. I rarely get creased prints anymore, but it does still happen from time to time. Unfortunately, mess ups are just a part of this process, but these tips will help decrease them!
2) Spotty Coverage
If you are getting black dots/ imperfect coverage on your prints, there are a few reasons this could be happening. The main reason boils down to not enough heat is reaching the toner. This could be because your laminator is not hot enough, your paper is too thick, or its not being exposed to heat long enough. I can only speak from experience, but I get the best results on the Amazon laminator using the 5 mm setting, and the minc machine using setting 4. If you are experiencing this problem, you can try increasing the temperature or running the print through your heat source more than once.
This can also happen when using textured paper. The best results will happen with smooth card stock. Moreover, for whatever reason some brands of card stock just do not perform as well. Try switching up the brand of paper you use and see if that helps!
Finally, this can happen if your printer does not use monochrome laser toner. I have very little knowledge of printers and how they work, so my best advice if this is the case is to try out a few different print shops and see if the results are better. In my experience, Lexmark laser printers have always worked great for me, so if you are considering purchasing a printer for this process I would definitely recommend a Lexmark printer.
3) Black specs
If there are any dust particles, crumbs, a piece of hair etc. on your print before foiling, it will leave a rather annoying black spec on the design. This is pretty easy to avoid, I like to just blow on the print before putting the foil on!
4) Flaking foil
If you are foiling a design with a lot of small details, you may experience little flakes of foil that don't fully get removed when peeling. I combat this by waiting to peel the foil until the print has fully cooled down (around 5 minutes). I do this with designs that have a lot of small detail that I know will have this issue. I've also found that different foil colors will leave flakes more often. For example, iridescent foil almost always leaves flakes behind.
If you have already peeled and notice foil flakes on the print, fear not! The print is not ruined, it just means you need to gently wipe them away. I like tap with a tissue or use a cotton swap to remove these little flakes and voila, good as new!
I hope you guys found this helpful! Like I said above, these are all just issues I have. You may encounter entirely new problems that I haven't. The main advice I can give you is to just keep playing around with different methods and products until you find what works for you!
Thanks for reading,