Foil Stamping

Now, let’s explore 10 recommended foil stamping techniques suitable for custom card printing. These methods each possess distinct characteristics, allowing you to choose the most suitable one for your unique design needs.

9 Methods Of Foil Stamping

1. Normal Hot Stamping

Normal hot stamping represents the most straightforward hot stamping technique. It involves using an etched hot stamping plate that is typically heated and pressed flat.

This process results in a flat pattern, although upon close examination may exhibit slight debossing. Only the designated content to be hot stamped will appear in metal, while other areas remain either blank or CMYK printed.

Compared to alternative methods such as reverse stamping and printed hot stamping, normal stamping is less complex and carries a lower risk of errors.

Furthermore, due to its simplicity, it incurs relatively minimal paper wastage and is generally more cost-effective in terms of production.

Normal Foil Stamping
Normal Hot Stamping 2

2. Reverse Hot Stamping

Reverse Hot Stamping stands in contrast to the normal hot stamping method. It employs metal hollows to emphasize blank areas while using hot stamping for the desired elements.

Typically, a large graphic surrounds the area to be highlighted, resulting in the surrounded graphic being bronzed, and the highlighted graphic being hollowed out, creating an inverse foil effect.

When opting for reverse hot stamping, a larger foil area can lead to higher costs. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using very thin graphic lines (they should be at least 6pt) to ensure a satisfactory finished product.

If you plan to use specialty paper for hot stamping, it’s essential to consider the paper’s texture. If the paper surface isn’t smooth, it’s not advisable to use reverse hot stamping, as the texture can affect the finesse of large-area hot stamping.

Reverse Hot Stamping 1
Reverse Hot Stamping 2

3 .Printed Hot Stamping

Printed hot stamping is an artful fusion of hot stamping and color printing, representing a processing technique that challenges the expertise of the craftsman.

The craftsman initiates the process by executing the printing phase followed by the hot stamping phase. Achieving precise positioning during hot stamping is paramount, yet the resulting product exhibits top-notch quality and exudes creativity.

This approach not only scrutinizes the craftsman’s skill but also assesses the designer’s acumen in color and line coordination.

Printed Hot Stamping

4. 3D Hot Stamping

The fusion of hot stamping and embossing techniques yields what is known as three-dimensional hot stamping, elevating the hot stamped portion (with a relatively low protrusion height) to create a three-dimensional relief effect.

It’s important to bear in mind that the reverse side of the dimensional bronzing will exhibit a concave effect, so it’s advisable to keep the backside blank in the design to prevent any interference with the graphics or text.

When opting for dimensional foil stamping, designers must meticulously consider factors such as texture, weight, foil, and ink when selecting paper or other carrier materials. Ensuring precise alignment from front to back is crucial.

Moreover, the paper’s thickness imposes limitations on the quality and outcome of the final product, as excessively thin or weak paper can lead to extensive cracking.

However, it should be noted that because the hot part will bulge, the gold material is easily eroded. In addition, manual version checking is required in the production process, which is troublesome to modify and expensive in labor costs.

3D Hot Stamping

5. Screen 3D Hot Stamping

This method mainly uses silk screen printing to varnish and then covers the varnish with hot stamping material. After hot stamping, the pattern has a slight bulge, similar to 3D hot stamping, with a three-dimensional effect, and can do thinner line hot stamping.

However, since the silk screen board needs to be produced, the setup cost is relatively high.

Screen 3D Hot Stamping

6. Cold Stamping

In contrast to traditional hot stamping, cold stamping (cold foiling) offers several distinct advantages in terms of process flow, overprint accuracy, equipment, and application. These advantages are primarily evident in the following aspects:

1) Enhanced Hot Stamping Precision

Cold stamping boasts a high level of accuracy, approaching the resolution of printing. Whether it involves stamping small dots and lines or achieving intricate hollow effects, its expressive capabilities are exceptional.

2) Larger Area for Graphics and Text

Hot stamping typically limits the application to small areas, such as trademarks and logos. Cold stamping, on the other hand, accommodates larger widths, even matching the printing machine’s capacity. As a result, it is better suited for stamping large-area graphics and text.

3) Broader Range of Applicable Base Materials

Cold stamping accomplishes foil transfer through adhesive and pressure at normal temperatures, eliminating the need for precise temperature control, unlike hot stamping.

It can be applied not only to standard substrates like card stock and box board, but also to heat-sensitive film materials and similar materials that may deform under hot stamping conditions.

4) Increased Production Speed and Efficiency

Hot stamping on paper relies on printing glue and cylinder pressure, allowing for full-plate or partial hot stamping with precise registration. Cold stamping eliminates the need for costly metal hot stamping plates, thus reducing environmental pollution associated with plate production.

After cold stamping, the surface remains flat and unraised. It can be combined with UV printing to achieve registered printing effects and can also be overlaid to create vibrant stamping effects, albeit at a slightly higher setup cost.

Cold Stamping

7. Hot Stamping + UV

Hot Stamping + UV

UV printing primarily utilizes ink containing photosensitizers and UV curing lamps as its main components. In comparison to regular hot stamping, the result of UV + hot stamping yields patterns that are more intricate, glossy, durable, and resilient to weathering.

This method encompasses two distinct processes: “stamp first, then print” and “print first, then stamp”.

1) Stamp First, Then Print

Begin by applying UV spray to the designated pre-bronzing graphics. Next, laminate the bronzing paper onto the base film and subsequently peel it off to complete the bronzing process.

This method imparts a metallic appearance to the areas that received the UV oil spray. Finally, perform post-foil printing on both the hot-stamped and non-hot-stamped sections of the bronzing paper.

2) Print First, Then Stamp

Initiate the process by pre-printing the graphics and text. Following this, apply UV patterns to the areas intended for stamping.

Then, laminate and peel off the stamping paper from the base film to achieve the stamping effect. Similarly, this approach imparts a metallic appearance to the regions treated with UV oil spray.

8. Hot Stamping + Reverse UV

Hot Stamping + Reverse UV

Compared with traditional UV, reverse UV can make the high-gloss effect of a mirror surface and the non-high-gloss effect of a matte or linen surface exist on the same print, forming a stronger contrast in brightness and making the glazing achieve better results.

At the same time, because the non-high-gloss parts are printed by offset printing, the overprinting is very accurate, and the printing accuracy of the graphics and texts on the high-gloss parts is also guaranteed.

9. Scodix Hot Stamping

Scodix is a leading manufacturer of digital enhancement equipment, providing card printers with advanced integrated digital enhancement solutions. Because Scodix uses digital proofreading, the production and modification speed are faster, which greatly saves labor costs.

However, because the special materials for Scodix are more expensive, the overall price is about the same as that of 3D hot stamping. Now we offer two different Scodix enhancement solutions:

1) Scodix Foil™

Scodix Foil

Print real foil, cost-effectively, without the need for dies and molds for short to medium runs; includes option to use variable data and personalize products using real foil to achieve unmatched foil enhancement results.

This solution is very close to the effect of silk screen 3D hot stamping, but it is faster and simpler to produce. However, it is not suitable for making small lines because the pattern is easy to blur when the spacing is small.

2) Scodix Foil™ + Spot UV 

Scodix UV

To enhance the brilliance and texture of the hot stamping pattern on the prepared Scodix Foil™, apply a layer of UV varnish measuring at least 0.1mm in thickness. This process results in a striking and glossy finish with a more pronounced tactile quality.

Notably, this approach yields a greater raised effect compared to traditional silk screen 3D hot stamping, significantly enhancing the three-dimensional impression of the design. While it ensures durability, making the hot stamping material resistant to wear, it may not be ideal for rendering fine lines due to its heightened relief.

3) Scodix Foil™ + Crystal

Scodix Crystal

Add colorful sparkle effects with spot Crystal and create real 3D items and effects with a high-build polymer. There is no limit to the height of the crystal, and the effect is unparalleled and sparkling. This method is more suitable for card boxes or collection single cards.

If you want to explore more metallic or anti-counterfeiting effects, please check out Printing Ink.