Foil Press... What it is & how it works

We all know weddings and pretty shiny things go hand in hand. So many clients come my way after seeing an invitation I've designed on Pinterest, and a lot of the time, it has that pretty, pretty, shiny, shiny, metallic foil on it. While everyone loves it, most people have no idea how it works! I though it was time to share how the process works and all that's involved in making foil press designs! So read on for all the steps and details!

First off, let me say that many of my designs are a combo of foil and digital print, especially when watercolor is involved. Most designers don't like to combine the two as it adds steps and makes production a bit more complicated because you're typically dealing with different print shops, but I think the end product makes it all worth it! This post just covers how the foil portion is done, I have another awesome printer that I used for the colorful digitally printed portions of my designs. So, lets talk foil process and steps...

  • We Create a Design: Once we've decided on a design direction, I price it out for you, digital printing is as listed on the pricing page of the website, and foil is an additional cost, added per piece that you decide to add it to and depending on the number of colors you want done in foil. There are MANY foil colors to choose from, there are the traditional metallics: gold, silver, copper, rose gold etc, and then there are also colored foils, both shiny and matte which can pass for letterpress in the look and finish.
  • Making Plates: The parts of the design that are foil need to have metal plates made (the first photo). These plates are set up in the press and used to imprint the foil onto the paper. One way to save cost when adding foil is to use one of my existing edge designs so you don't need to pay for the creation of a new plate which is required for new designs or any designs where the text is in foil.
  • Set Up: Then it's setting up the press! as you can see from the photos, this is an intricate process and pretty old school, not all automated like the crayola factory! It's all done by hand, by amazing tradesmen who really know their shit. They do a trial on transparency paper to line it up, and then use little set pieces to make sure it'll align perfectly every time. Then it's time for another test to make sure the temperature settings are right so the foil releases on the paper correctly, and the pressure settings are perfect so we have that level of imprint that's just perfect for the design.
  • Go to Print: Once the set up is perfect. It's go time, each piece is placed in the stops as the machine presses the foil on each individual card. This is actually done by hand (check out the video below) it's pretty fantastic.
  • Trimming: Then they are cut down to size and I pick those suckers up so I can assemble them for you and take care of all the final touches!

So that's all folks! So basically when you're adding foil, you're paying for the creation of the plates and the set up of the press and then the action of printing them. As you can imagine, the more you need, the less expensive it gets per piece as you're dividing the cost of the plate and set-up across more invitations. That can also be somewhat of a bummer for people who are having a small wedding as the cost of foil can be prohibitive when you only need 30 invites! Knowledge is power my friends. Now lets go design some foil press invitations!