Foiled Laser Print


Below are a series of How-To videos by Robert Richardson explaining the foiling process using laser printed images. There are many ways to create hot stamped foil images. These only scratch the surface.

Polymer on Paper

How to coat paper with polymer medium for hot stamped foiling.

  • The paper is first soaked in room temperature water for 10 to 15 minutes. Enough time for the paper to expand.
  • The paper is then blotted dry to remove the surface water.
  • Gummed paper tape is cut to length. Then, used to tape the secure the paper to the drying board.
  • Run the gummed paper tape over a damp sponge to moisten the glue.
  • Tape the top, bottom, and sides of the paper to the board keeping the paper flat.
  • Mix a solution of polymer medium 80/20 with water.
  • Brush the mixture over the paper that is taped to the drying board.
  • Use smooth even strokes in both horizontal and vertical directions.
  • Allow the coated paper to dry. As the paper dries it will shrink to make a tight flat coated surface ready to receive hot stamped foil.

Working in GIMP

GIMP is freeware application available on both Windows and Mac. Download at GIMP.org. This video explains how to take the scan of a pine bough and convert it into a high contrast laser print. Both a positive and negative prints are made to use in our foiled print. The images are saved as PDFs because there is more control when printing the laser prints from Acrobat Reader. We do not use this ability in this example but images that are larger than the printer’s size can be printed on multiple pages with Acrobat Reader.

Foiling the Image

The high contrast negative laser print is used to create a positive foil image. A piece of metallic foil is cut to a size that covers the laser print image. The laser print covered with the foil is placed on to of a sheet of silicone paper on the hot plate. Then, another sheet of silicone paper is placed on top. The silicone paper protects the foil from adhering to either the hot plate or the heated roller. Heat and pressure from the heated roller and hot plate are used to bond the foil to the negative laser print. When the foil carrier sheet is removed it has a positive of the image on it. This is then bonded to the paper that was coated with polymer back in the “Polymer on Paper” video.

Making a Decal

The negative laser print image that has foil adhered to can be used in your artwork by creating a decal. The image is first taped to a board and coated with five layers of matte medium. Once the matte medium is dry it is soaked in room temperature water to remove the copier paper from the back. Then, it is adhered onto the high quality paper used for your work of art with a coat of matte medium. Once in place a brayer can be used to rollout any bubbles between the decal and the paper.

Playing with Mediums

How different polymer mediums accept hot stamped foil in different manners.

Adding Foiled Text

Many apps can be used to create a laser print to create a laser print to use for foiled text. This video uses Inkscape found at inkscape.org. The process is to create a black background with white text to fit the area you want the area you want the text to be in. Think of the laser print as a negative of the text. When the foil is bonded to the laser print a positive foil remains on the foil’s plastic carrier. This positive is then bonded to your artwork.


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