Hot foil stamping is a process that is used to decorate items with various designs. Other names for hot foil stamping include dry stamping, leaf stamping, foil imprinting and hot stamping. An assortment of equipment and supplies are needed for hot foil stamping, including specialised machinery and foils to apply the design. These items use a combination of pressure, heat, films and die plates to create hot foil stamped images on items. Paper, vinyl, leather, nylon, polyester, satin and most kinds of plastics can be stamped with this process. Hot foil stamping doesn't work on rubber, metal, ceramic, glass or uneven surfaces.
Foil film is the key element to hot foil stamping. This film contains colour pigment in a thin layer, which is transferred to an item by heated die plates. Dies are metallic blocks with individual etched pictures or letters on the surface that press against the foil to imprint an image onto the item. There are several different types of film used in hot foil stamping, including the basic metallic or non-metallic film. Other styles include a signature panel, such as the panels found on the backs of credit cards, and scratch-off panels, found on phone cards.
These films consist of three layers that work together to create a foil image. The first layer is a clear film that holds the pigment, followed by the main layer that adds sediment to the pigment on the first layer during the imprinting process. Finally, the release coating is the final layer, which attaches the sediment and pigment to the object undergoing the foil stamping process. During this process, the item to be stamped is placed between a layer of the film and the chosen die plate. The hot foil stamping machine then applies pressure and heat to the die plate, which activates the film, causing a thin layer of foil to stick to the surface of the object.
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