How to Make a Foil Stamping on a Book

Written by glenna parks
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Create a signature design on your library's hardcover books with foil stamping, a printing method where an embossing press irons colour into a book's pages or its cover. Although often done professionally, you may also foil stamp at home; peruse your local craft or art supply store for the necessary materials. Rob Barnes, Foils & Dies owner, suggests trying foil stamping on textured papers, like hardbound book covers. Applying higher pressure flattens the texture of the cover. If you prefer to see the pattern through the foil stamping; apply slightly less pressure to achieve this affect.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Foil stamping material
  • Embossing press

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  1. 1

    Choose the book you'd like to foil stamp. Heavy paper and covers work best; select a sturdy cover.

  2. 2

    Choose the foil-stamping material, which holds pigmented ink in a convenient, transportable formula. You may prefer gold, silver, other colours, glossy or matt, translucent, opaque, clear or even holographic. Choose a style which works with the book cover.

  3. 3

    Wrap the foil stamping material around the nickel shim in the embossing press. Turn the embossing press on and wait for it to heat.

  4. 4

    Set the book inside the embossing press, aligning the foil stamping material where you'd like it to appear on the cover.

  5. 5

    Crank the press down onto the book cover, adjusting if necessary. You may need to create additional pressure if the cover is textured to evenly distribute the foil stamping into the cover's valleys and hills. Note that this may create a texture on the inside of the cover as well.

  6. 6

    Uncrank the press from the book after a minute. Remove the press from the book to inspect your work. In addition to releasing the foil stamping onto the cover, the press should have created a deboss into the material, like a signet ring effect.

  7. 7

    Turn the embossing press off. Remove the foil stamping material's plastic backing once the press has cooled.

Tips and warnings

  • Use foil stamping paper that contains wax-free ink for a successful foil stamp. Avoid stamping over type, which may be altered or unreadable after stamping. Only stamp onto dry surfaces.

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