How to Use Foil Paper

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How to Use Foil Paper
Apply foil paper using essentially the same technique as gold or silver leaf. (aluminium foil image by Andrey Zyk from

Foil paper, or foil sheeting, is a thin coating of shiny mylar on a paper or clear plastic backing. It resembles gold and silver leaf but it is more durable and much less expensive. In addition, there are far more colours of foil paper than just gold or silver. Some foil paper is washable, meaning that it can be used on clothing. Other surfaces suitable for foil paper are polymer clay, paper, leather, wood, glass, plastic and ceramics. Different types of adhesives can be used for applying foil paper, and some surfaces do not require adhesive at all.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Item to foil
  • Adhesive
  • Foil paper sheets

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  1. 1

    Prepare the item to be foiled. Make sure it is clean and can take the application of the adhesive you are using. Some surfaces, such as polymer clay, will not need an adhesive.

  2. 2

    Apply the adhesive to the surface. Use liquid glue or double-sided tape and make sure the adhesive is recommended by the foil paper maker. Glue can be wet or dry for the application of the foil.

  3. 3

    Place the foil paper foil side down on the adhesive.

  4. 4

    Burnish the foil with your fingertip with firm pressure. Do not move the sheet of foil. Make sure to burnish every part of the surface that the foil will cover.

  5. 5

    Peel the foil sheet away from the surface with a quick, smooth motion, leaving the foil on the surface. If you have blank areas where the foil did not adhere, repeat the previous two steps on the blank areas with a different part of the foil sheet.

Tips and warnings

  • Save used foil sheets that still have fragments of foil on them and combine the foil on one project. Apply different colours side by side, overlap the colours, or layer colours for special effects.
  • Some foils are not washable. However, if the manufacturer states that it is a washable type, wash the foiled surface with mild soap in cold water and a gentle touch. Treat a foiled clothing item as a fine washable. Hand wash in cold water with a gentle detergent. Dry flat.

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