Foil: Screen Printing With Foil

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ThE Skinny

Foil printing instantly adds boldness and bling to your design. The shine is attention grabbing and can really make a statement when used correctly.

T shirts are printed with a special adhesive, then a gold foil sheet is heat pressed on. Gold and silver are the most common choices but ask about our other colors.

ThE Deets

Minimum: 36 pieces

Garment Recommendations: It is best used on 100% cotton garments and applied away from seams or creases.

Application: It is impossible for the foil to stay crisp after wearing. We generally crumple the foil before it is added so instead of a smooth piece you will get a more vintage wear. This is because the final product will be most reflective of the life of the foil printing.

Washing Instructions:

  1. Turn the t shirt inside out.
  2. Wash on a delicate cycle, or by hand. Use cold water and mild detergent.
  3. Hang Dry
  4. Do not iron


Disclaimer: Due to the nature of the print, the foil will fade, peel, or crack after wash. Even with proper care, cracking and peeling of the foil will happen over the life of the t shirt. Use washing instructions to extend the life of the print.

Price: Printing price is the same but a $3 press application fee is applied for every foil print.

gold foil print example

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How It's done

Foil printing is a great way to create a very unique screen print. The process has many more steps than just a traditional screen print but in the end it is worth. You can achieve a very flashy, highly visible print with foil transfers. 

An ink similar to the intended foil color, or an adhesive, is printed directly onto a t shirt (or garment) on a screen press. This process is pretty identical to printing a normal design. After the print, the garment is then cured through a conveyor dryer. Here is where the foil printing process differs from a regular silk screen print.

The shirt is then taken to a heat press station where a foil roll is used. The foil is cut out to size so it covers the intended design area. The foil is placed onto the shirt, shiny side up, and pressed on the apparel using an industrial heat press.

The foil is placed shiny colored side up so it fully covers the entire design area. Make sure to only place the foil over the area you want foil, otherwise it will adhere to all other spots where ink or adhesive has been layed down on the shirt. A foil resist additive is available that can be added to ink so when foil is placed over this ink and is pressed, the foil will not transfer to those spots. We find that those additives aren't the best, unfotuantely, so if you have a design similar to that then please contact us so we can provide advice to get the best out of your t shirt design. 

Check with the foil manufacturer for the proper heat press settings. The recommended settings for this particular foil roll is to set the press temperature to 300 degrees, press with medium to heavy pressure, for 10-12 seconds and peel the transfer cold. However, it is important to run your own tests before production as there are other variable that you may have to adjust for. Despite the recommended settings we found that we had the best results settings our heat press to 315 degrees, 22 seconds, with heavy pressure and peeled cold. So always test first!

Just like in this case, most foil applications are cold peel, which means that after being heat pressed, the shirt is put aside and is not peeled off until cooled. A good trick is to roll up a old shirt and rub it against the foil area to speed up the cooling process. But it is important not to rush this step as peeling the foil before it has time to cool down may cause a bad foil transfer.

Once peeled, the foil transfers onto the shirt where the design or adhesive was. And voila, you now have a foil print on a t shirt. It is a longer process than a normal printing because of the added steps but it creates a very original, shiny, look to your t shirt designs.

Beautiful isn't it?

Need a quote for foil printing?

Contact us if you were interested in adding foil to your next design. If you would like a quote, be sure to mention foil printing in the notes section. Unfortunately, since foil is a type of specialty printing, you will not be able to place an order directly online for foil so be sure to contact us so we can help!

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