What Is Foil Stamping?
Foil stamping is a special process by which a large sheet of thin metal foil
is placed over your selected card stock, and heat and substantial pressure is
applied on the press to stamp the foil onto the card stock in the precise
shape of the die presssed down over the foil.
The die — a mold that is custom made to your specifications — is
custom-made from a light metal (typically magnesium). Dies take a few days to make (generally
a minimum of five), and upon completion of each job, the die is recycled.
For foil stamping, there are additional charges associated with making each custom
die, as specified in the
Under certain conditions, die charges are waived for magnesium dies. If die
charges apply to your job, you will be notified in advance.
In some cases, primarily due to complexity of the image required in foil (or
for some blind embossing jobs), a multiple-level die is required. These are
hand-carved out of brass, and are good for approximately one million impressions.
These typically cost between $600 and $800. These costs are passed directly to
you and are in addition to the printing or other applicable charges. Due to the
cost and sturdiness of multi-level dies, we typically retain these for one year.
Under special arrangement we could also ship the dies to you to retain. You would
then be required to ship them back to us for any reorders or new jobs using
that die. If your job requires a multi-level die, you will be notified as soon
as we see your artwork, and the job will be quoted accordingly.
Foil Stamping Guidelines, Caveats, and Pitfalls
For foil stamping to look good in the final printed piece, you should keep
several things in mind:
- All type should be a minimum of 10 points. The clearer the typeface, the
better your foil-stamped finished piece will look.
- All logos, designs, or solid lines should be at least 2 points wide.
- To avoid quality issues, fancy or curly type styles, finely detailed logos,
and very thin lines should be avoided. Foil, not ink, is being stamped onto the
finished product, and will behave accordingly. If we design a card for you from
scratch, we will ensure that the appropriate design elements are included and
we will be happy to consult with you regarding the best approach for a high-
quality foil piece. We are not responsible for smudging or blurriness of
fine print, italics, thin lines, or other elements that we recommend you
- Finely detailed logos, screens, traps, and hairline registration with ink
or with another foil are not available.
- We do not recommend using foil stamping or embossing on both sides of a card,
or foil stamping or embossing on two-sided business cards. The processes of
stamping foil or embossing a card involve putting pressure on a die from the top
of the press, which may at times leave a slight impresson visible on the verso
(back) of the card. If there is foil or embossing on the other side, the die may
have undesired effects (crushing the foil or creasing the emboss).
If you request us to produce foil stamping or embossing for
a two-sided card, or stamping or embossing both sides of a card, you understand
the risks and agree to accept them. We will not reprint an order at our own
expense based on requests from customers that we indicate are not recommended.
- If you need foil and ink in registration, a higher-quality, higher-cost
printing press is required, and other pricing applies. We are
happy to accommodate your preferred design. However, note that if the design you
want costs us substantially more to produce, it will cost you substantially
more to produce. Upgrading to the higher-end press is in some cases less expensive
as die charges are typically waived.
- Magnesium dies are one-time use only, and the die is recycled after use.
For additional print runs, the same charges would again apply.
- Only customer-supplied dies are returned, unless other arrangements have been
made in advance.
- When and if available, brass or copper dies for multiple use will be used
and retained on request. Additional charges apply.
- Custom foil stamping is available on all paper stocks, alone or in
combination with thermography or flat spot-color printing, and with 4-color
- There must be at least 1/4-inch between any ink and
the foil stamping for the pricing shown on our web site. If foil is 1/4-inch
or closer to ink, close registration charges, plus charges associated with
running the job on the higher-end Hamada press, will apply.
- Business card prices
listed on our web site are specifically for producing foil stamping on our
2-color press. These prices apply for foil-only or spot color plus foil jobs
involving two spot colors or fewer. In these cases, additional die charges
will also apply, as listed in our
section. Time in shop for foil stamping jobs on the 2-color press are a
minimum of 10 to 15 working days due to the requirement to fabricate the die.
We can also produce foil stamping on higher-end presses, which is required
for printing foil and ink in registration, for spot color printing of 3 or
more colors with foil, for printing two foils in registration, or other
conditions (such as producing digital full-color process (DFCP) printing and
foil, or fully floodcoating a card with ink plus stamping foil). Any time
we are required to use a higher-end press, you must request specific pricing.
We do not guarantee the prices indicated on our posted pricing sheet if the
parameters go beyond those listed above. (The good news is that in such
cases we typically waive die charges for one-time foil jobs).
- Blind embossing of printed areas is not available.
- Foil stamping on stationery or letterhead may not be laser-safe or
copier-safe. No certifications will be made regarding compatibility with
specific equipment. We recommend you order a small initial run to test
Foil Stamping Colors
Foil stamping colors include:
||Standard Gold (Matte)
||Standard Gold (Matte)
Foil colors marked with Ṫ are only available on our high-end press.
Foil colors marked with * are only available on our two-color press.
Foil colors marked with ** are only available on our two-color press,
and are subject to a $40 surcharge.
For our high-end press, other foils are available via special order. If you
provide us with foil manufacturer name, foil color and stock number, we can quote
you pricing for special orders. Typically add an additional 5 days in shop for
Additional Costs Associated With Dies
Additional die charges are associated with all foil stamping or embossing work
produced on the two-color press.
See pricing notes
for specific details. For each card stock, foil stamping or embossing is given its
own row (based on whether ink colors are also required) in each pricing matrix.
For more information, see
Business Card Printing Prices.
Additional Time Requirements
While most of our business card orders can be shipped within 48 hours of
receipt of the final artwork, foil stamping (or embossing) requires custom-made
dies and additional care with regard to any printing that must occur in
combination with using dies.
As a result, for any order requiring custom dies,
turn-around time for all foil stamping or blind embossing jobs
require a minimum of 15 days in-house. Remember to extend this figure to
include shipping. We can sometimes improve on this time, but there is no
guarantee. This is not within our control.
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