What is Foil Blocking? 

Top Tips for Using Fabulous Foil Blocking

What is Foil Blocking?

Foil blocking a little bit like potato printing but more advanced! It uses a metal die (like a stamp) which has had the design for the foiled area etched on to it. The die (or block) is then heated and stamped under pressure onto your product with a ribbon of coloured foil sandwiched between the two. Result - the material is branded with a beautiful metallic finish. For the ultimate in super shiny detail foil blocking will give you a much better result than metallic inks.

Foil blocking colours are not limited to silver or gold – in fact you would probably be surprised how many colours and styles of foil are available, including holographic foil, transparent foil and matt foil.

There is lots of information here to help you with getting your artwork right first time, but please contact us for further clarification and help.

Get the best results when including foil blocking in your design;

Foil blocking really needs clear black and white line art as this is what will be used to create the blocking die. Whilst designs with intricate patterns or tight spacing can achieve excellent results on coated or smooth paper stocks, fine detail may not reproduce clearly on heavily textured paper stocks as the foil can ‘fill in’.

Design with a little tolerance for mis-registration

Because foil blocking requires the application of heat and pressure, the registration of print can vary by ±1 mm. This means you should expect the foiled area to move around the page by up to ±1mm. If you are intending to cover a printed shape with a defined edge, then the foiled area should overlap the printed edge by 1 mm to allow for any variation in the registration.

Foil Example

Don't try to align fine detail

Foil blocking is not suited to alignment with fine detail, such as small type, or shapes with thin lines.

1. avoid positive lines thinner than 0.5mm, and

2. avoid reversed-out lines thinner than 2 mm.

For the best results don’t attempt to match the foiling to a pre-printed area, rather treat it as an individual design element in its own right.
Avoid foil blocking on small text. Fine fonts, particularly those with Serifs or tapered lines do not produce good results. The thinnest part of the font must be 1mm in width.

Avoid extending areas of foil over the page edge

It is recommended to avoid extending foiling to the edge of the page as the foil can ‘chip’ once the job has been guillotined.

For best results use vectored artwork for Foil Blocking

When supplying artwork for foil blocking it is recommended that vectored artwork files are supplied, normally created in Illustrator or InDesign. This ensures the file is not made of dots (rastered), for a smoother finish, particularly on small, intricate areas or fine text. Contact us for more information.

Solid Foiling only; no tints

Foiling cannot be specified as a gradient or tint, i.e. a changing tint from 100% to 0% over an area of artwork.

Bespoke Pricing

Foil blocking prices consist of the cost of the die and then foil, which is based upon how wide the foil ribbon is, plus the actual production time. Prices will always vary and cannot be 'guesstimated'. Accurate pricing will normally require sight of the artwork/area to be foil blocked. Please contact us for foil pricing on your project.

Be Inspired!

See what you can achieve by adding foil to your printing. Click here for some great examples.