Foil is an easy and attractive effect to use when decorating shirts. The flash and brilliance of foil makes a shirt stand out in a crowd and can increase the value of a shirt tremendously. We say foil is easy because when you use the right products it’s actually not that hard to do! Foil is best applied through a transfer process on a special foil adhesive but it can also transfer to standard plastisol and special effects plastisol. Foil transfers are fun and can make your customers mouths drop. Foil can be a very lucrative process to add to your printing operation if you are not already doing it.
To accomplish foil transfers you’ll need the following:
- Foil has two sides: a dull side and a shinny or colourful side.
- Transfer adhesion. Foil has to stick to something, it works best with a foil transfer adhesive, but can also stick to plastisol inks if printed and cured properly. See transfer application instructions below.
- Heat transfer press. Any transfer press should work, see transfer instructions below.
Foil is applied coloured side up and aluminium looking (dull) side down. Rub foil with eraser immediately after application to help remove any wrinkles. Allow transfer to cool completely (20 to 30 seconds) after application before removal of foil sheet. Pull foil sheet off slowly. It can be helpful to tint the foil adhesive, to the colour of the foil being applied, with a small amount of conventional plastisol. This process will help to keep small pinholes in the applied foil film from being noticeable. As example: Use a few grams of yellow or gold plastisol in the adhesive when using gold foil. Use a few grams of black or grey plastisol in the adhesive when using silver foil.
* The brightest foil effect will result when the foil is first removed. To achieve a textured matte finish foil, re-seal the garment or hat in the transfer press for 3-4 seconds after the foil carrier film has been removed.
138°C to 190°C / 280°F to 375°F. Try lower temperature first for best results.
4 – 9 seconds.
t-shirts = medium (35lbs.).
Sweatshirts = medium to heavy (35 psi to 60 psi).
For best durability of the foil after it is applied, it is recommended that the garment be hand washed or machine washed (delicate cycle) inside out and line or air dried. Do not use bleach. Do not iron printed area.
Two or more colours with foil transfers can be accomplished one of two ways.
Water Based or Discharge Inks.
- Foil only sticks to plastisol, so if you want foil to only stick to one part of the design, you can print foil adhesive or plastisol where you want the foil to transfer to and the rest of the design use water based or discharge inks. When transferred, foil will only stick to the plastisol area of the print.
- Foil Resist Additive. Foil resist additive can be added into plastisol at around 15% per weight to resist the foil from adhering to the plastisol ink during the transfer process.
Foil can be transferred to a wide variety of special effect inks. Depending on how the ink is printed, foil will stick to some or all of the design. It will work with puff, high density, granite base, blowout, suede and more! Crumpling the foil also creates a cool effect.
More information on Foil Adhesive:
Plastisol adhesive is used to produce brilliant metallic foil designs on textiles. The adhesive can be printed directly onto the fabric and the foil applied to the dried adhesive. The adhesive can also be printed directly on the foil as a conventional transfer would be printed (mirror image). WE RECOMMEND DIRECT PRINTING!
Designs made with adhesive may be applied to light or dark fabrics.
Application and Storage Information
100% cotton and some cotton/polyester blends.
The foil adhesive should be printed right out of the container without any modifications. Stir adhesive prior to use.
For direct printed fabrics: 325F (163C) entire ink film. For transfer printing (adhesive on foil): 240F to 275F (116C to 135C). Test dryer temperatures and wash test printed product before and during a production run.
Recommend storage at 65F to 90F (18C to 32C). Avoid storage in direct sunlight. Keep containers well sealed.