Biely Shoaf Presents Louise Mulgrew

Get Your Foil On!

These days, foil is the overwhelmingly popular choice to add life to custom stationery creations — echoing the metallic glints found everywhere these days, from the fashion runways to other stationery pieces. It’s not hard to understand foil’s appeal: Its glittery touches add an eye-pleasing pop wherever they appear, be it surrounding a digital photo or atop of a solid surface such as a party napkin.

And foil is just one of’s many specialties; there are 15 exquisite in-stock shades from which to choose. Pair any one of them with digital printing, letterpress or thermography to add an extra dose of dazzle to hundreds of items including flat cards, folded cards, envelopes and coasters.  You can create custom foil designs or choose from a collection of stock designs, all available on a wide breadth of papers. combines the knowledge and passion derived from 65 years of printing experience with a streamlined, user-friendly experience for its design clients. There’s no waiting for quotes, no separate die charge and low minimums. Although the product is top-notch, the pricing is competitive. “When we debuted at National Stationery Show 2018, designers were thrilled by our pricing on foil items,” Marketing Director Meigan Westermann told me.

Not all foiling is created equal however, and at, craftsmanship is key. While there are different types of foil processing, does it the traditional way: hot foil stamping. This process involves a heated die stamped onto foil, which adheres to the surface of the paper and leaves the design of the die behind.

While this all sounds well and good, the foil stamping process is harder than it would appear! An encyclopedic knowledge of how the presses work is required, because there are a lot of elements that can go wrong every step of the way. As a result, operators need to be constantly on their toes.

Not only can the Heidelburg presses, which are over 100 years old, be temperamental at times, each foil stock creates variability in how the order is run. Glitter foil — a favorite choice these days — is especially tricky! Each project requires individual tweaks to the press in regards to pressure, heat and run speed.

In 2019, will debut online tutorials to help designers best understand how to successfully integrate this dynamic element into their work, but in the meantime, they shared some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

First off, when submitting a digital and foiled design, there is no need to show the digital part where file is going, Meigan said. “Designers should only give us the digital in one file, then another file with just the foil. No composite needed. Our configurator builds the composite in real time. Just upload the digital file, upload the foil file, and the configurator will combine them and provide a preview automatically.”

There are a few things to be aware of when designing for foil. When combining foil with another print process, the best way to avoid registration issues is to keep in mind that each print process can “hop” 1/16” of an inch, so the design should be flexible enough to allow for this. Fine lines and screens also don’t work well in foil. When in doubt,’s customer care team is ready to preview art and let you know before placing an order if they see any problem areas.

Obviously there is a great deal of technical knowledge and hands-on expertise required here. Rest assured your project is in good hands — and the sky is really the limit here, since recently completed a major overhaul to their foil products. Now, all sizes and all stocks of foil items can bleed on all sides.

That means there really are no borders to what you can design with this polished process, so let be your silent partner in creating your best glittery life!