How to apply spot foil and spot UV coating in-house from 15¢ a sheet

sydneystonedigifoil2-inIn this special feature, Sydney Stone, a leading Canadian distributor of print finishing equipment and supplies worldwide, examines how to apply spot foil and spot UV coating in-house from 15¢ a sheet.

Mounting your foil on your laminator.
Mounting foil on your laminator.

One of the most popular print-finishing technologies on the market today is the application of foil and/or UV coatings to printed pieces. These special effects are visually impressive, elegant, and at the same time protect your printed pieces. Most importantly, they add enormous value for your clients. Coatings also provide protection from moisture, scuffing, scratching and fingerprints. They can be applied as a flood coating (covering an entire printed sheet) or as a spot coating (covering only selected areas of the sheet) to one or both sides of a printed piece to create a glossy or a dull finish. UV coatings are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light that quickly dries and then hardens them.

Steps to foiling/spot UV coating

Materials you need

  • DigitalFOIL Gold
  • DigitalFOIL Silver
  • DIGITALspotcoat
  • SoftTouch OPP laminating film

Tools you need

  • A laminator with adjustable pressure, speed control, temperature control and take-up roller.
Digital foil application before and after.
Digital foil application before and after.

How to create a complete image with spot DIGITALfoil or DIGITALspot coating on the image

STEP 1: Print your image on a card stock sheet of paper (not including the image to be foiled/coated).

STEP 2: Laminate your sheet using Sydney Stone SoftTouch OPP laminating film.

STEP 3: Print the image on top of the laminate that you would like to be foiled/coated. When using DIGITALfoil, the image must be printed in 100% black, not a mixture of CMYK (see above).

STEP 4: Install DIGITALfoil on your laminator.

Sydney Stone InstaFoil Gold.
Sydney Stone InstaFoil Gold.

Laminators have various differences in pressure, speed and heat, so be sure to check these out. Ensure that the foil is webbed so the colour you want to finish on top of the sheet (such as silver, etc.) is facing upward. Process your sheet as you would when laminating – use the take-up roller on your laminator to take up the release liner for the DIGITALfoil or DIGITALcoat.

Important questions answered

  1. Why do I need to laminate? We laminate in order to create the separation of the image. If we did not laminate, our DIGITALfoil and DIGITALspotcoat would adhere to all of the toner on the sheet. This is what helps us create this effect.
  1. What if I have a business card and I want the logo on the back to be 100% coated? Do I still need to laminate? In cases like this, there’s no need to laminate if you want the entire product to be DIGITALfoil covered or DIGITALclear covered. Therefore, you can skip the stage of laminating and overprinting.
  1. Sydney Stone InstaFoil Silver.
    Sydney Stone InstaFoil Silver.

    What if the foil is spreading all over the sheet? If this is happening, you either need to reduce your temperature, increase your speed or reduce your roller pressure.

  1. What about my yellow security code? If you print in colour, you will have your yellow security code printed on the sheet and the foil will adhere to it. Confirm with your location technician, however, when you print with 100% black. This can be turned off. This is why it’s important to make your black 100% black – not a mixture of CMYK.
  1. What is the DIGITALfoil made from? This is a Sydney Stone propriety product that’s been sourced specifically for this application. It’s proven to work with all digital print engines, regardless of the manufacturer.

    Start applying spot foil/UV coating

    Sydney Stone InstaFoil Gloss (Green).
    Sydney Stone InstaFoil Gloss (Green).

    You can start practicing this application today.  We can send you samples of instaFoil Gold, Silver and Cleargloss sheets for as low as $15.

    This will give you the opportunity to attempt the application and see first-hand what value this finish can create for your customers.

    Please give us permission to contact you to arrange delivery of the samples by clicking here: Order Samples.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.