What is Hot Foil Stamping?


A hot stamping or foil stamping print uses pre-dried ink or foils to transfer images onto a surface at high temperatures. In the 19th century, the method gained prominence as a variety of processes were incorporated into it.

This technique is an amazing that gets used in various industries to enhance the appeal of their products. From foods to cosmetic products, we can see foil stamping to give products a luxurious feel. Plus, you can also find foiling on various bank notes, greeting cards, custom boxes and other commercial products to catch the eye of potential target audiences.

What is the process of hot foil stamping?

Heat and pressure are used to stamp metallic foils or holograms on a wide range of materials, including light papers, cartons, laminated boards, plastics, and corrugated cardboard.

A hot foil stamping process includes:

  • Basic flat foil stamping
  • Deep embossing or embossing with foil stamping
  • Foil stamping with micro and structural embossing
  • Hologram and holographic foil application

Hot foil stampers

Hot foil stamping is made up of several layers. These layers consist of lacquer, image and metal layers, and an outer adhesive sizing layer. Hot foil stamping involves a heated die pushing foil against a counter plate or counter cylinder that supports the substrate. When the release layer melts, the foil is aided in attaching itself to the substrate by both this pressure and the adhesive sizing. Hot foil stamping dies are primarily made from brass and are either etched or engraved with hand work or CNC equipment.

Most Popular Types of Foil:

  • Metallized Foil: The most common type, providing a bright, shiny metallic finish. Popular choices include gold and silver, but a wide range of colors are available.
  • Pigment Foil: Frequently used on plastics and paper, known for its flat, opaque, non-metallic color.
  • Effects Foil: Offers a variety of creative options beyond single colors, including stripes, sparkles, light diffractions, holographic patterns, and even the look of stone or wood grain.
  • Holographic Foil: Often used for security features on credit cards, seals, and IDs, thanks to its unique visual appeal and ability to be precisely registered.
  • Scratch-Off Foil: Used to conceal information like PINs and prizes, this foil is designed to be easily removed by scratching.
  • Signature Panel Foil: Commonly used to create the designated signature area on the back of credit cards.

Operating Principles for Foiling:

There are three main methods of hot foil stamping:

  • Flat-Flat Foil Stamping: Works similarly to flatbed die-cutters, using flat surfaces for both the die and counterplate. This method is known for its ease of setup and the availability of tooling.
  • Round-Flat Hot Foil Stamping: Uses a rotating cylinder in place of the flat counterplate. This method is well-suited for smaller production runs and limited series.
  • Round-Round Hot Foil Stamping: Employs a rotary system with two cylinders rotating in sync. This method offers the highest production speeds and allows for the application of extremely fine details alongside larger design elements.


  • Flat-Flat Hot Foil Stamping: Easy setup and readily available tooling.
  • Round-Flat Hot Foil Stamping: Ideal for smaller runs and limited series.
  • Round-Round Hot Foil Stamping: Delivers very high production speeds and allows for the application of extremely fine details next to large solids.

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