Beautiful Foiling Projects with Your Laminator

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A few months ago (okay, more like 6 months ago) I showed my planner setup in my Mini Happy Planner. In that planner I have two dashboards that I made by foiling with my laminator. It is so easy and fun that I wanted to show you all how you can do it too!

How to Make Foiled Projects with a Laminator #foilingprojects #foiling #diycrafts

How to Make Beautiful Foiling Projects with Your Laminator

The best part about foiling is that once you learn how easy it is, you want to start foiling everything! I foil pages for my planners all the time. I’ve also made greeting cards and wall decorations. The possibilities are endless! For more awesome ideas, check out my Pinterest board all about foiling.

Supplies needed:

  • Laminator (I have this one and love it!)
  • Thermal & toner activated foil – I have used both Heidi Swapp Minc Foil and Deco Foil.
  • Your design, printed with a LASER PRINTER (must be toner or the foil won’t stick)!
  • Scratch paper (the thinner the better). Regular 20 lb copy paper works well for me.
  • Scissors

Extra Tips for Foiling with a Laminator

  • I have noticed that the smoother my paper is, the better the foil sticks. I use this Mohawk 28lb Paper and it is the best of anything I have tried. (Update: I don’t think the Mohawk paper is available anymore, but this HP Paper is also very smooth and I love it! It’s the one I have replaced the Mohawk paper with.)
  • Using a Toner/Laser printer is an absolute must! The foil reacts with the toner under the heat and will stick wherever there is toner. If you do not have a laser printer, you can print your design at an office supply store for usually just a few cents per page (black and white).
  • Color toner is no better than black toner. I’ve never tried it with color toner, but I’ve heard that it all works just the same. Toner is toner. But that being said, any color you print will be covered by the foil, so you won’t see any differences in color anyway. And black toner is usually cheaper and easier to find.
  • You might want to try printing at the best quality you can. I haven’t noticed a significant difference but I’ve heard of others that have better luck when they do it higher quality or on the photo setting.
  • Heidi Swapp also has planner dividers, tags, and stickers that you can use with the foil instead of printing your own.
  • Deco Foil is a little thicker than the Minc Foil. However, I’ve never noticed a difference in finished quality. They are fairly identical in results.
  • Sometimes the foil doesn’t adhere to the toner and you are left with a distressed look. This could be from the laminator not being hot enough, or can also be a result of the paper you are using (the more grit the paper has, the less foil that will stick smoothly). I actually don’t mind when this happens, because the effect still looks cool. But I wanted you to be aware that it happens. I have gotten results both ways (distressed and crisp), with both types of foil. Usually they react the same on each day so I usually attribute the difference to how hot my laminator, how many times I run the design through the machine, or my paper smoothness.

Step 1: Let Your Laminator Warm Up

Get out your laminator and turn it on. You want to do this very first because the more time it has to warm up, the better. My laminator has a two settings: 3 mil and 5 mil for the thicknesses of laminating sheets. Since 5 mil is thicker, I use that setting because it will make my laminator hotter. Also, if your laminator has a “Ready” light, let your laminator sit for at least another 10 minutes after that comes on. It will still get warmer as it stays on and you really want it as hot as it will (safely) get.

Step 2: Prep Your Foiling Sheets on Your Design

Gather your supplies and prep your design. Take the foil out of the package and take a single sheet (they often stick together and sometimes it is hard to tell if you are holding multiple sheets until you cut into it). Cut your foil to cover the part you want foiled. Leave a little extra space around the edge in case it shifts in the laminator.

The foil goes over your image with the shiny side up, dull side against the toner.

You will also want to cut your scratch paper slightly bigger than the design paper and foil. This paper is to protect the surface of the foil from the laminator so it doesn’t get damaged.

Step 3: Run Your Foiling Project Through the Laminator

Once your laminator has warmed up sufficiently (10-15 minutes should work for most machines), stack your pages with the design print on bottom, the foil over that, and the scratch paper on the top. Then run the whole stack through the laminator a few times (3-5 is what I usually do). The reason for running it through more than once is to continue to heat the foil and have it adhere to the paper better. You can experiment and see what works best for you.

How to Make Foiled Projects with Your Laminator

Step 4: Gently Peel Off the Foiling Sheet

After you have ran it through the laminator, gently peel the foil layer away from your design. The foil should be stuck where the toner is. And you are left with a beautiful piece of art to display where you wish. 🙂

How to Make Foiled Projects with Your Laminator

Let me know if you try this! I love to see your creations! What laminator do you have?

My Something Beautiful Life

 
How to Make Foiled Projects with Your Laminator

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18 Comments

  1. Hello, i love your post, thanks for sharing.

    I have followed the above and i’m having a few problems….my foil is sticking to areas which dont have toner.

    Do you know how to overcome this?

    1. Hi Kerry!

      Thank you so much!!

      How much is it sticking? Like are there little flakes or big pieces? If it is just little flakes, my guess would be that during the printing process, some flakes of toner are getting on the page (maybe they were stuck to the roller from a previous print job?). I’ve had this happen sometimes, but never consistently.

      My suggestion would be to try taking a cloth or paper towel (not wet), and wiping down the page around the printing just to remove any dust or flakes of toner that might be there.

      Let me know if it persists. Its never been a big problem for me so I’m curious what would cause it.

      1. I have the same problem. To find out if the printer is the problem, I’ve run a blank paper with foil trough the laminator and it sticks on it. How come?

        1. Hmm… that is so interesting. I haven’t had much of a problem with it sticking where there isn’t toner, never more than just a few little specks, if anything. Great idea to try it with a blank piece of paper! I’m not really sure what would cause that, but I will definitely watch more closely and if I find out anything I’ll post it here. Thank you for sharing!

      2. I have been just reading about this technique so far not tried it yet but I read somewhere you can rub a dryer sheet over your paper to help prevent sticking before you start.

  2. Hi thank you for the great info! I have been trying to foil with the deco foil and am having issues with the foil adhering to the toner on regular copy paper. Even multiple runs it still leaves small gaps. Also have you had any success with thicker paper? I tried 110 lb cotton and had 0 transfer.

    1. Hi Katharine!

      I’ve had the same problem with regular copy paper. The smooth papers tend to work MUCH better (Mohawk if you can find it, or HP Premium Choice Laser Jet Paper is another good one I’ve found more recently). I also have some really smooth cardstocks that are 110 lb that worked too. Sorry, I don’t remember the brand. I just look for the word “smooth” and always read reviews. Maybe it was because it was cotton paper?

      It also depends on how big your design is. Small designs go all the way through the laminator faster, therefore they are still hotter when they go in the 2nd/3rd times. Larger pages will start to cool as they come out before they can be put back into the laminator.

      I hope this helps and that it starts working better for you!

    1. Hi John! Nope, sadly aluminum foil cannot be used the same way. The foils I use are heat activated to stick to toner and made especially for projects like this. Hope this helps!

  3. Hello, i notice that you use just a piece of scratch paper with your toner design and foil when putting through the laminator. Is a transfer sheet not necessary? I am new to foiling.

    1. Hi Rosalind! My foil came with the clear transfer sheets but in my experience the scrap paper allows more heat to get to the foil, which allows it to stick to the toner better. I have had the transfer sheets work sometimes, but I just prefer paper. I would try it with both and see which works better for you. 😊 If you are using an actual foiling machine (like a Minc) then you may have better luck with the transfer sheets since that’s what they are made for and the foiling machines get to a higher temperature than laminators do.

    1. Hello! Thank you so much!
      I’ve had pretty similar results with both kinds. They don’t always turn out perfect, but that’s the same for both brands. And they both seem to last on the paper equally well. 🙂

    1. Yep, there are, but I’ve never tried them so I can’t say if they work or not. I’ve seen people do it with some kinds of adhesives, like Deco Foil has an adhesive pen. With that method you would write/draw and then lay down the foil over it and peel the sheet off after it dried, with the foil sticking to the part where the glue was. And Minc has a toner pen that you would use to write/draw, and then you’d still need to run it through the heat source (laminator or Minc foiling machine). Both can be found on amazon, and I’ve seen the toner pen at Hobby Lobby too.

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