Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.
Hot Foil Machines Are a Good Investment
There is something about a foiled card that makes every project just that more elegant. Foiled cards have become very popular recently and with the popularity comes all different types of machines. Then the comes the choice that you need to make about which machine is right for you.
There are two kinds of craft foiling. One is cold press.(that is foiling without heat). The other is hot press foiling. That is the application of heat to apply the foil. That is what the foiling machines do-the hot press method.
There are basically two types of foiling machines. One is like a laminator. The laminator like machines use a design that is made on a laser printer first. Then the image is run through the laminator. You can use a specialized machine that is like a laminator made for foiling or you can use an office laminator.
The second type of machine is a platform machine, These machines are generally made to be used with specific die cutting / embossing machines. These types of foiling machines are platforms where the dye is heated and then run through the die cutting machine. No laser printer is needed.
Let's start with the basic premise that some machines foil on images that are made on a laser printer. So, the first step in your journey to foiling is to see if your printer is a laser printer. If not is that something that you want to invest in, or do you want to use a machine that does not use a laser printer.
Laser printers start at $49.00 and go up from there. Many of the foiling machines recommend a small home laser printer. You will also see that they are called color inkjet printers. It does not need to be fancy. All the major printers make them, so if this is something that you are interested in, comparison shop for the best deal.
Platform foil machines work differently. They heat a die. Foil is placed on top of the die and then the die and foil are run through a die cutting/press machine to complete the process. Most of these platforms are manufactured to work with a specific machine. So if you have the machine that the platform foil machine is made for, you are ahead of the game.
What To Consider When Buying A Foiling Machine
You are going to be making an investment when you purchase a foiling machine, there are a few things to consider when making your choice.:
Price-What is your personal threshold for spending on one of these machines. No matter which one you chose, figure in the price of shipping and handling in your final price. For example, if you were a Prime member on Amazon you would not be paying shipping, so you might figure that into figuring out the price on the model you have decided to purchase. Try typing in the browser, Best buy on ;;;;;;;;;;;;
What other equipment will you need? If you are planning on a laminating machine, you would have to figure the price of a laser printer into the equation. If you wanted to get a platform type of foiling machine, you would have to get a die cutting machine to match. Sit down and think about what you have available and decide which way to go
Space- Think about where you will be crafting and what and where you will put any additional equipment. Think about electrical outlets and how you will store what you purchase.
Use-One of the things that I always think about is once I have the machine, will I actually use it on a regular basis.
Foil- Another thing to consider is what kind of foil will the machine use? If a particular machine will only be used with the maker foil, that may limit you to one type of foil. I tend to like to find the best buy when it comes to supplies.
Comparison Of Foil Machines
|Name Of Foiling Machine||Features||Average Cost|
Gemini Foil Press
Works with the Gemini Junior Cutting and Die Machine.( there is an adapter for the Gemini full sized machine) Does not need a laminator, Works with dies and embossing plates. This is a plate heating system.
Needs a laser printer. Can also be used as a cold and hot laminator as well as foil laminator. Comes with a carrier sheet and a roll of foil.
This is a heat platform system. Includes a power cord, a heating platform, a silicone protection mat, foil and a tool and an instruction booklet
This is a platform hot foil machine manufactured to be used with a Platinum or Platimum 6 Spellbinders die cutting machine. It comes with the platform, a power cord,, heat resistant acrylic shims, silicone heating pad,foil and two starter plates
Needs a laser printer. Has 6 different heat settings, Comes with transfer sheet and one roll of foil
We Are Memory Keepers Foil Quill
Comes as a single quill or as a bundle, The bundle is a better buy, Does not need a laser printer, Is made to work with your electronic cuttimg machine, The single quill is a pen and a foil roll, The bundle includes three pens,( a standard, sine and bold pen),three rolls of foil,a magnetic plate and some placement tape.
Single Quill-$49 Bundle is $90
Cricut Foil Transfer Tool
Made to be used with the Cricut Explore and Maker machines (will not be compatible with the Cricut Joy) It is integrated with the Cricut Design Platform. Used with the Cricut foils
Priced at $40 with a bundle that includes some foil sheets
Do You Have A Foiling Machine?
Types of Craft Foils
You always want to be sure of the type or types of foils that are compatible with your specific machine. Check the instruction or owners manual to know which foil or foils are right for your machine. Using the wrong foil can cause a disaster.
- Heat Foil- You need a high heat source to get this foil transferred onto your project. This is a very shiny foil
- Reactive Transfer Foil-Uses heat with a reactive agent, specialized transfer gel, transfer paint, or ink toner, you can transfer foil onto your project. This type of foil would be most often used with a heat laminator or a Minc machine.
- Adhesive Foil-These foils have a tacky surface ( has liquid adhesive or adhesive sheets) The foil transfers onto the tacky surface in the shape or design of the adhesive.
Foil With A Laminator
Yes you can use a laminator to foil. There are certain things about laminating foil sheets.
- If you have a pouch laminator, it must have variable speed and temperature settings. The heat setting should be at least 300 degrees.
- Your design must be printed with toner ink (from a laser printer or copier)
- You need a laminator with heat rollers rather than heat plates
- The laminator needs to be able to handle thick pouches of a minimum of 10ml.
There are lots of choices when it comes to laminators. Some have both hot and cold laminating, which makes them more useful around your home. If you are planning to so 12"x 12" scrapbook pages, you will want a laminator that is 13". You can expect to pay anywhere from $21-$60. Then if you do not have a laser printer, you would have to figure that into the price.
Laminator As A Foiling Machine
You have the option of using a laminator as your foiling machine. You can use stencils and stamps with a laminator to create foiling techniques. You can use transfer gels and sheets with foil and a laminator to create foiling projects without any other machine involved. This would be for mostly paper, but provides a simple option if you are more of a paper crafter.
More Laminator Information
- 4 Best Laminators for Foiling | Binding101.com
The best laminators for foiling will have: adjustable heat & speed, reach 300° F, and take 10mil pouches. Here is a list of the top 4 pouch laminating machines for foil.
- Beautiful Foiling Projects with Your Laminator - My Something Beautiful Life
Foiling with your laminator is easy and fun! The possibilities for planner decorations and accessories or DIY home art are endless!
- Foiling With A Laminator
See how to use a laminator to foil in paper crafts
Foil Quill Freestyle Pens
Free Style Foiling Pen
The Free Style Foiling Pen is exactly what it sounds like. It is a pen that you can use with foil. You plug it in and use it. No extra machines or printers required. It is similar to the Heat Wave pen with a few extras.
You add a tip to the pen and create as you wish. The tip choices include standard, fine, bold and calligraphy. You can write or draw at will.
You can purchase them individually or as a set. You will need a USB battery pack or adapter.
You can foil with this pen on almost any surface, The product comes as a single pen or a bundle with multiple pens.
If you are not an artist or calligrapher, you can still use the pen with stencils. You can also use stamps with Stazon inks that you can trace.
There are specialized script stencils that can be used with this tool.
- No extra machines
- Very portable
- Free style design only
- Limited to what you can draw or write
- Heat Foil
We Are Memory Keepers Foil Quill
The Foil Quill actually uses your electronic cutting machine to foil your projects. It actually attaches to it and works with it. You can use the designs from your cutting machine program. No special printers needed here.
The All In One Kit contains everything that you need to get started. It has three tips-standard, bold and fine, foil, 4 adapters, a washi tape roll and a heat protection plate.You can use this unit with Brother, Silhouette, Cricut and Sizzix machines.
You can also buy the pens individually
You can attach the paper and foil with tape, or a special magnetic mat.
There are also available a collection of thumb drives (fir additional costs) that are files that you can upload to your machine. These files are specifically made for the Foil Quill.
One thing to know about the Foil Quill is that if you use it with a Cricut, you will void your warrenty. Which is not a problem if you have an older machine.
- Outstanding options in design
- You can purchase more SVG sets made for the pen
- Attaches to your machine
- No laminators or other machines required
- Does not cut the image
- The foil must be very tight for the pen to work properly
More Foil Quill Tips And Projects
- How to Create Scratch Off Tickets with Cricut Maker- So Fontsy
How to Create Scratch Off Tickets with Cricut Maker Today we are going to learn how to make scratch off tickets using your Cricut Maker. I am going to create Scratch Off Cards for Summer using the Popsicle Bundle from the So Fontsy Must Have Summer B
- The New Foil Quill & Tips to Get You Started!
Information and ideas to help you get started with the Foil Quill. Lots of tips and ideas
- How to Use the Foil Quill - Hey, Let's Make Stuff
The Foil Quill is a revolutionary heating tool that works in all major cutting machines to beautifully foil projects on a variety of materials!
Foil Quill Tips
There are a few tips that will help you get the most from your Foil Quill. These are the things that I have found most useful
- Use the Magnetic Mat. Unless you buy a bindle as I did, the Magnetic Mat is a separate purchase. However, I personally, would not be without it. It makes the process so much easier. Both the paper and the foil stay and stretch much easier than trying to use tape,
- Use a phone charger instead of a USB cord. Trying to find a port and stretching that short piece of cord is next to impossible.
- Move the wheels away from the project. make sure the star wheels are not right on top of the foil as it might rip the foil or leave foil marks on the paper. Therefore, it’s best to move the star wheels so they’re either on the washi tape (used to stick the foil onto the material) or on the card stock
- Avoid projects that are very small or intricate. The smaller the project, the more likely the foil will rip.
- Let the pen cool between projects. Remember, the pen is heat-activated. If you keep using it for more than 30 minutes, it will start ripping the foil.
- Reduce the design size. Ensure the size of the design it at-least an inch smaller than the foil to allow enough room for the washi tape because the pen does not work over the washi tape and your design would end up incomplete.
Heidi Swap Minc
The Heidi Swap Minc has been one of the most popular foiling machine on the market. It has 6 settings for different materials. It can be used with paper up to 12" by 12' which means that you can also do scrapbook pages. There is also a 6 inch size.
Comes with a transfer folder that is 6" by 12", gold foil and an instruction manual.
While generally you would use a toner image, you can also purchase specialized transfer gel, transfer paint, and even transfer toner ink pens.
Reactive Transfer Foil
- Has two different sizes to chose from-smaller one good for cards only. Larger one would do scrapbook pages
- Multiple setting for different materials. Changes the pressure to fit the material you are using.
- No extra shims required
- Makes better images than a laminator
- Must have a laser printer
- Price point somewhat higher
More Minc Information
- Heidi Swapp | MINC
Learn about the Minc and the accessories that go with it.
- Minc Fact Sheet
Questions and answers about the Minc machine.
Minc Tips And Tricks
The Gemini Foilpress was made to be used with the Gemini Junior die cut/embossing machine. It can be used with the original Gemini but will need an extender plate. It cannot be used with any other Gemini machine.
You heat the dies on a platform and then apply the foil. Once you have done that, you run the die and your foil in a similar sandwich that you would normally use, just adding a metal plate to the mix.
This unit has a cool down as well as an auto shutoff feature.
There are three functions that this foiling machine is able to do:
- Foil Stamp dies will deboss the paper and applies foil hot stamping to your project
- Foil Stamp And Cut dies adds foil hot stamping and cuts in the same pass
- Thin Metal dies can be turned into a foil stamp
- You can use dies and embossing folders that you all ready have
- You can actually foil materials like cotton
- Multifunctional unit There are stamp and cut dies as well as dies that place foiled image
- No printer needed
- Will basically only work with Gemini Junior, but if you have a large Gemini, there is an adaptive plate to purchase
- Cut images will require extra dies
- Limited size to the plate size
More Gemini Foilpress Information
- The Card Grotto: VIDEO | Gemini FoilPress Machine - Review & Play
A review of the Foil Press
- How to Apply Transfer Foil with the NEW Gemini Foilpress
How to Apply Transfer Foil with the NEW Gemini Foilpress! Add foil to handmade cards, invitations and paper crafting! Easy DIY Craft Tutorial Idea.
Glaminator Foil Machine
The Glaminator from Xyron is very similar to a regular laminator You print your design on a laser printer. It is specifically made for foil application, but can also be used as a regular laminator.
They have their own line of foils which are recommended for use with this machine. (they state that other foils can be used, but you will void the warranty)
You will recieve one transfer carrier and one roll of gold foil.
- Single unit
- Very good price point
- Easy to use
- Can also do other hot and cold thermal projects
- Can use other toner reactive foils
- Can only use with laser printers
- Not able to use die cuts or embossing folders
More information, Tips And Glaminator Ideas
- Craft Ideas With The Glaminator
Learn how the Glaminator can be used in paper crafting
- How To Make A Foil Print With The Glaminator
Another technique idea for the Glaminator
Go Press Foiling System
Go Press Foiling Machine
This platform machine has a few more features that others. One of the things that it does is that you can work with embossing folders as well as dies.You can also letter press with it. It can be used with most die cutting/embossing machines, To create the effects, the GoPress works in conjunction with Hot Foil Stamps (a metal stamp that heats up), any normal thin cutting dies, and embossing folders, and you can use it without heat as a stamp press with rubber and acrylic stamps.
The GoPress and Foil machine is compatible with most popular machines, including the Couture Creations GoCut and Emboss, Sizzix BigShot, Cuttle Bug, Ebosser, Cut n Boss, Spellbinders Platinum, docrafts Xpress and some others in the market
You get the base, the hot plate heating platform, silicone protector mat, a magic tool, foil sampler, instruction book, 3 hot foil stamps.
- Works with many of the manual die cut machines
- Unit is small
- No special printer needed
- Limited in the type of foils that you can use
- Needs a magnetic shim to get a better image
- Limited to the size of image
- Cannot make any foil and cut
The Hot Glimmer is made by Spellbinders. It is a platform hot foil machone.
It includes the hot foil machine, a power cord, heat resistant acrylic shim, thin heat resistant acrylic spacer shim, silicone cooling pad, tweezers, two rolls of foil, and two starter hot foil plates (frame & sentiment)
Can be used with the following Die Cut Machines:
- Spellbinders Platinum, Platinum 6
- Deep Sea Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
- Sizzix BigShot
- Sizzix BigKick
- Sizzix Big Shot Plus
- Sizzix Big Shot Express
- Tim Holtz Vagabond
- We R Memory Keepers Evolution
- RG Amaze
- Craftwell eBosser
- No laminator needed
- Two step system to get results
- Has a limited size capability
More About The Glimmer
- Introducing Spellbinders Glimmer Hot Foil System - Spellbinder Blog
Everything you need to know about the Glimmer
- Glimmer Foil Machine - Jennifer McGuire Ink
Hello! Today I am sharing lots of techniques you can do with the new Spellbinders Glimmer Foil Machine. If you are a fan of adding shine to your cards (like I am!), this machine may be for you.
Cricut Foil Transfer Kit
Cricut Foil Transfer Tool
In 2020 Cricut came out with it's own foiling system and on day 1, it sold out !
The system is meant to be used with the Cricut Explore and Maker electronic cutting machines. It is compatible with the Design Space computer program.
Unlike other systems that use heat, this is a system that uses pressure to get the foil on the paper. The Cricut foiling sheets are designed to adapt to the pressure and should be used.
The foiling tool comes with three tips that fit into the "B" clamp of the Cricut machine within the housing that holds it on the machine.
There are three tips for this system- a fine, medium and a bold.
The package comes with the three points, the housing unit. 12 pieces of foil and tape to hold the foil on your mat.
- No additional machines needed
- No additional electric connections needed
- Works with Design Space
- No heat involved
- Only works with Cricut machines
- Requires Cricut foil
More About The Cricut Foil Tool
- 1st Multi Colored Foiling Project with Cricut Foiling Kit - YouTube
Multi colored foiling project
- How to Use the Cricut Foil Transfer System - YouTube
In this video you'll learn how to use the Cricut Foil Transfer tool to make a gift card. We'll take you through how to design using Design Space software, how t...
Final Thought On Hot Foil Machines
There are a lot of choices when it comes to Hot Foil Machines. It is an investment, but I have always wanted to step my paper crafts with foil. It is fin to use the cold foil techniques for sure. But the hot foil machines, take it a step above that. There are so many choices when it comes to using foils. So many pretty colors to be used. Take some time to decide what machine is right for your circumstances. And then enjoy your new machine !
© 2020 Linda F Correa
Have you considered a Foil Machine? Do you own one? We would love to hear your thoughts
Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on June 25, 2020:
This I started as I was deciding which foiling tool was best for my use. Everyone is different, so I wanted to offer options for everyone to consider. For me, the Foil Quill was the answer. I have to say, the foiling is going to be my new obsession. Hope you move forward towards getting the right system for you ! Thanks for the comment. And Happy Crafting !
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on June 24, 2020:
Another great article with lots to consider when trying foiling. I am a terrible craft hoarder. I rarely dip my toe in- I need to have everything relating to a craft before I try it, and then it can sit in a box for years if I'm not that keen on it. I have a laminator already, so may get a cheap laser printer to try and mess around with. Thanks again for sharing.