T-Shirt Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Using Foil on Your Garments as a Special Effect


Photo by @Rodney - printing by @Dan K

Foil can be that added value to a garment that will put a smile on your customer’s face, and put more money into your own pocket. Despite the ease of application, foil is not a commonly used product in most custom screen printing shops. My daughter, as a college student and screen printing entrepreneur, just sold dresses to her sorority with silver foiled Greek letters. The girls were amazed at the results.

To accomplish the task you will need foil that comes by the roll, plastisol ink or foil adhesive, and a good quality heat press. This will be all you need to apply foil to any shirt. Foil comes in a variety of colors with metallic finishes.

Foil is most commonly available in 12” wide by 200’ rolls. You will cut the foil from the roll with scissors to the required shape and size. Foil will adhere to both plastisol ink and to foil adhesive. You also have the option of using plastisol transfers for foil application. When using transfers for foil application, be sure to use a cold peel process with no ink remaining on the transfer sheet. You can use a similar color as the foil to hide any future chipping of the foil, or other base colors for special effects.

In preparation for the application process, set your heat press to 325-350 F, and a medium to high pressure. As with any process, testing is always recommended for the best time and temperature on your equipment. Experiment here. Just the right temperature and pressure may vary in your shop, and may vary depending upon the actual foil color.

Load a printed shirt on the heat press platen and then lay the foil sheet, COLOR SIDE UP, over the print area. Cover the entire foil sheet with parchment paper to keep the edges of the foil from curling under heat before we apply pressure with the heat press.

Close the press for 10-15 seconds when using a direct plastisol or foil adhesive print, and 2-5 seconds when using an already applied plastisol transfer. Open the heat press slowly and allow the garment to cool on the platen for 5-10 seconds. Lift the shirt carefully from the heat press platen and gently shake with the foil still attached for further cooling and maximum adhesion. Peel away the foil sheet to see the finished product. Foil will stick only to the garment where it contacts the plastisol or foil adhesive. Any remaining foil on the carrier sheet is still usable for future work.

Once you know you’re getting good adhesion of the foil to your selected garments, you can apply the foil to the shirt, heat press it, and then set aside to fully cool. Be sure and do a few shirts first to be sure your adhesion is good

between ink/adhesive and foil before preparing and setting aside an entire order of shirts.

For a special multi-media effect, use plastisol or foil adhesive where you want the foil to adhere, and print the rest of the graphic with water base ink. Foil will not stick to the water base ink so this part of the image will show through as a color graphic. The result will be a printed garment with foil accents.

For another special effect, squeeze the foil into a ball, color side out, before heat pressing onto the plastisol or foil adhesive. The result will be a cracked and weathered antique effect on your shirts. This can get a little messy, so be prepared for a bit of foil to get around your work area as it breaks loose from the carrier sheet. You can use plastisol puff as the underbase adhesive for an interesting raised foil effect. Again, you can use a color that matches the foil color, or a contrast such as black puff and gold foil.

Applying foil to your shirts is a fairly easy process with just a little practice. And can add real dollar value to any garment you produce for your customers.

Terry Combs is a 30+ year veteran of the screen printing industry. He is an industry teacher and consultant through the website TerryCombs.com, offering hands on and online classes. And, he is the owner of the screen printing supply company, GarmentDecoratingSupply.com.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Terry, Thanks for all the great detailed breakdown. As usual, however, I tend to have atypical problems. Earlier this year. I tried a long run of shirts attempting spot areas of foil. First attempt was with foil resist to get the foil to not stick to the some of the plastisol. Result, foil still stuck aggressively to the plastisol with the foil resist as well as the foil adhesive when used as directed at 300 to 320 degrees for 10 to 15 seconds. NOTE: tried several different flash/curing times before heat pressing foil as well. Ink and adhesive dry to touch but still slightly tacky as instructed.

NOTE: I did read in several places that the resist wasn't 100% reliable, so then tried water based ink where I didn't want foil to stick and I probably had the only shirts in the world that the foil stuck to the darn water based too. Go figure. Finally just wound up redesigning and isolating areas where foil accents were to not touch any other area of ink. Only plausible idea for a cause. . . I didn't have an air-forced flash dryer in my shop to cure the water based ink enough before attempting the foil transfer. I had to use my regular infrared flash unit. Anyone agree that could have been the cause for the water based fiasco at least.

Jobs long come and gone, but figured I'd resurrect my search for a solution when I saw this thread. I've got a gallon of foil adhesive and 1 roll of every color foil under the sun that it looks like I'll never use.

USED: Ryonet Supplied Foil. IC coatings foil adhesive. IC coatings foil resist. Ryonet Enviroline Opaque Water Based Ink. Black Gildan 100% Cotton T's.

Thanks to anyone with any constructive advice.;)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
837 Posts
Thanks Terry for the good article, and Rodney for crediting us on the foil picture!!!

First attempt was with foil resist to get the foil to not stick to the some of the plastisol. Result, foil still stuck aggressively to the plastisol with the foil resist as well as the foil adhesive when used as directed at 300 to 320 degrees for 10 to 15 seconds. NOTE: tried several different flash/curing times before heat pressing foil as well. Ink and adhesive dry to touch but still slightly tacky as instructed.

NOTE: I did read in several places that the resist wasn't 100% reliable, so then tried water based ink where I didn't want foil to stick and I probably had the only shirts in the world that the foil stuck to the darn water based too. Go figure. Finally just wound up redesigning and isolating areas where foil accents were to not touch any other area of ink. Only plausible idea for a cause. . . I didn't have an air-forced flash dryer in my shop to cure the water based ink enough before attempting the foil transfer. I had to use my regular infrared flash unit. Anyone agree that could have been the cause for the water based fiasco at least.

USED: Ryonet Supplied Foil. IC coatings foil adhesive. IC coatings foil resist. Ryonet Enviroline Opaque Water Based Ink. Black Gildan 100% Cotton T's.
You're right, foil resist is not 100% reliable. We typically found that foil would still apply when the resist was added, even with a full cure.

Water base ink should work, that is the best solution, we have never had an issue with water base at all.

I would imagine that not having the fully cured water base print by the time you applied the foil to the design was the issue there. We've never had that problem, but have also never tried to press on uncured WB inks... That could have been your issue with the resist too... That being said, we give our foil adhesive/ink a full cure before applying the foil too, it works for us both ways (fully cured or gel cured).

Finally, you will find different results with different products. We like Ryonet and buy from them, but not everything. The best foil you can get in our opinion comes from a manufacturer called Crown Roll Leaf - we purchase direct from them. We've tested the Ryonet stuff, and Crown Roll yields better results for us. Also, try some standard plastisol inks with foil resist in them too. Foil adhesive works, but standard plastisol inks work just as well, and you can print a similar color behind the foil to hide imperfections.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top