Transfer foil was a complete stranger to me until a few months ago. I see so many beautiful craft projects online but I do try to limit my collection to items I will regularly use. Transfer foil is fun & there are a variety of ways to use it. I have experimented with foils & adhesives since December. The big tips I have to offer: When using heat, always give the foil 15-30 seconds to cool off and adhere before removing the transfer sheet AND when using the Deco Foil liquid adhesive, let the glue dry for 1-2 hours before applying the foil for the best results. I find it necessary to burnish some projects & I have had the best luck with using a finger or the sides of an old debit card. Too much pressure on a glue design will smoosh/flatten the shape.
I love just painting on the glue or doodling a free hand design. The foil always looks gorgeous whether it is a patchy application or a solid design.
For a precise application, I recommend double-sided scrapbook tape, double-sided stickers, or using a machine like the Anna Griffin Minc to adhere the foil to toner ink. I picked up my Anna Griffin Minc (with 150 pre-made die cuts, 50 foil sheets, 6 toner sheets, 4 glitter sheets & 3 transfer folders) from HSN for $29.95. The package was on sale for $39.95 and I had a $10 off code for a first time purchase. At this price, it was worth it for the foil sheets alone! The foil applies seamlessly to the toner ink. I have created my own cards on my computer and printed them with my laser printer to run through the Minc with foil. My only error was printing with low ink so my foil application had lines in it. I like those imperfect projects too!
Always apply the foil with the shiny/colored side facing you and the matte/silver side touching the glue. I have tried Ranger Shiny Transfer Foil in “Vintage,” ICraft Thermoweb Deco Foil in “Iridescent,” and the foils included with the Minc. I have been able to use all of the foils interchangeably. The Minc works with the Deco Foil just as well as the foil it came with. Foils are metallic and beautiful but the Deco Foil in “Iridescent” is insanely beautiful. It is holographic, color shifting and absolutely stunning!
Transfer Foil Projects
Double-Sided Scrapbook Tape & Double Sided Stickers
I found the Dazzles double-stick stickers on Amazon & I had the Scotch double-sided scrapbooking tape in my collection of decorative tapes. Using double-sided tape or stickers is the quickest way to add a touch of foil to a project. After placing the tape, remove the paper from the top, place the foil and burnish with a fingertip, debit card or bone folder before removing the transfer sheet. The stickers have no paper to peel off. Just place them, cover with foil, burnish, and remove the foil sheet. These are instant projects!
I cut the double sided tape into strips & used a hole punch to create circles. When using a foil sheet, cut it down to size or re-use the foil sheet until all of the transfer foil is gone. As always, place the foil shiny/colored side up.
Maybe it was my fault or the choice of spray glue, but I found spray adhesive to be messy & impossible to be precise. I used a paper stencil to apply the glue and then applied the foil to the glue & the stencil (it was covered in the spray.) I like the final results but find the process & application to be a little messy for my liking.
Deco Foil Liquid Adhesive
I love this glue! It needs 1-2 hours of time to set up before applying the foil but it is worth the wait! I used it to draw designs on a tote bag & paper projects and brushed it onto the tote bag, a canvas decorated with bubbles, and a pair of clean shoes. The foil will only apply as well as you apply the glue. A cheap paintbrush (my favorite) gives a more streaky application than a small, precise brush. A thicker application means a more solid coverage but if you go too thick it will leave a raised surface. They all look beautiful, it just depends on what you are trying to create.
For the paper projects, I drew/painted on the glue & let it set up a couple of hours and then applied the foil and burnished it. For the tote bag I painted on messy brush strokes (I also used Fabric Fusion glue to apply iridescent foil to the bag) and I painted on a thicker application to the shoe tips. After 2 hours, I applied the foil to the bag & shoes, heated iron to a medium (no steam) setting, covered the projects with a cloth and ironed the foil for 20-30 seconds, moving it around the whole time. I let the foil cool 30 seconds, burnished, and then removed the transfer sheets.
After applying foil to fabric/clothing projects, I have seen recommendations to wait 2-3 days before using the clothing. Hand washes or use a cold wash setting (do not place in the dryer) as heat will disrupt the foil.
Embossing Powder with Emboss It Pens or Embossing Ink
Embossing is a fun way to embellish craft projects. Stamp or draw on the ink, sprinkle sticky embossing powder on top, heat with a heat gun until glossy, and then apply the foil, waiting 15-30 seconds before removing the transfer sheet. I did not have the best luck with embossing & foil but with a little practice, I am confident I could improve my results. The problem for me is that the embossing sticky powder doesn’t have a strong enough hold for a smooth application. Burnishing the design seems to disrupt the pattern–flattening out or distorting the foiled image. When this happens, I had no trouble fixing it with some gel pens.
Anna Griffin Minc Foil Machine
Like I mentioned earlier, this option became available to me at a very reasonable cost. The foil adheres perfectly to toner ink (not inkjet) with heat when ran through the Minc. It truly looks like the words or image were printed with the beautiful foil. I cover the toner image with foil, place in a transfer sheet, and run it through the Minc on a #3 setting once for a perfect application.
Each of the foil projects was a completely different experience based on the adhesive used. Double sided tape & toner ink are the quickest & easiest ways to apply foil with a solid, opaque application. It is really fun to draw or paint with the Deco Foil liquid adhesive, the hard part is waiting the 2 hours to apply the foil! I love the finished projects and the range of options for using transfer foil.