How foil printing is done: Foil screen printing is a two part process that involves first printing a layer of adhesive on the garment. Once we’ve cured that adhesive ink through our conveyor dryer it is ready for step 2. Next, we heat press a sheet of foil onto the adhesive. Foil sticks to the adhesive only, leaving a shiny metallic sheen to the design that cannot be achieved with standard screen printed inks.
When the ink is pressed with heat onto a garment the ink re-melts in order for the foil to adhere. This pressure may cause small open areas to close up and for this reason we recommend against using very fine type or very fine detail with foil.
After the heat pressing is complete we opt to run the finished garment back through the conveyor dryer in order to make sure we have the strongest cure and adhesion that we can achieve. Many printers avoid this step in order to get a more mirror-like finish but we’ve found that without this step you run the risk of the foil washing out of the garment too early. This embellishment method is not as permanent as a screenprinted waterbase or plastisol ink. When done correctly we’ve found that the decoration can last well over 50 washes when treated carefully by the owner.
Feel free to learn more about this technique on our Foil Printing page.
To get a better idea, here is a video of us printing a design with one waterbase ink and a foil color.