Heat Foiling for CalligraphersMar 22, 2023
Heat foiling is a fabulous option for calligraphers to add their beautiful script, flourishes, florals, and other designs to leather, paper, and fabric products. While I don't tend to do much foiling, it's not because I don't think it's a great option, it's simply because I don't tend to get many requests to do calligraphy on leather or fabric items. But, when I am asked, heat foiling is always my recommended medium.
Heat foiling permanently bonds the metallic foil to the substrate. It won't rub off or scratch off. It has a beautiful metallic luster making it a much more elegant choice than acrylic paint on these surfaces for calligraphy personalization.
Recently, I have gotten quite a few messages with questions about my foiling tools and supplies (which is funny because I really never post foiling pics). So, this seemed like the easiest way to just swoop it all up at once: supply recommendations, tool choice pros and cons, foil quality control, drafting techniques, determining temperature settings, foiling leather, paper, and fabric. That’s all I could think of to include!
In the course, I show you:
- my tools and supplies.
- how to do quality control on your heat foil (so you don't have gaps in your foiling)
- my temperature settings and, more importantly, how to know for yourself what setting is best.
- my two favorite drafting techniques.
- foiling on handmade paper and satin ribbon (as examples, they are not the only paper/fabrics you can foil).
- an example of elaborate foiling you can do if you actually practice (much more than I do).
Thank you so much for joining me! I love this community and have learned soooo much from my fellow calligraphers.
If you don't want to watch the demo and just want to know what I use, knock yourself out.
HEAT FOILING TOOL
- This is the professional unit I have: TEKCHIC 60W Professional Wood Burning Kit (double)*
I purchased my Tekchic wood burning tool years ago. It's been very reliable and definitely has an industrial quality and appearance to it. The only thing it's ever done weird is occasionally the LED display will not properly reflect my heat adjustment (like it gets stuck on some number). A quick flip on and off of the power switch has always remedied this so I just shrug and carry on.You can certainly save money and get the single handpiece version: TEKCHIC 60W Professional Wood Burning Kit (single)*
- If you just want the entry-level usb pen to get you started as a hobby: Foil Quill Freestyle Starter Kit*
Later in my heat foiling, We R Memory came out with the FoilQuill pens. They are nice an portable but are limited in their use as they have no heat control and don't get hot enough for all the types of work I need to be able to do with foiling. That said, they work great for simple projects and are a fun entry level tool.
- I just discovered another simple USB option that is a great inexpensive entry-level tool: Kingtool Hot Foil Embossing Pen*
It comes with multiple tips which includes a very fine point tip. Like the FoilQuill, it only has a power switch with no temperature control. It worked well on faux leather... only time will tell how well it works on other projects.
- Hot Foil Stamping Paper* I prefer the thin rolls of heat foil that are intended for stamping machines. I find I waste less material than if I use large sheets. I personally have had trouble with the foil bonding to the substrate when using colors other than silver and gold. At one point, I received a bunch of samples from a foil company. After testing them on a few surfaces with inconsistent results, I decided to just stick to silver and gold. I personally think the classics are more elegant anyways.
- Optional supply I will show in a later lesson: Copier Transparency Film* (The brand is not so important as making sure it is heat compatible. So, look for films that are intended for copy machines or printers).
- Miscellaneous supplies I'm sure you have already:
- washi tape or any gentle masking tape (check out the INKMETHIS Engraving Tape printed with calligraphy guidelines)
- ruler (I love the clear Wescott ruler*)
- pencil (for foil, I tend to use my thicker lead Pentel pencil*)
* As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.