ColorFoils... the ultimate cool-tool for the arts 'n crafts world!
Our foils are very similar in looks to "Hot Stamping Foils" (the metallic effects you see on Greeting Cards). Hot Stamping foils are only for mass-production and requires an expensive 'die' (top left of image) milled to the shape of the image to stamp (black card on right side). This type of foil is laid between the card stock and the die, mounted in a special press. The die is heated and pressed to the paper. This is great if you want 10,000 cards, but if you only want one or a few, this doesn't work!
Our ColorFoils are referred as "TRF" for Toner Reactive Foils. They physically look the same as hot stamping foils. The differences lies in the special coating on the back of the foil. This coating (or "sizing') when subjected to heat and pressure, will only transfer to plastics. All laser printers and conventional photo-static copiers use "toner" powder which is made up of 55% styrene plastic. So all you have to do is cover a printed image with a foil color, run it through a simple laminator and peel off the foil, and voila!
CAN AN IRON BE USED INSTEAD OF A LAMINATOR?
Well, possibly... how much do you weigh? Transferring TRF foils require both heat and pressure - and a LOT of pressure. Sure, a household iron could be made to work for very small prints but it would be a super-hassle to say the least because you need to put your entire body weight over the iron and that is minimal at best, even standing on the iron (without breaking it) is only a few dozen PSI of pressure. This is the reason we use the "pouch laminator" as it's the ideal "heat & pressure" source. Two pinch rollers apply hundreds of PSI over the foil to give perfect foil transfers.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF LAMINATORS
Commercial "Roll Laminators" (pictured on the left) are for large volume commercial applications and are total overkill for our purposes here. The other type is the "Pouch Laminator" - inexpensive light-weight units designed to seal a document or photograph inside of a thin plastic pouch.
Modern pouch laminators like this all enclosed unit, use motorized, externally heated neoprene coated rollers that transport the pouch through the unit to seal the plastic pouch, however, we won't be using any plastic pouches. We use this device strictly as the ideal "heat" and "pressure" source... but they're not all made the same, as they vary widely in their capability to act as a great foiling device. (Tamerica SM-330 shown on right).
WHICH LAMINATOR IS BEST?
Pouch laminators vary based on how thick of a pouch it can handle and are sold as 3mil to 10mil capability (1 mil = .001"). Inexpensive units you'd find at department stores are generally "3mil" units, and that just isn't much capability at all. As your paper stock increases (with or without texture and patterns in the stock) so too does your laminator's capability to handle the increased demands.
Local office supply stores carry the standard "3~5mil" units in the $60~$125 price range, made by major manufacturers like Fellows, GBC, Swingline, etc. They're good units but still lack capacity to handle heavy-weight papers. The 7mil laminators are very rare so the only other option is the "10mil" laminator.
Important Note: In order to be able to handle ANY paper weight or textured surface, you absolutely want a 10mil pouch laminator. If you were to buy a big brand-name 10mil unit, you're looking at about $250 on up. However, there ARE two inexpensive 10mil units available online in the USA and one outside North America for 220v mains. (See menu "MORE INFO" > LAMINATOR INFO about these two units.) We were so impressed with the Tamerica SM-330, we began stocking this unit. After all of our experience over the years, testing a myriad of pouch laminators, this unit at $139.95 is by far the absolute best 'bang for the buck'... and this is why we elected to stock this unit.
Tamerica "SM-330" Specs:
• Over-Heat Safety Shutdown
• No Modifications Needed
• 90-day Mfg. Warranty
• Tamerica, USA (So. California importer)
• High Pressure, 4-Roller Design
• 13" Wide Opening
• Heavy-duty REVERSIBLE Motor
• High temperature capacity to 330ºF
WE DO A LOT MORE THAN JUST SELL "TRF" FOILS
We create "techniques" for neat tricks... nobody else does this. We'll go into more detail on the individual techniques later (see the menu item "HOW TO" > TECHNIQUES) but for now, we'd like to just wet your appetite with two very simple but powerful techniques using our white foil ... hands-down, the most powerful foil in the entire set of 20 foils in our system.
Our WHITE foil makes the impossible... possible!
The power of this foil becomes clear because you just can't print white! White is a non-printable color by laser, copier or inkjet standards (with the exception of one or two very expensive laser printers that has a white toner, but these printers run into the thousands of dollars). Referencing the black bag, we took this folded flat 4"x7" black bag and ran it through a laser printer, printing the text you see as black toner right on the bag. The white foil was then laid over toner image, run through the laminator and the foil peeled off... very simple. The only other way to do this would be to use a silkscreen frame, and that of course would be a royal hassle to do and surely not for making just one!
A much more powerful trick for the white foil is the ability to put a full-color image, even a photograph, on any colored paper maintaining full color vibrancy.
Color toners (both laser printers and color copiers) are transparent by their very nature. Color toners require a white background (ie. white paper) or else the image will be heavily tinted by the paper's reflective color, and BLACK paper would make the image all but disappear! If you printed a big red dot on a yellow paper, the dot would be ORANGE all day long!
Here's the trick for printing a color image on ANY colored paper. (Reference these two dragon images.) A silhouette image is first created from the full color image, then reduced by 1pt size. White foil is then added on top of the black image. Now just run the 'white foiled' image through the printer again to lay down the color on top of the white foil. We previously reduced the silhouette a bit smaller to protect from any mis-registration when run through the printer a second time so there is no white creeping out from any edge.
WHAT OTHER ITEMS ARE NEEDED?
Besides a suitable laminator, the only other items needed are:
• CarrierBoard - Fiberglass board used as a rigid base to prevent foil wrinkles (included in the "TRF Sampler" pack)
• Tack Cloth - Removes micro toner dust particles before foil is transferred (Included in "TRF Sampler" pack). Extras available at any hardware store.
• Tape - Very low-tack tape is used to lift off any residual foil sometimes left behind. (3M "Post-It" available at any office-supply store)