Making Your Own Gold Foil Hot Stamp

Close-up of gold foil Use heat to transfer a gold foil image to an object. Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Hot stamps are used to add logos, images or writing to a variety of objects. Gold and silver foil hot stamps are unique in that you can not get metallic printing from a regular ink printer. Hot stamp creations include advertising giveaways on pens, throwing discs or other small items, as well as creating foil lettering on book covers and paper.

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Gold Foil

Hot stamping foil is used for transferring gold images onto paper or plastic items. The foil is usually metallic, in gold or silver colors. Hot stamp foil consists of several very thin layers designed to adhere to the material when heat and pressure are applied. Only the parts of the foil that come in direct contact with the pressure transfer to the material. The foil has a top carrier layer that peels off, internal metal and embossing layers, and a bottom adhesive layer.


Hot stamp machines can be purchased, or you can create your own stamp. To make a stamp, start with a metal bit with a flat base. Use a hammer and graver to engrave the design on the bottom of the bit. Use one design, or several bits that together will create a larger design or logo. Once the bits are finished, you simply heat the end of the bit and press it down onto the foil to make the image. Peel up the foil, and the metallic image will remain on the material.

Creating an Image

There are some rules to follow when creating and designing a hot stamp image. Do not make large areas with solid color, or the foil may bubble. Break up solid images with bridges of empty space. Bridges need to be wide. If the bridges are too thin the foil may stick in the space where it was not wanted. When creating text, make the text large enough that there are bridges between letters, or fill-ins may make the letters illegible.

Stamp Plates

Create a plate die using a computer if you want a larger design that would be too difficult to construct with individual stamps. Purchase photopolymer plates. Create a design on the computer, then flip it to create a mirror image and make a negative image, so the actual design is transparent and the surrounding area is black. Print the image on transparent film. Attach the print face down on a plate and tape down the edges. Place the plate in a UV machine for 40 seconds. Remove the film and wash the plate. After the image on the plate becomes clear, place it under the UV light once more for 60 seconds to lock the image. The plate can then be used multiple times to create images when placed on paper or plastic, heated and pressed.