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Make Your Garments Shine with Foil

(July 2006) posted on Fri Jul 28, 2006

Learn about foil materials and methods for enhancing your prints with them.


By Tom Trimingham

click an image below to view slideshow

The design was printed onto films and then exposed on an 80-thread/in. screen. A silver gel ink from Rutland worked great in this case, and the high-tack (very sticky) inks I tested seemed to work better than some of the all-purpose formulations. I found that the stickier inks did a better job of grabbing the foil during application in a heat press.

For this graphic, I used a silver foil from Crown Royal and applied it with a pneumatic Hix heat press set to 330°F. The dwell time was 12 seconds at 35 psi. The production run was simple as could be: I just printed the shirts, cured them in a gas dryer, took them over to the heat press, laid the foil on top of the print (shiny side up), applied the foil, and then peeled away the foil sheet after the shirts had cooled slightly. Using foil in this design simulated the visual effect of rhinestones without creating a heavy feeling on the shirt, and some of the small circles would flash and shimmer like little mirrors when the design was tilted.

Iridescent foil on top of colored prints

A great way to make a multicolor graphic pop is to use some iridescent foil on top of the print. This foil is very transparent, but it adds a reflective, rainbow-like shine. The other Chicago sample (Figure 2) used this type of foil on top of a multicolor print to create a really unique look. This foil is much harder to work with than the standard opaque foils because it tends to tarnish from excess heat or melt into the print and not release properly after heat pressing.


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