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IMPORTANT LITTLE TIDBITS ABOUT FOIL AND HOT STAMPING

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IMPORTANT LITTLE TIDBITS ABOUT FOIL AND HOT STAMPING


1. THICKNESS Foil comes in varying thicknesses (just like Scott's Big Roll versus Cottonelle); foil thickness is measured in microns. For example, brilliant foil is generally thinner (12 microns) than pigment foil (gloss or matte colors at 15 microns). In fact a 100' roll of most older pigment foil will not fit into the canisters like a 100' roll of brilliant foil will. So pigment foil was normally sold in rolls of 35' to 50', which will fit in the canisters. So, when you receive foil in different sized rolls, it does not mean they are in different lengths, or that you are not getting 35 feet. Once in a while, you will get a double roll (like Charmin) because even though you ordered two 35' rolls, I had a 100' roll (that will still fit in the canister) ready to go, so that's what you'll get (you know, it's the new math: 2 x 35 = 100).

2. FINISH Terms used to describe the finish on the foil can be very confusing; this confusion is heightened by the producers who often seem to toss around their decriptions like a juggler. In an attempt to stay on the same page with our buyers, we use the old Kingsley terms for these finishes. And they are:

Brilliant - the brightest, shiniest finish. This has the most glare and reflection, like chrome. The foil is so shiny and reflective that you cannot see into it.

Metallic - slightly less bright and reflective, like a gold Cadillac. The foil's surface seems to have some depth to it. Kingsley produced gold, silver, red, green, blue, copper and purple in both brilliant and metallic finishes. To many folks, "metallic" has come to mean brilliant, and while that may be a perfectly legitimate use of the term in some circles, it won't be here.

Satin - still less bright and less shiny, but with a rich inviting depth (wow, I can't believe I'm saying stuff like this).

Matte - like flat wall paint with virtually no shine. Frequently, there is not a lot of distinction between matte and satin.

Gloss - like high gloss wall paint, but not as shiny as brilliant foils

3. COLORS And then there is all the fun with color names. You know: "I ordered magenta and you sent me fuschia." Well, to my knowledge, I haven't done such a dastardly thing, but I certainly could have. And I confess that I have sent pink instead of dusty rose. Is that really California blue? And what is the difference between hot pink and cerise? Or between turquoise, teal and aqua, especially if they are brilliant. And don't Google it to figure it out; I can't get along without Google, but I no longer try to determine what color turquoise is by Googling it. Once was enough. Again, I will use the old Kingsley color chart as much as possible, so if you have one, hang on to it. Let's just assume that I will do my best to fill your order for specific colors and I will hope you are pleased. And if not, well let's talk about it. Nuff said?

4. WIDTHS Foil widths can be exciting too. First, of all be sure to notice the width of the foil in the description; I try to get that information into the title lines and headers. I offer foil in 2", 3" and 4" widths here, but Howard produced foil in 3 1/2" and 5". Occasionally you only need 1" wide foil, so using a 3" wide roll would sure waste a lot, so I also have 1" wide a 1 1/2" wide rolls of many of the colors. When you order 3" foil, you might get a roll or two that are 2 3/4" (in which case I will always make it up to you, with extra length or some other compensation), and you might get a 3 1/2" roll of Howard foil (in which case, you can just consider it a bonus).

5. LIFE Foil life is very important to me and to you. I want you to be able to order with the confidence that you are getting good viable foil from me. In the case of Premium foil, like in this listing, it's not much of a factor; it's all brand new foil, but because it is very thin, it can be hard to deal with in cutting and rolling. You will probably find an occasional wrinkle, especially if the foil came from near the 1" core that it came on originally, but it will be very minimal, and I apologize for missing it. In new foil, the wrinkle usually doesn't mean the foil material came off, so it will still imprint just fine. Recently, I have switched to a new manufacturer of certain foils because their product is virtually wrinkle free.

It is in the old Kingsley foil where there might be a problem. The Kingsley canisters protected the foil; I have found foil from the 1940s that is still good. But it depends more on the storage conditions. I have several little tricks I use to determine if the foil is good down in the roll. Obviosuly, I can't unroll every roll to check it, but I do carefully examine the foil to make sure you are getting foil you can use. And if I messed up, please let me know and I will replace the roll.

6. CORES Oh yes: foil cores. The core is that little cardboard (occasionally plastic) tube in there that the foil is rolled up on (again, like Angel Soft - boy, that simile has a life, huh?). Well this consideration is dealt with in the previous section, so I'll just ask you to please not forget to let me know if you have particular core requirements.

7. SUBSTRATES There is probably a foil produced by some manufacturer for imprinting just about any surface except metal and glass. The surface material you are trying to imprint is referred to in the industry as the substrate. Some foils are better for paper, some for leather, some for wood and some for plastic, but which is which? Generally, this is determined by trial and error, although most producers designate the recommended substrates for each of their foils. Of course, I want to ship you foil that will work on your substrates, and if the foil I have sent to you doesn't work well on your material, just send it back and I will try to find you some foil that will work. I will share the postage expense with you to keep your costs down as much as possible. Please don't keep foil that you can't use and/or give me negative feedback. Let me help you find the foil you need. Generally it will be helpful if you tell me in advance when you are trying to imprint a certain substrate. Let's keep the communication lines open, OK?

8. TEMPERATURE Most normal hot stamping takes place at about 250°, plus or minus 25°. As far as I know, the recommended temperature for imprint any of the nearly 80 colors we offer is 250°; at least that would be the starting point. At our store, we keep our thermostat set at 250° and virtually never change it.

But there is foil that won't imprint at 250°; it requires a temperature that is higher than the desktop Kingsley machine can produce. Some of this is for wire marking that takes place at 350° or higher. It is virtually impossible to distinguish low temp foils from high temp foils just by looking at it, so some high temp foils invariably creep into the mix with low temp foils. Again, if you receive foil from me that won't imprint at 250°, please don't just give me negative feedback. Let me replace it.

9. DWELL Another factor in determining the quality of an imprint is the dwell time, how long the printhead stays down on the imprint. Normally, the suggestion is to bring the printhead down and move it back up instantly. Here is another factor in the imprint process where practice makes perfect. Occasionally, it is necessary to leave the printhead down for an extra split second in order to obtain a full imprint.

10. PRESSURE The last factor to consider, when imprinting a substrate, is pressure. Probably the most important consideration is the nature of the surface, whether it is a napkin, cardboard, soft leather or wood. For example, soft leather will usually require a lighter touch, while a hard cardboard needs to be pressed very firmly.

Happy Hot Stamping!

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