Foil Printing – Your Guide To Foil Stamped Boxes

August 4, 2020
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Foil printing has been around for more than a century. While technology helped us make it more efficient, the result is still astonishing. And you shouldn’t expect less than the extraordinary when it comes to your boxes.

In a previous post, we went over the different looks you can obtain with foil printing.

For today we’ll focus on the specific questions that most often come to mind when thinking about choosing foil stamping for your packaging.

Let’s get to it!

Brief history of foil printing

Before the invention of foil stamping machines, decorating items with gold was called gilding or gold leafing, and it used real gold. Gold nuggets were hammered to a very thin sheet of gold applied by hand to different objects. This old craft was and still is a costly decorating technique.

Mechanical foil stamping was first used in the 1900s. Today, it’s also known as foil printing or foiling. The first patent belongs to Ernst Oeser, a bookbinder and entrepreneur from Berlin, who invented the modern stamping machine. Later in the 1900s, George M. Whiley layered gold or silver dust on thin polyester sheets, and the result is the luxurious foils we use today, but at affordable costs.

Foil stamping today - how does it work?

At its very core, the process of stamping foil hasn’t changed since its invention. Here’s a quick recap: to apply foil to your boxes, we use a hot stamping press and a custom metal die with your desired design.

The foil sheet goes between the die and the paper and the heated die presses the foil against the paper. This makes the metallic foil stick to the desired areas.

What paper should you choose?

We can apply foil to any type of paper and any color print. Most commonly, foil printing is used with smooth paper stocks, but it also looks fabulous on a more textured paper, like kraft paper. We recommend reading our box types guide for extra input.

Foil on white paper
Foil on white paper
Foil on color print
Foil on any color print
Foil on kraft paper
Foil on Kraft paper

For different foil colors, our foil color sampler has almost any color. After you have selected your color, we’ll order your foil roll from our trusted suppliers and use it on your boxes. A foil roll costs an extra $100, and it lasts for around 3000 – 5000 boxes, depending on the size of the foiled areas. For exact pricing, please request a quote.

What foil colors are available?

Thanks to technological advancements, we’re not limited to gold foil or silver foil like in the past. Here are the most common foil colors we have in-house:

Gold foil printing resembling a tiger's skin.
Silver foil printing
Silver foil
Copper foil printing
Rose gold & copper foil
Holographic foil printing
Holographic (rainbow effect) foil

Foil printing in multiple colors at once?

Foil stamping uses a die for each color, so if you wanted a multicolored look, things can get a bit expensive, as you might imagine.

That’s where metallic paper comes in. Printing on metallic paper is a great alternative to foil stamping and it’s perfect when you want the foiled look but with infinite color freedom.

More colors on metallic paper

Can foil be coated?

Yes! Besides being elegant all in itself, foil stamping also works with different coatings, like gloss, matte, spot gloss coating, as well as emboss and deboss for a 3D look.

When should I use foil printing?

Because most of the time the customer buys according to how nice package looks, foil stamping goes with any product that you want to market as high-end.

Makeup box with foil printing
Skincare packaging
Soap box with foil
Soap packaging
Gold foil stamping foundation box
Makeup Packaging
Chocolate box with foil
Chocolate packaging

...and the list can go on. If you've got a box, foil can go on it without question!

Is foil stamping recyclable?

Being sustainable is something we should all be concerned about, and you’ll surely be happy to hear that foil stamping is indeed recyclable.

The Foil Stamping & Embossing Association (FSEA) , together with a third-party research firm – Pira International have conducted a study that validates the recyclability of paper products with foil stamping.

Recycle green heart

One more reason to love foil stamping: the foil does not affect paper’s ability to biodegrade or be recycled. And the same goes for metallic paper.

How much does foil stamping cost?

Although it does involve extra costs, foil stamping adds so much value to your packaging, we guarantee you'll find the investment worth the extra cash.

Foil stamping requires a custom stamping die unique to your artwork. The die costs $75 and it's a one time fee. You'll be able to use this die on all your orders.

The process of applying the foil to your boxes ranges from $0.15 to $0.07 depending on your quantity. With a few extra cents, you can get your box from ordinary to extraordinary and create a brand image that sells. For an exact quote, we'd love it if you'd get in touch with us.

Do's & Don'ts with Foil Printing​

Unlike regular color print, foil stamping requires some careful considerations. Let’s see what they are. If, at any point, you’re confused about the specifics, just get in touch with us and we’ll help you.


  • Use vector-based programs such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw to design your box
  • Keep foiled areas rather small. Going with really big foiled areas can make the foil adhere unevenly. For bigger areas, we recommend printing on metallic paper.
  • Use foil with moderation and intent. Don’t overdo your foiled areas and choose strategically where foil goes to create the desired contrast (your logo, brand name, or specific message you want to convey)
  • Make text larger to ensure proper readability.


  • Don’t use raster programs to design your boxes, like Photoshop, Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.
  • Don't use JPG, PNG, or raster images. Only use vector files.
  • Don't use details smaller than 1point because the foil may not adhere well
  • Don't use gradients. The foil is a solid material that cannot hold gradients of color. For metallic gradients, we can print on metallic paper instead.

How to set up your artwork for foil printing

    To make sure your foil stamped boxes turn out spotless, foil printing requires some extra preparations. We've explained every step in our Artwork Preparation Guide, which you'll also receive when you place your order. Following the guide will help you design your boxes correctly and will help our printing department complete your order faster.    

Get Your Foil Boxes Today​

Foil printing is such a formidable technique and it really benefits any product and industry. 

As long as you have an idea for your box, at YourBoxSolution we can make it come to life. Get in touch with us today.

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