Search This Blog

Comparing Foiling Systems

 There are many different options when it comes to foiling tools. Almost every craft company has come out with its own foiling system. Here are a few things to consider when deciding which foiling system might be best for you.

  • How often will you use it-you need to decide if the cost warrants the number of times you will actually use it. Or is your craft money better spent elsewhere?
  • Do you have any extra space for a foiling system? Some systems have larger machines that will require space in your craft space.
  • What is your budget for a foiling system? You will have to budget fir the system and supplies.

Types Of Foils

There are three basic types of foiling systems. The question is which one is right for you? To make that decision, you need to understand the types of foiling systems that are available. They fall into three basic categories:

  • Heat Foil-This system uses heat to transfer foil to the surface of your project. It really uses a significant amount of heat to get the job done.
  • Reactive Transfer Foil-This system not only uses heat to transfer the foil to your project, but also requires a reactive agent as well. The reactive agents can be transfer gels, transfer paint or ink toners. These systems generally require an ink laminator or a machine like a Minc machine.
  • Adhesive Foil-The use of a liquid or sheet adhesive helps this foil to adhere to your project.

There are different craft foils for each of the systems that we are going to discuss. Foils come in sheets and rolls. You can use these foils to create amazing projects. They can be used on greeting cards, journals of all types, scrapbook pages and a host of other papercrafts.

Most of the manufacturers of these systems do make foils that are compatible to their systems. But there are other foils that you can use besides the systems manufacturer's foil. Be sure to read the manual that comes with the foiling system to make sure that using other foils will not void the warrantee.

Foiling Systems

We are listing the most popular and available systems on the market with some price points for you to consider. Price points can vary, so once you find a system that is right for you, you may want to shop around to get the best deal. For your convenience, we have supplied some links to the products listed. (These products may have some commission paid but at no cost to you. These commissions support our community)

Foil Quill Free Style Pen

Foil Free Style Pen is from We Are Memory Keepers. It allows you to literally foil on any surface without any additional tools. This pen has a heat component at the tip of the pen. You simply put the pen to the foil and the foil will stay on the surface of your project. 

You can use this system on cards, scrapbook [pages and journals/

Nothing additional is needed with this system. You do need to have some ability to draw and create designs.

Foil Compatibility : Heat Foil

  • It has four tip options- fine, standard, bold and calligraphy
  • You can use this tool with some stencils
  • Mostly used for free style drawing and calligraphy
  • Cannot be used with any electronic machines

Foil Quill

The Foil Quill is also from We Are Memory Keepers. This device is meant to be used with electronic butting machines. It uses the SVG files within the electronic cutting machines program. It features a standard, bold and fine tip individual purchases. Or you can purchase the All in one which includes all of the pen tips. It can be used with the following electronic cutting machines:

  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Explore Air and Air2
  • Silhouette Cameo 1,2, and 3
  • Silhouette Portrait
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Sizzix Ellipse 1 and 2
  • Brother Design N Cut
  • Brother Scan N Cut DX, CM650WX, CM350, CM100DM, SDX125, SDX225, & SDX125i
Foil Compatibility-Heat Foil

Glimmer Foil System

This system comes from Spellbinders. Thus system in meant to be used with manual die cutting machines It features a electronically powered heat platform The platform sits on a docking system. Once it is hot, the heat platform goes through your manual die cutting machine. It can be used with the following manual die cutting machines:

  • Spellbinders Platinum
  • Spellbinders Platinum 6
  • Spellbinders Artomology Platinum 6 Deep Sea Die Cutter by Jane Davenport
  • Sizzix Big Shot
  • Sizzix Big Shot Plus
  • Sizzix Big Shot Express
  • Sizzix Big Kick
  • Sizzix Vagabond
  • We R Evolution
  • Other steel rule die compatible die cutting machines with a platform length of at least 6"
Comes with 2 starter foil rolls and plates. Also has a silicone pad and a pair of tweezers. You may also get some does with the package.

Foil Compatibility: Hot Foil

Gemini Foil Press

Created by Crafter's Companion is one of the safest heat plate unit on the market. It features a heat control, There is also a cool down feature. The product is limited for use only with the Gemini or Gemini Junior. You need an extender plate to use it with the full size Gemini Though you can use some wafer thin dies, most of the foil projects are done with special dies that are extra purchases.

You need to purchase foiling dies to create designs which are an extra purchase.

It has a 7 x5 inch work area

Foil Compatibility: Hot Foil

Go Press Foil System

This foiling system works with most of the most popular die cutting machines with a 6 inch aperature that is one inch tall.. You can letterpress, foil, die cut and emboss with this system. It works with a lot of materials including leather, thin textiles, chipboard and cardstock. It can also work with embossing folders and thin metal dies.

What Is In The Box

  • Stable Base with Power Connector
  • Heating Platform
  • Heat-resistant Silicone Mat
  • Grab
  • Pickn' Lift 3-in-1 Magic Tool
  • Head Activated Foil Sampler Pack
  • Instruction Booklet
  • Manufacturer's Limited 1-Year Warranty

Cricut Foil Transfer System

This tool is made to work with your Cricut machine. Instead of heat or reactive agents, it uses pressure to apply foil onto your images. It has a housing that fits into the B clamp of the machine. There are currently three tips available-fine, bold and medium. It will only work with the desk top version of Design Space. It works with both the Cricut Maker as well as the Explore line. It works best on smooth paper. 

There are no extra machines, laminators or anything else to create your designs. You do need some knowledge of the Cricut Design Space.

To tell the tips apart, look at the numbers of lines at the bottom. The fine tip has one line, the medium tip has two lines, and the bold tip has three lines.

How To Use The Cricut Foil Transfer System

  1. Insert the tip of choice into the housing
  2. Open Cricut Design Space
  3. Create your design
  4. For the parts that you want foiled, go to the top menu and change from a Cut Line to Foil and then select your thickness.
  5. After you click Make It, be sure to take note of where the part being foiled is. You’ll need to know this so you know where to place the foil sheet on your mat.
  6. Place a piece of cardstock on your cutting mat. The light grip mat should work fine.
  7. Cut a piece of foil transfer sheet in the size that you need to cover the area you’re foiling. 
  8.  Place the foil on top of the cardstock where needed for your foiled design
  9. Use the tape to secure one end of the foil. Smooth it out towards the other end and secure that end with tape too. Repeat with the top and bottom.
  10. Follow the prompts to complete the foiling project 1972203897I

In The Package-The foil system comes with 3 different pressure tips ( fine, medium and bold), You will also get 12 4 x6 inch foil transfer sheets in silver and gold.

Foil Combativity: Cricut Foil

Laminating Systems

Laminators use heat but in an entirely different way than the Hot Foiling Systems. These systems use heat and rollers to press the foil onto the paper or other material. But the foils used in these systems do not have any adhesive properties. 

Instead, they use toner ink from laser printers to adhere the foil to the design. That would mean that you would have to have a laser printer to laminate the foil to the design. Inkjet printers will not work for these foiling systems. You can purchase a laser printer or go to your local office supply stpre to have some toner sheets printed. 

Craft companies have come up with several other alternatives to create "ready-made" toner projects. You can purchase toner sheets, card fronts, sentiments, and a lot more.

There are also pastes available that you can use with stencils to foil as well.

Minc Foiling System

The Minc is made by Heidi Swapp. It has been one of the most popular foil systems in the craft world. It comes in a 6" size and a 12" size ( perfect for scrapbooking). It is considered a type of heat laminating systems. This system has 6 different heat settings.

There is one difference from the other systems mentioned so far. Though the system uses heat, it also requires a reactive agent to get the foil on your project. In most cases, that reactive agent is toner ink, but you can also purchase specialized transfer gel, transfer paint and transfer toner ink pens
Comes with gold foil sheet, transfer folder and three tags.

There is another difference with this system. The standard laminator only has two rollers, but the Minc as 4 rollers. That means you will get a more uniform application of toner through the entire project.

Because of the heat of this machine, you may have to create some legs under it so you do not get too much heat on your surface.

If you have an ink toner laser printer, whatever you can print out can be foiled.


This laminator is made by Xxyron. For this laminator, you need a laser printer. The Glaminator accepts projects up to 9 inches. You print the project, place the foil on top and then in the transfer sheet, Then the transfer sheet is run through the laminator to transfer the foil to the project. It has both hot and cold lamination.

You get the machine, one transfer sheet and one roll of gold foil

Foil Compatibility: Toner reactive transfer foil


Laminators are the most basic of foiling systems. You can choose from several different types. The most simplistic laminator has no heat settings. You can get one of these very reasonably in just about any office retail store or online.

Similar to the Minc, a laminator with with toner sheets or toner made designs. So you will need a monochrome laser printer or toner sheets that are designed for craft use. Again there are designed products that you can purchase made for crafting.

The best choice in laminators with just a few features can come in at under $50. You want to choose one that has at least 5 heat setting options. That will give you some settings for different kinds of materials. You also want to choose one that has a jamming release feature. It doesn't happen often, but this feature will be one you will be grateful for when it happens. Finally, make sure that you choose a laminator that has  a feature that will automatically shut itself off in case you forget to.

Final Thoughts On Choosing A Foiling System

You have some choices to make on which system works best for you. If you already have a die cut machine, you may want to choose to get a compatible foiling platform machine that uses the heat plates to foil.

Or you may decide to use a simple system that works with your electronic cutting machine.

The final choice is the lamination system. This is a good choice for those who do not foil very often.

No matter what your choice make sure the you type in your browser "best price ( for whatever product you are thinking about)" Prices can vary, so make sure you get the best deal on the market.

Best Foiling Machines For Papercrafters

Minc Foiling System

No comments:

Post a Comment