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Print Finishes: Foil Blocking

Foil Blocking

In the second in our sequence of blog posts about all the print finishes we offer at Colour Print, we’re taking a look at foil blocking. The application of metal foil to a surface to highlight lettering or make a striking design. It is often used to create a premium feel or perceived value particularly in vouchers.

What is foil blocking?

Foil blocking (sometimes known as foil stamping) involves adhering a very thin layer of metal foil to a surface. A metal ‘die’ is produced that has the design or lettering you require carved in relief. The die is heated up and used to stamp a thin sheet of foil to your required surface. The heat and pressure cause the foil to bond to the surface.

What surfaces can foil be adhered to by this process?

We’re mostly concerned with paper and card, but foil stamping can be applied to a variety of other materials – including: plastic, leather, fabric, vinyl and wood.

What products can foil blocking be used for?

Historically, foil stamping was mainly used to highlight the title or author’s name on the covers of literary works. As the process became more mechanised in the early 20th Century, people began to use the technique on greetings cards and invitations. Even everyday items such as letterheads and business cards can be given a touch of grandeur by the use of foil blocking. 

business cards combined image

What foils are available?

There are four main types of foil paper that are used to achieve four very different effects:

Metallic Foil. Gold, silver and copper foils may be the most familiar, but metallic foils are also available in colours that you’ll never glimpse in an earthly element: shiny metallic blues, pinks and greens 

Gloss Pigment Foil. A high-gloss finish that will give a shiny but non-metallic appearance to the area of application. Available in any colour you choose.

Matte Pigment Foil. For a dull, smooth finish to your area of application, opt for matte pigment.

Holographic Foil. Creating the illusion of a 3D image that leaps out of the paper.

To a limited extent, these techniques can be combined, but not all foils work with all others. If you have any queries in this regard, talk to our experts who will be able to help you achieve the look you are after.

For more information about foil blocking or any of our other print finishes, please contact the office on 01603 488001 or email any questions to

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