Click here to watch our Foil printing video
One of the most talked about direct to garment printing techniques at all trade shows we attend is the "foil print" finish.
It is eye - catching and all quite dramatic and everyone who sees it wants to know the technique for producing this great effect.
The technique is essentially the same as printing on a dark shirt, but to understand full it is necessary to examine the process. When creating a foil print we use the wet ink to adhere to the foil. The foil used is a specific product available from our company in 5 colours, Gold, Siver, Electric Blue, Fire Red and Emerald Green. The foil is translucent as opposed to opaque so the ink will come through and influence the foil finish. You can use just white, or highlight colour (in our example yellow) to enhance the gold finish.
Each roll is 60 metres long by 30cms wide and you cut to length depending on the print size. You do not have to cover the whole print and it is perfectly acceptable to just highlight certain areas of the image (if that is what you require.)
First it is necessary to pre-treat the shirt in the normal way and dry thoroughly, either with a heat press or a drawer dryer. Then load the t-shirt onto the printing platen. (Picture 1) Our image shows the print being done on the Brother GTX but it works equally as well on most direct to garment printing machines.
Select the image you wish to print (Picture 2) noting that more open images work better than solid images and print the image using a full layer of white (Picture 3). If you want colour highlight then this needs to be printed at this stage. Do not use a "content based" white layer.
Whilst this is printing prepare the piece of foil by cutting carefully making sure it does not crease. (Picture 4)
As soon as the imaged has finished printing (Picture 5) place the t-shirt on the heat press and place the foil sheet, coloured side up, directly onto the wet ink. (Picture 6)
Using a Teflon sheet and high pressure, clamp the heat press shut (Picture 7) The temperature must be 165C / 330F and the pressing time is the same as normally recommended by the ink supplier. In the case of the Brother GTX it is 45 seconds.
Open the heat press, remove the shirt (complete with the foil) and place on a flat surface to cool (Picture 8) Once the shirt is cold carefully peel back the sheet of foil (Picture 9) and the foil colour will remain, stuck to the previously wet ink areas.
You can see the finished shirt in (Picture 10). There is also an image of a silver shirt, with a more solid print produced using silver foil (Picture 11).
The foil prints wash well and add considerable margin to your standard print. The appoximate cost of the foil is 20p - 30p on top of the cost of the ink and shirt. Always wash inside out at no more than 40C
Foil prints, a great way to add value to your direct to garment t-shirts.