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Look at that little beauty, you think to yourself, it’s got gold on it, and it’s shiny. What is this wonderful, beautiful creation? That is foil wedding invitations, my friends.
There’s something wonderfully glamorous about foil printing. You’ve most likely seen gold foil stamps, and what’s more glamorous than glittering gold? From wedding invitations online to business cards, foil stamping will add flair to any stationery (although we do think it looks pretty great on wedding invitations in particular!). If you’ve ever found yourself squinting at a foil pressed invite and scratching your head, don’t worry. Turns out, it’s a pretty complicated process. We did some research. Well, our name is Paperlust, right? We wouldn’t want you to get foil printing confused with letterpress printing. Here’s some history of the foil press and how it works.

Foil printing goes back thousands of years. In a time before Gutenberg’s press, the process was done completely by hand. It took a skilled artist, molten gold and lots of time to create the gold-leafed books of days gone by. After sizing a book up, gold leaves were hand laid onto the selected area. The book cover was then placed in a hot-stamping press which was powered by gas. Luckily in the Middle Ages, there wasn’t a huge demand for books. You know, because people couldn’t read.
However as the availability and demand for books grew, so too did the demand for foil stamping. Genuine gold leaf was a costly material. Bookbinder Ernest Oeser is credited with having pioneered the foil press. That is, a metallic material that can leave a print on a surface with the application of heat, rather than using genuine gold. Naturally, paper nerds everywhere lost their chill and starting foiling left, right and centre. After the 1950s, the technology moved quickly to what we know foil printing to be today.
The way foil printing works is pretty amazing. The thin strip of foil – which comes in a variety of colours besides gold – is threaded through a foil press machine. Your surface (blank card, invitation, etc.) is placed underneath the foil. What’s different about foil stamping is that heat and pressure are applied to leave an indent on the paper (deboss), rather than ink. The heat allows the colour from the foil to ‘bleed’ onto the page, and voila. Pretty shiny paper. Some boutique bookbinders will still use handcrafted letters in hundreds of fonts to form their print, but fonts and images can now be applied digitally. Other methods include embossing your paper first with the text or image you desire to be foiled, then when the press is lowered onto the card the embossed section becomes foiled.


1. It doesn’t use ink. Why does this matter? If you’re printing on coloured paper, particularly on dark paper, the paper can affect inks and the colours can change. Foil will turn out exactly the same as the colour you choose. This makes it great for printing on dark paper.
2. Metallic foils have a luxurious, shiny finish. They add charm and class to any invitation, and the shine won’t fade. Metallic finishes in other types of printing tend to fall a little flat and definitely can’t compare to foil.

3. It’s the classiest paper going around. When you’re talking about your wedding, if you’re throwing out words like ‘classic’, ‘glamorous’, and ‘luxurious’, then foil printing is the way to go.

4. Because you can! Foil is not only beautiful and classy – it’s fun. If you’re still not convinced, go drool over the following pictures and get back to us.


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