06 November 2016

Foiling 101.

*Nothing to Disclose. I am not affiliated with Heidi Swapp or American Crafts.

Foiling has become very popular in the past 12 months. Many companies have brought out different products to foil with.
Heidi Swapp brought out the Minc Machine. This is a tool that will apply foil on your projects by using heat and toner. The process appears to be simple but there is a little  "science" behind getting a perfect finish.

I currently help Admin a group on Facebook called Heidi Swapp Minc. In this group we have many different people from beginners to people who have been foiling for years.

One of the most common questions in the group is " Why does my project have black spots?" or " why is the foil not going on my whole project?"
These are legitimate questions and to understand why this is happening to your project, you need to understand how the Heidi Swapp Minc machine works and how the printer, toner, cardboard/media you use make a huge impact to the finished project.


Lets start at the beginning.... The concept of the Minc Machine.  You print your image/design with a laser printer and then lay your foil over the top, place the foil and image into a transfer folder and run through your Minc Machime. The Minc is like a laminator, but you can control the heat by the settings and the Minc has several rollers to control the pressure when it goes through the machine.
(i'm sure your all thinking why not use a laminator? right? It is not that simple! you need the control you have of the Minc to get a perfect finished project.)

It all seems easy enough...right?? Well the foiling process is not as simple as this, although I wish it was!
Many factors affect the way your project will come out. some of these are-
 * Toner
 * Printer
 * Paper/media
 * Heat setting
 * Environment products stored
I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones I find make the most difference.

When you foil you are using toner. Not inkjet. Toner is found in laser printers, and photocopy machines. This is why you can use both to foil.

In simple terms, toner are tiny little plastic "pellets" these are heated up and "sprayed" onto your project in the shape or design you need via your laser printer.
The quality of the toner will affect your finished project. This is why a genuine toner appears to work better than a compatible toner. After speaking to a company who sells compatible toner, they informed me that the toner in compatible branded cartridges are a lower quality plastic.  If you are printing regular text etc, you would never know the difference but when foiling this can affect the adhesiveness of the toner and therefore the foil sticking to your design.

Once you have your toner printer (I use the HP P1102w Laserjet) always ensure that you print on a good quality setting. The more toner you print the more chance your foil has to stick. If you use the eco mode when you print you run the risk of not having enough toner on your project.

Next is the media you use.
Toner like most liquids will be absorbed when placed on a porous surface. We don't want this to happen. What we need is the toner to sit on the surface of the media, so try to use a coated or smooth cardstock/media. Cardstock which works well with copic markers I found works well with toner and the minc as it tends to be coated so you can blend your copic markers. If you think your media is porous, do a test piece first before committing your project and wasting valuable toner and foil.

The heat setting also does affect your result. if you have it on a cooler setting your toner may not remelt when going through the machine and therefore  the foil will not adhere correctly. The opposite issue occurs when the setting is too high and the toner will get too hot and absorb into the media easier. Again try some tests first.
Remember to always write down what works for you and what does not, then you will have a guide for future projects to use.

If after you have changed your media, changed the amount of toner on your project and even changed your heat settings and you are still having issues, you may need to look at how you are storing your media and foil.
Dust and other foreign objects can get in between the foil or on your media and cause a barrier when trying to foil between the toner and the foil. Foil has a lot of static so this can easily happen with dust and pet hair. I always keep my media in sealed boxes, my foil in the containers they came in and my transfer sheets in a large zip lock bag.

These above troubleshooting techniques will help you with stopping the black spots appearing, but the thing to remember is to keep testing! Always test a new media before doing your full project.
Also if you try all these troubleshooting options and you are still having issues, it may be that there is more than one factor that is affecting your perfect foil. It could be a combo of media and heat setting, or it could be a combo of toner and media! It is not a perfect science and with a bit of practice you will find the best combo of media/toner/foil etc for you.

It is also good to note that while all these trouble shooting tips can help you, even things like the operating system you are using or the software program you are printing from can affect your project!
An example that I had recently was I changed my pc and went from windows 7 to windows 10. All of a sudden my foiled projects did not seem to work as well! I was using the same foil, toner  and media I always use! What I did not know was that windows 10 and word automatically changed my print settings to eco the minute I had text in a project! so I had to manually change my print setting every time I now print using word!!! Also I found that when I use the Silhouette software it seems to use more toner than other programs, so I tend to use the Silhouette software these days for my foiling projects!

I hope this has been informative for you regarding how the Heidi Swapp Minc works and how foiling with it works.

Feel free to subscribe to my blog as I will be adding more posts about foiling over the coming months.

Until next time....

1 comment:

Linda Parker said...

Thank you for taking the time to share this info. Really useful x