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How to use rub on foils

What are the foils?

The rub on foils sold by Foil Play are a powder-coated film, which creates a lovely foiled effect for your crafts. Foil Play offers a huge range of foils in many colours - including metallic, matt, pearl, holographic, rainbow, marbled and other special effects foils. Choices available include starter kits and colour co-ordinated sets available with or without glue pens. Alternatively, you can make your own custom kit, purchasing whichever foils you wish from the individual foils section. Foil Play also sells a wide selection of gorgeous ultra fine glitters.

Keen crafters will be able to make beautiful, individual cards and other projects using these very versatile materials. If you are arty or crafty (and even if you aren't) you will be able to come up with some fabulous results.

Letters and swirls die cut from double sided self adhesive film, then foiled
Leaves decoupaged, then veins traced with a glue pen and foiled

How can I use rub on foils?

The foils can be applied to an adhesive that dries 'tacky' such as Tonertex Write & Rub, Sakura Quickie, Zig glue pens or similar, or double sided adhesive film or tape.

To use a glue pen, write, trace or highlight a design and leave it to dry completely so that it is clear (which can take up to 30 minutes).  Then press the foil over the adhesive(shiny or coloured side up), rub over the design and then lift off - it's that simple! If there are any gaps in your design, press an unused piece of foil over the glue. You can transform inexpensive printed papers to something much more luxurious by adding your own foiled detailing to the design.

The foils also work with heat, so can be applied with a hot foiling pen, or using your TODO or Craft Dragon foiling machine.

There is a fantastic array of die designs available, why not cut flourishes or other designs from self adhesive film and foil them, for a really opulent finishing touch to your projects. Alternatively, for a more subtle approach, highlight elements on a  die cut shape with your glue pen and then foil. 

You can create random marbled effects using left over pieces of foil. To do this, lay the emptiest one on first, apply as usual and continue till the design is completely covered. The last piece of foil should be a solid colour to ensure that all areas are covered. To make full use of the foil, you can use it until it is completely transparent.

Foiled autumn theme card, by DT member Jane Willis Die cut embellished with foil - design traced with a glue pen and foiled

If you're using a stencil to create your design, it will be less messy to stencil the design in pencil first, then trace over it with the glue.

The foils do vary - occasionally you might find one that needs to be rubbed on with a little more pressure before lifting off, to achieve the best results. A quick way to test the foil to see how easy it will be to work with is to stick a small piece of sellotape over the non-shiny side, press down and lift off.

Other ideas

  • Apply with a hot foiling pen - just place foil shiny or colour side up on your project and write or draw your design on the foil;
  • Apply to any other tacky adhesive, such as: double sided peel off stickers; double sided tape for border effects;  Xyron machine adhesive, the reverse of self adhesive paper; magic motifs or fine glue dots (applied to acetate, these will give a 'mesh' effect;
  • Print off designs or messages in different fonts using your computer and trace over them with a glue pen;
  • Foils can be applied to most hard surfaces (although if the surface is porous, bear in mind that the glue will sink in) - how about creating a decorative foiled design on a glass or tile?
Rosette made from foils, with foiled leaves by DT member Kate Edwards
  • Fabrics can also be foiled, but you would need to apply a special fabric adhesive, or iron onto bondaweb or similar; 
  • Use a bonding powder to foil rubber stamp designs, or trace / colour in using a glue pen; 
  • Use as nail art foil with special nail adhesive;
  • Apply a 'stained glass' style peel off sticker to double sided film, then firmly rub foil over, to colour it in (this technique is known as Scrapito);
  • You can of course simply use the foil as a backing for aperture cards etc - you'll just need to be careful how you adhere it to your design (perhaps by taping the edges, if these can be hidden)
  • If you'd like a design to feature more than one colour of foil, you can mask the part that you don't want to foil yet with polythene, or the covering paper from double-sided film

For more ideas and inspiration, check out the Design Team tag on the Foil Play blog,  or the Foil Play Design Team Pinterest board.

Foiled dragonfly by DT member Bev

What can't I use the foils for?

Attractive though they are, unfortunately the foils aren't suitable for food use, such as wrapping chocolates and sweets. Nor are they robust enough to be embossed or to be directly die cut or punched.

The rub on foils aren't suitable for foiling laser toner print outs (unless you are die cutting from a solid block of toner printed card) - the foil will adhere to the toner, but they will adhere to the rest of the page too.





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