FAQs about Foiling
Ideas and products
to make your foiling fast and easy
Answered by Marcia
Ann Kuehl & Sharla Hicks © 2007
Foil differ from Gold Leafing?
The special effects of foiling looks very
similar to gold leafing applications but are easier and less costly to use than
Gold Leafing material. Foiling is often more durable when washing
Gold Leafing comes in sheets but is such a fine material that
falls apart easily when applying to a surface.
Foil is a high gloss mylar
that pulls away from the clear backing. Sometimes it is referred to as foil paper
and other times it is referred to as foil sheets. Both terms refer to the same
foil (high gloss mylar) used for special effects.
Surfaces can Foil be applied to?
Foil can be applied to paper, sweater
knits, fabrics, lace, leather, trims, glass, vinyl, plastic, ceramics, wood, walls
and more. If you can apply glue to a surface, you can foil it! Understanding which
adhesive to use is key to the look and effects you will achieve.
How to Apply Foil to Surface
sticks to wet or dry glue! Each glues/adhesives recommended below has an active
tacky quality that grabs the foil when rubbed or ironed.
Dry Glue Steps:
Apply adhesive/glue to the surface (fabric, glass, leather,
wood, ect.) and depending on the adhesive used:
on how to apply adhesives
- Let dry to tacky (1-8 hours)
Lay foil color side up on glued surface.
- Rub foil with finger
nail or rubbing device like a finger presser or squeegee.
NOTE: Click each product for additional information
foil to reveal effect.
- You may re-foil, if parts of adhesive are not
Wet Glue Application for Jones
Tones glue or other wet adhesivesTIP:
Be sure to wash your brush, sponge, stamps, and stencils in water immediately
- Prepare foil by applying glue to back side of foil
foil shapes and apply glue directly to the backside of foil
- Create design
on backside of foil by applying glue with brush or sponge
wet, place foil glue side down on the surface to be foiled
- Apply even
pressure without moving the foil.
- Dry flat 1 hour
- Peel off foil
- You may re-foil, if parts of adhesive are not covered
may also use the foil until all the color is gone.
effects using partially used foil sheets
Collect and reuse your foil paper
until all the color is gone. Partially used sheets can be used in a variety of
ways. Foiling can be used to help create surface designs by building layers of
foil color over the original fabric.
Well used Copper, Gold, & Iridescent Green
Used to create multicolor
foiling in fabric example below.
you can purchase multicolored foil papers, the choices are limited. Experiment
with partially used sheets to create your own layers and patterns of colors.
a piece of foil paper the size and shape to cover part of your design. Foil and
- Now, use another foil paper next to it, or on top of it. Keep
doing this until you achieve the desired effect.
- A well-used sheet will
give a more random pattern of color and create a lightly covered area of color.
- Combining multiple colors will provide a surface texture which now can
be used as a designer fabric.
Foiling is a fun way to make an original
piece of fabric that can be used to make quilts, fiber art wall hangings, altered
books, cards, placed in a frame as a display of art or add pizzazz to home decor.
Is foils washable? i.e.: Wearables, Quilts,
Not all foils are washable. Be sure to read the
directions on the foil product and the adhesive/glue you have selected.
the foil directions state it is washable:
- When laundering, treat
your quilts and wearables as a fine washable. Use water, a gentle soap, and a
gentle cycle. Block and air dry.
Tones and Bella Nonna
foils are washable after application.
Tones recommends to use mild soaps, turn the garment inside out, and use
a gentle cycle. Jones Tones does not recommend using the dryer.
applied to walls, glass, and other home decor items use a gentle soapy water,
soft rag and a light touch to lift finger prints.
size of foiling to purchase
Foil paper comes in many sizes, depending
upon the manufacturer.
packs offer multiple colors and are wonderful for small projects or first
time foilers. They provide a nice sample of color ranges for experimentation and
some will include different adhesives.
- Economy rolls offer cost
effective application for robust jobs like home interior wall applications.
Here at Soft Expressions we have Jones
Tones Economy Packs (multiple colors per package) or single
foil color 50 yard rolls for the heavy duty user.
If you plan
to foil a large project or multiple projects, buying larger pieces will be more
economical. To avoid waste, cut a piece slightly bigger than the area you
need to cover and set the rest aside.
When using a smaller foil paper than
the area to be covered, either put two sheets side by side, or use one sheet of
foil, rub, pick it up, moved it and re-rub. Keep moving it until the entire area
to be foiled is covered.
Depending upon the design, a foil paper can be
re-used until all the color is gone. Check after each use to determine if any
color is still attached before throwing away. (See special effects
for how to use up the last bits of foil on well-used sheets.)
Fabric example and Fabric with Foil added
Note the added life in the
foiled example which of course is even more beautiful in real life!
to use foiling techniques for Fiber Art & Traditional Quilts
are many ways to use foilingand can be used by both traditional and art
quilters with varying effects. Sometimes the fabric needed for a project just
isn't available or is not quite right.
can use foil to highlight specific areas of their quilts. Examples of this type
of foiling are:
- To hightlight an design begin by drawing a design
using a liquid adhesive or a paint brush.
- Outline the edges of an appliqué
the overall design by adding emphasis to the veins or hightlight areas in leaves,
vines, or fruit.
- Using a two step foiling technique, create
more depth for landscape quilts.
- Here is an example of adding depth to
- In water areas, cut wave shapes out of fusible webbing or use
double-sided tape and apply foil. This will create the feel of the water.
draw thin water patterns using a liquid adhesive over the top, and change foil
- Some portions of the waves will stand out in more detail, and
can create a wet look, or a shadow, depending upon the foil and fabric color combinations.
Art Quilters can use foil in many ways to make their
art quilts sparkle without using conventional methods.
- Foil over
the top stitching to emphasize the lines.
- Add depth or texture by using
multiple techniques together.
- Consider stamping with foil glue or using
stencils to apply glue layer. Combined together for a one-of-a-kind surface design.
- Foil can be applied to a variety of fabrics, even silk organza
and fine tulle.
- After applying foil to sheer fabrics, consider layering
to create the depth of color and texture that adds excitement to fiber art projects.
There are many adhesive choices in the market and
most can be used for many applications. Finished effect will often be the determining
factor for adhesive choice. Read the adhesive directions and experiment with end
results to determine the suitability of the adhesive for your surface choice (fabric,
glass, wood, plastic, mesh, metal, leather, ceramics)
effect tacky quality of dried glue.
- In dry climates complete
project the same day or less. Overnight can make the glue's tacky quality dry
and more difficult to use.
- More humid climates, the glue tackiness
can hold up for days, weeks and even months.
- Sharla suggests that you
experiment to understand how foil glue will react in your climate.
Liquid adhesives with applicator tips can
be used right out of bottle to draw a lines for a particular pattern or design.
Liquid adhesives can also be used to cover a large area, but will require other
tools, such as brushes and a small container, to apply the glue to the surface
of the fabric area.
Tones foil glue comes in a multiple sizes, even a gallon
container. Most have an applicator tip. It is water soluble for
easy water cleanup, with no sealing required. It dries clear and
becomes tacky dry in a one hour time frame. It is machine washable.
In addition to fabric, it an be used for leather, paper, glass,
ceramics, and wood. It be used as is, or thinned down to a 10:1
ratio (That is 10 parts adhesive to one part water), before it starts
losing its sticking properties.
Double-sided Fusible Adhesives
fusible products are good for covering larger areas. Most fusibles have a paper
backing and are easy to use. You can draw on the paper side and cut into shapes.
To adhere to the right side of the fabric, remove the paper, put in place, and
use a hot iron. Be careful when selecting a fusible, as many will change the hand
of the fabric.
has a heavy hand, that is, upon application the fabric which was once supple,
is now stiffer where the product has been applied and feels thicker to the touch.
This makes it a great product to use in wall hangings or in projects where you
want the fabric to have more substance and to lay flat.
How to To Use Steam-A-Seam2® & Steam-A-Seam2® Lite with foil.
- Steam-a-Seam2 Lite is manufactured by the same company, but
only slightly alters the hand of the fabric. It has less bulk than Steam-A-Seam2®
so can be used in a variety of applications where you want the fabric to retain
more of its original properties.
- Esterita Austin's MistyFuse
is environmentally friendly because it is solvent free and recyclable. It
does not have a paper backing. Misty Fuse has been extruded to a very fine web
to create a lasting bond that does not add extra bulk. There is no extra adhesive,
so your needles will not gum up. It is adhered using a hot iron and bonds firmly
once cooled. It is suitable for a wide variety of fabrics and leaves a wispy textured
design when foiling with it.
- Jones Tones double-sided
tape comes with the Value Kit. It is a fusible designed for fabrics. It is good
for making designs with curves or long, thin linear patterns.
Jones Tones box example where the foil
was applied using doubled sided tape
found in the Value Kit
to achieve very straight lines
for applying foil to fabric with double-sided tape
to use Jones Tones double-sided
tape, which comes with the Foil Paper Value Pack
the tape on the right side of the fabric to create your design.
- Lay foil color side up, on top of the double-sided tape.
the foil with even pressure and peel the foil paper away.