Can you use a hot foil plate without a machine?

Hi crafters. The hot foil experiments continue. I love foiling but I don’t have a hot foil machine. But what do you do when you find a beautiful hot foil plate on sale? Of course, you buy it and experiment! The worst that can happen is that you have a lovely letterpress plate. The plate I’m using here is the Anna Griffin thorny branches foil stamp die from Couture Creations.

This is my first attempt. I’m sure I could do better next time now that I know what the issues were with this.

I started with watercolour paper and added 2 pinks to it and some spatters. When this was dry and reasonably flat I laid pink hot foil on top (pretty side up) and aligned it so it matched where I wanted the foiling. I aligned so one corner of the image was going into one corner of the foil. I trimmed the foil hanging over the edge of the paper. I did not trim around the design as when I tried that at first, something took a bit of foil off the sheet right where the image would be, before I could use it. I put tiny bits of tape on 2 points so it wouldn’t shift. Then I took a wooden clipboard and laid the hot foil plate face down on it. Since it is all metal it doesn’t really matter which side you heat as the heat will conduct throughout. I just thought that if I heat it face down, then I only need to lift and place, not flip over as well. So I heated it on the wooden board until it was very hot. I knew there would be fiddling time where it would lose heat, as I hadn’t done it before. This is where I had a problem. TEST YOUR SANDWICH BEFORE YOU USE YOUR FOIL!! The hot foil plate must be thicker than a die. My normal diecutting sandwich was too fat with the plate. You may see the top edge of the foiled image is more indented from this initial attempt. I then started changing plates and adding shims. Because there was an indent I could put the plate back in the same position. I put one piece of tape on the plate to help it stay put. I reheated the plate while it was sitting on the foil before trying to run it through the diecutting machine again. When I got a firmer sandwich I put it through slowly a couple of times. This is the result. There are patchy bits but with all the fiddling it is not surprising. I am hoping that not fiddling with the sandwich and doing it more smoothly next time will give a more even result. As all machines could vary, you will need to work out your own sandwich. The foil doesn’t transfer until it has both heat and PRESSURE. Heating the plate on top of the foil doesn’t cause foil around the plate to transfer. If there is some stray foil you could use an eraser. I added a sentiment from Altenew Reason to smile Stamp set in Catherine Pooler Party dress ink.

I am entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon says Stamp Wednesday challenge: Think Pink

CAS mix up card challenge for October . My choice is watercolour.

Time Out #145 Breast cancer awareness: One layer with pink

Happy crafting



  • Nonni

    Ooooh this is beautiful! I love the shine from the foiling and the monochrome pink look is just perfect for our challenge. Beautiful, artsy CAS card. Thank you for joining us at Time Out!

  • sandie

    oh I adore this card-such a stunning arty look and you did a fab job with this plate-how creative. Isn’t that shine just amaazing and goes so well being on the pink-seems to bring out the shine more. So pleased to see you at Time Out

  • Bonnie

    Another fantastic experiment in foil! I love the pink foil! A delightful design with the watercolor and foil! Thanks so much for sharing this again at CAS Mix Up!

  • Loll

    You’re a quick learner. I love this card. Gorgeous colours and beautiful foiling. So is like your hot place like a panini machine with smooth plates?? No matter, it works beautifully and that’s all that matters. Thanks again for sharing with us at CAS Mix Up!

    • Christine

      The hot foil plates/ stamps are really metal stamps. They look like dies but do not cut. They have a raised flat metal image which impresses into the paper but if it’s hot that will transfer hot foil.

  • Hideko

    Love the monochromatic contrast between the soft watercolor background and the shiny foiled branches! I don’t have a hot foil plate but you got a gorgeous one. The silhouette is so fabulous. Thanks so much again for sharing this beauty with us at CAS Mix Up!
    Hideko xx

  • Shona Chambers

    I have never foiled in my life, so I’m certainly no expert but I think this looks incredible!! The shine is amazing and the colour is matched so beautifully with the ink you used too. Its such a gorgeous card and shows how much interest you can get on a one-layer design. I’m so glad you shared this with us at TIME OUT!

  • Kim Heggins

    Wow…this is simply over the top fabulous! So in love with your gorgeous card, just love all that wonderful pink and your foil experiment seems to be working, just love this!!! Thank you so much for playing along with us at Time Out!

  • Cath

    This turned out beautifully – it helps that your foil and the colours on your background go together so well…AND it’s a beautiful, natural image. You went to a lot of trouble (hassle!) to make this work but the result is well worth it. It’s gorgeous. I’m intrigued by your experimenting…reminds me of how I used to be! Fab piece.
    Cath x

  • Judy Sander

    This is beautiful. Any imperfections just show it off that much better. Just goes to show you/us, that if you get the principal function of heat and pressure, it is possible to hot foil without the machine. Good to know.

  • Linda Walmsley

    WOW! WOW! WOW! This looks stunning, especially when the light catches that gorgeous colour of foil. Great job by the way …. I love how crafters always find a way around things. Thank you for playing along with the CAS Mix Up Challenge xx