Decoration - Get Fancy With Foils

How To Decorate Apparel With Foil Accents

FoilEven a basic design gets some added pizazz with the addition of foil. Take, for example, artwork that combines one-color lips with two simple words: "Wine Diva." Using silver foil makes the message bling-worthy. That's what experts at Sonoma Design Apparel (asi/329869) did, applying their inline foil process that combines printing plastisol ink with foil stamping. The result is a shiny and durable imprint with much more impact than a matte finish would yield.

The key is focusing on the right elements to highlight. Another Sonoma example was done for Donner Memorial State Park. Gold foil applied with areas of the black shirt peeking through gives tree trunks a dimensional effect. Note: Foil looks great on dark garments.

Dan Corcoran of Forward Printing (asi/700635) took dimension to the extreme when he created an experimental HD Foil process, resulting in an actual raised effect. "We printed the design in a clear gel and then applied randomly dabbed foil by hand while the gel was hot. We sent the garment back around and stacked another layer of gel on top of that with more foil," he explains. "We repeated this a number of times until we ended up with a thick layer of clear gel with random strata of different colored foils embedded within." While the process was too slow to be practical, Corcoran can imagine ways to engineer the technique in a less extreme way to make it wearable and more production-friendly, such as using a larger press with multiple print heads and flashes.

Apple Imprints Apparel (asi/36553) has used foil to set off a number of client projects. By taking a distributor's logo (a simple letter G) and using patterned rainbow foil outlined in a water-based black ink, the team at Apple made the imprint stand out. "The better the print, the better the foil adheres to the shirt," says Mary Poissant, spokesperson for Apple. This was exceptionally important when the Apple team created a newspaper-style imprint for Looks Kill 2 Clothing, which incorporated small text. "Once the foil is on the shirt, weeding away the extra takes more time and care so as not to pull away in the finer detailed areas," Poissant says. She advises to make sure the foil is completely cool before weeding.

As these decorators did, use your imagination. Foil allows you to take a design to the extreme and set your decorated apparel solution apart from the competition.