Foiling is the elegance that you see in a gold-embossed wedding invitation card. It is the fine, shiny print that gives the card a rich look and makes you wonder ‘how did they do that?’
The more stylish the print, the more advanced the machine that was used to create it. This is why most crafters like to opt for a foil machine that’s perfect for their specific use.Top 5 Picks of Best Foil Machine For Crafters:
- Spellbinders Glimmer Foil System
- Gemini Foilpress Machine
- Artdeco Creations GOPRESS
- VEVOR Stamping Machine
Whether it is foil printing for craft projects or a transfer for scrapbooking, having a machine that does a half-good job is not ideal. You need a powerful foil applicator with a series of right features – that’s when it makes sense to own one.
So, we thought of rounding up some of the best foil machines currently available in the market. This guide has the top seven models intended for crafters and designers. You can use them for a variety of projects including card making, home decoration, and beauty.
Best Foiling Machines to Buy in 2020
Here is a list of the top seven foil machines in the US market.
What is Foiling?
For the uninitiated, foiling is a type of printing that makes use of a foil (thin metallic sheet), heat (reactive agents or adhesives are also used), and pressure to emboss designs on a surface like cardboard or a wooden chip.
It is a design process that is used by crafters to decorate cards (greetings, business, invitation), signages, home décor items, and many other items.
Foil printing is an ancient method but has only received widespread acclaim and following recently. So, if you are a professional crafter, you need to get a foil machine. Like right now!
Different Types of Foil and How They Work
An important thing while deciding on a foil machine is to know the different types of foil you’ll use. Not all projects can be executed using a single type – the gold or silver general-purpose foil. There are types, and each type has a specific characteristic. Here’s a short primer.
There are three types of foils available for crafting. They are:
- Heat Foil – The most common type, it requires a heat source to emboss on a surface. All of the foil machines (or pens) reviewed on this list primarily make use of a heat foil
- Reactive Transfer Foil – This is an advanced version of the heat foil where in addition to heat it also requires a reactive agent/solution for the embellishing/lamination. For example, the Minc foil applicator that we have reviewed below (#1) recommends using toner ink to emboss foil on an A4 paper
- Adhesive Foil – As the name suggests, here an adhesive or sticky liquid is used to transfer the foil onto the surface of the material. This is the most uncommon of the three types
Depending upon the type of the foil, the machine that will apply it also varies.
Different Types of Machines for Foil Application
Here are the types of foil applicator machines currently in use around the world:
The most common type of professional foiling machine, as noted in the #1 model (the Minc) on this list, a foil laminator is like any laminator except for the added ability to transfer foil onto materials like paper and fabric. It uses both heat and reactive transfer foils and is preferred for its uniform foiling and heavy-duty operation.
Prolific designers who sell craft products use this. It is priced in the range of $50 to $350.
Hot Foil Stamping Machine
A hot foil stamping machine is an industrial version of a foil stamper that uses a hand-pulled lever to press down a hot frame which transfers the foil. It is as sturdy as the laminator but is only used for stamping purposes. You will need a separate die cutting machine for this.
The #5 model on this list (VEVOR machine) is an example of a foil stamping machine. It costs upwards of $150 on Amazon.
Quill Pen Connector
You connect this to a die cutting machine and transfer the design on the material. A very common method these days which is picking up pace in the craft world. The #6 model, the Vevor machine, on the list below is an example.
Quill pen connectors are preferred by crafters and designers who already own other types of machines. It is mostly a supplementary tool and can cost up to $100.
Freestyle Quill Pen
A fairly popular type, this one allows you to freely write/draw on a foil which then gets embossed on the material below. The powered pen uses a heated tip to transfer the foil onto the surface. #7 model by We R Memory Keepers reviewed below is an example.
This is preferred by calligraphers and artists and costs a few ten dollars apiece. All quill pens work with heat foils.
A foil fuser is just like a laminator but uses reactive transfer foils for embossing. It’s mostly used by stationery and DTP professionals who print invitation cards, business cards, and other forms of large-scale printing.
Best Foil Machines for Crafters Review of 2020
If you are someone who likes to go through expert reviews before buying, here are detailed summaries of all the seven models of the best foil machines. We tested all of them out to see which ones work better and for which type of crafters.
So, go ahead, and read these foil machine reviews before making the final decision.
#1 – Minc Foil Application Machine
Conceptualized by designer Heidi Swapp for American Crafts, Minc has quickly risen to popularity among American crafters over the past decade. It’s a boutique product but is also a powerful machine.
A crusader of DIY art and crafts, the Minc makes foil application a lot easier. Gone are the days when you had to take good care of your projects and apply a foil emboss cautiously. With Minc, half of your worries are gone.
It is a crowd favorite in the US and elsewhere for several reasons. Equipped with four pressure rollers for even foiling, six heat settings for different materials, and the ability to work in reverse (motor action), it is the best gold foil machine we have ever reviewed. It is also simple to use, with Swapp claiming that three steps – choose a project, choose a foil, and run – are enough to finish a project.
We can attest to that claim because we rigorously tested this Minc foil machine for hours and we found it to be one of the best.
It did send out light smokes (with a pungent smell) the first time we tried it, but then it worked like a charm. (Apparently, the roller coating gives rise to smoke the first time you heat it.) The ability to generate heat is perhaps the most important trait of a foil applicator, so we don’t really mind the smoke.
With Minc, you can carry out foil projects using any materials such as vellum, cardstock, and chipboard. Although the Minc is meant as a foil applicator, you can also use it as a general laminator. Just make sure you use matte paper for the best results.
Think of the Minc like a companion that will get every foiling job done with ultimate ease and grace. Every time you work on it, you will fall in love with it. It’s powerful, reliable, and just plain able to carry any craft project you throw at it.
- Comes with complementary gold sheet, transfer folder, and 3 tags
- 6 different heat settings allow you to manage the foiling temperature based on the material that you use (#5 setting is considered optimum)
- 4 heat rollers for uniform foiling/lamination
- Paper size of up to 13 inches can be foiled
- Can foil letters and graphics
- Low settings are not useful for most craft projects
- Does not heat up quickly and takes longer to cool down
- Does not have legs; heat may dissipate directly on the table/desk
- We recommend placing the Minc on a makeshift leg setup to avoid heat dissipation on the table/desk
- Use toner ink and glossy paper for best results
- Keep your face away from the machine when you use it for the first time
Whether you are obsessed with gold foil application or are simply looking for a professional applicator machine, go with the Minc. As far as the Internet knows, it hasn’t disappointed anyone since it launched in 2015.
#2 – Spellbinders Glimmer Hot Foil System
Spellbinders is a local American brand run by Cleveland-based Stacey Caron. She is a crafter herself, so you already know you are getting a master product here.
The Glimmer hot foil machine is a different type of a foil system. It’s a hot-press device where you place a sheet of paper (or any material) on the hot plate and close the space shims to carry out the foiling. It’s an easier as well as kid-friendly mechanism, making it more accessible to beginners.
Apart from being light on your purse, the Glimmer has several advantages over regular foil systems.
The heat resistant acrylic shims are great for long-term use, silicone cooling pad allows you to get your results faster, and the metal stamp tweezers enables you to pick out the output safely without burning your fingers. The latter is an essential element especially when you are dealing with heat beds.
The Glimmer hot foil machine can emboss foil on any surface or material. Just make sure you follow the steps (as outlined in the handbook) and you are good to go.
Cardstock, fabric, or leather – choose whatever and you can rest assured that this will give you the fine embellishment that you visualized. Perfect for scrapbooking, DIY, and mixed media projects without breaking the bank.
- Silicone cooling pad allows you to get your results faster
- Comes with two starter foil rolls and plates
- Affordable multi-use system
- Heat resistant enclosure allows you to place it on your work desk without the worry of heat dissipation
- Cannot be used to laminate
- Will only work on a certain grade (thickness, surface type) of materials
Always wanted to get a heat foil system for all your DIY art projects? Now you can also afford it with this fine specimen by Spellbinders.
#3 – Gemini Foilpress Heat Press Crafting Foiling Machine
Gemini by Crafter’s Companion is already wildly popular in the United States. In case you already own its die-cutting and embossing electric machine, buying this makes perfect sense.
This foil press machine uses the hot press technique, which is the same as the one we saw in the Spellbinders model. The work area is a tad broader here; you get a space of 7×5 inches to work on your die cuts, greeting cards, and virtually anything that would fit.
We also like that it has a straightforward process, making it usable both by beginners and advanced professionals.
Whether you are making a wedding invitation card or a gift bag, just put the surface material and foil sheet on the hot press and let the machine do its job.
We also found the press to be uniform on all sides, which means you won’t get lopsided embossing which is common in low-quality machines.
It also has a handy control panel at the bottom of the machine which we think is a nice addition. It has basic controls and an 8-bit digital screen to see what control option you chose. The power supply is via a cord that will only work on outlets that supply 120Voltage/60Hz.
- Heat resistant shims allow for easy handling
- Easy operation
- Wide hot press area
- Cannot be used for lamination
The Gemini foil machine is affordable, reliable, and remarkable for its simplicity. If you’re on a budget and would like a safe choice, go with this.
#4 – Artdeco Creations GOPRESS Foil Machine
Artdeco Creations is a brand by Australian crafting conglomerate Couture Creations. It is known for its creative stationery and art products.
Among all the foil embossing machines that we reviewed, this one comes closer to being the best one for beginners. It is easy to use, has a simple hot pressboard, and does its single job perfectly.
Imagine a foil embossing machine (with high plates, mind you) that you can use to emboss on napkins, cardstock, and ribbons. Simply place the cut design on the hot press, place your material on top of it, and you are good to go.
While the machine does not have a timer, we found that you need to let it work for a few minutes to get the desired output. The harsher the surface of the material, the longer you need to let it press.
Heating takes more than five minutes but the upside is that it takes even longer to cool down. If you are embossing several units at once, this demerit turns into an advantage.
As noted above, it is a single-purpose machine used only to emboss foil prints on a material. You will need a separate die-cutting machine to create dies of your liking. This is also why it is light on the pocket.
- Easy to use and operate
- Simple mechanism with no extra bells and whistles
- Can emboss on most common types of materials such as card, ribbons, leather sheets, and napkins
- Takes long to heat up (5+ minutes)
- There is no user manual that suggests the period of heating
There is a saying that if you are new to a craft you should always go for the basic version of its tool first. If you agree with that belief, this right here is the best option. And if you don’t, look at the brighter side and own it for its simplicity and affordability.
#5 – VEVOR Hot Foil Stamping Machine
Los Angeles-based Vevor has been around for more than 10 years now and specializes in industrial products. This heavy-duty foil printing machine is one of their bestsellers.
At first look, the Vevor digital hot foil stamping machine looks like a medical contraption. But that’s only because it works slightly differently, giving you more control over its operation.
This is done through the non-slip handle, temperature control panel, and an anti-slip paper holder. All of these give you a lot more control over the embossing activity so that you get the print the way you want and where you want.
There is also a scale in the hot press area (sized 3.94×5.12 inches) that works well if you are particular about dimensions. For instance, it is very handy if you want the design to be embossed at a specific length from the edge of a paper.
Another highlight is its ability to foil on different types of materials than what we saw in the above models. You can print on wood, PVC, PU, and plastic – which instantly makes this a perfect tool for prolific and advanced crafters. Do you own a shop that sells craft projects? Get it today!
It’s also built strongly, with a water- and dust-proof paint so that you don’t have to worry about external corrosion. This naturally extends its lifespan and makes it a wonderful choice for both home users and professionals.
- LCD panel for temperature visibility
- Water and dust proof
- Can emboss on a variety of materials like wood, leather, and plastic
- Sturdily built for longterm use
- Does not come with a die-cutting machine
- Cannot be used for lamination
This model by Vevor is a good hot foil stamping machine that does its job pretty well without tiring. You’ll just need some time to get used to it but it will give you one of the best foil prints.
#6 – We R Memory Keepers Foil Quill
We R Memory Keepers is another American Crafts brand that has been around for decades. It is known for its innovation in craft products, the proof of which is this superb foil quill pen.
This one here is different from all that we have seen above. The Keepers Foil Quill is a foiling pen that you use with a die cutting machine to create beautiful foil illustrations directly on a surface. You don’t need to use a separate hot press machine to do it.
It is a massively useful addition to any crafter’s kit. You just need a compatible die-cutting machine, a suitable material, and you are good to go. The USB connection feature also allows you to program your designs in a way that they come out nicely on the surface.
Choose from four different adapters depending upon the plotter, three pen sizes (fine 0.5mm, bold 2.5mm, and standard 1.5mm), and three different foil colors (rose gold, gold, silver).
It’s a perfect package for all those DIY craft projects that you make and sell. We tried it on an invitation card and the output exceeded our expectations. The standard pen size is enough for most lettering projects.
It will work across materials such as leather, card, fabric, and chipboard. Here’s a list of compatible machines:
Tip – Just make sure that you use washi tape to hold the quill pen in place for best results. It will also prevent any crooked lines.
- Works with most die-cutting machines
- Has four different adapters, extending its range
- Easy to use and operate
- The cord could be longer
It would be surprising to see an alternative to this pen. It’s a modern tool and one that serves you, saves you time, and gives you excellent results. Buy it today!
#7 – We R Memory Keepers Foil Quill Freestyle Pen
Another great product by We R Memory Keepers, this time around for calligraphers and freehand drawers.
Ever wanted a freestyle pen from which you could use to draw directly on foil? Well, We R Memory Keepers heard your thoughts and created this magical pen.
This quill pen allows you to do freehand drawing on a foil on most surfaces like paper, card, leather, fabric, and even thin wood. And the good thing is that the heated foil stays on all of them permanently.
You would think that you need to adjust the foil shapes after you draw with the pen, but that’s not the case here. Once drawn through the moderately hot quill pen, it stays there. Almost forever.
What we also love about this model is that it works on electricity. Simply connect the USB on a power plug (need to be bought separately) and you are good. This generates the required temperature of heat for the foil to emboss, as opposed to battery-operated pens that can only heat up so much.
Note – While this one comes with a single tip, there are many options to choose from in the market. Simply go to the We R Memory Keepers website or Amazon.com and search away.
- Electrically-powered; generates required heat to foil properly
- Foil stays permanently
- Works on most surfaces such as leather, thin wood, and vinyl
- Comes with a single tip
Do yourself a favor, catapult your craft business or hobby, and get this quill pen today. It’s a worthy investment.
Foil application is a small niche in the ever-shining world of crafting but it can be developed further when you use these machines and tools. We believe that innovation is only possible when more skillful people use these tools to bring out more breathtaking designs and illustrations.
So, if you are a master crafter and have always depended on the stationery store for your creations, it is time to get one of these beasts.
A quill pen or a foil applicator, your choice should depend on your specific requirements. But if you are looking for our recommendation of the best foil machine, these three fit all our demands:
The quill pens by We R Memory Keepers are also great investments and will only add more ability to your toolkit and versatility into your creations.
Get one or two and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.