Introduction: DIY Gold Foil Printing for Invitations and Envelope Liners
As I begin the daunting task of planning my wedding, I realize how expensive wedding related items are. In an effort to save money where I can, I decided to make my own Save the Dates from scratch. After seeing some of the prices for gold foil invitations, I realized that I didn't want to spend $3+ per card, only to have someone look at it, and eventually toss it in recycling. This was a simple process for me, as I had most of the materials already. In the end, this cost me roughly $.51 per Save the Date, including the envelope!
Step 1: Materials
For the invitation
- Cardstock- For this I'ble, I used black crafting cardstock. Be sure to use a cardstock that is coated. Paper that is too porous won't have clean transfers of the gold foil.
- Gold Foil- I used a roll as opposed to sheets because it's significantly cheaper and you get so much more of it. I purchased this on Amazon
- Laminating machine- Make sure it's not a cold laminator. You need heat to apply the gold foil. You can find these on Amazon for $19-$30 USD
- Laser Printer- I don't own one, so I created my template, printed it at a printing center, and then photocopied my design on my cardstock. If you use an inkjet, it won't work as the foil won't stick to the printed ink.
For the envelope liner
- Everything above- only I printed the design on plain old paper
- Template to cut envelope liner- I used A2 envelopes from Paper Source, and they sell plastic templates for all their standard sized envelopes.
Step 2: Step 1: Print Design With Laser Jet
Once you have a design you like, you will want to print that image onto your cardstock or paper with a laser jet. For whatever reason, the gold foil will adhere to the ink from a laser jet but not an inkjet. If you are like me, and don't own a laser jet printer, you can send your final design to a printer.... OR do what I did, which is much more economical- and photocopy your final design onto the paper. This option only cost me $0.13 USD per page to print. Per 8.5"x11" page, I was able to print 4 invitations and 3 envelope templates.
Don't have a design where the line work is too fine, otherwise you don't get a clean transfer and will see gaps in the artwork. You can see from my example on the next step how I had some trouble with the gold transfer as a result of poor printing quality and or fine line work.
Step 3: Step 2: Laminate & Peel
Cut enough gold foil to cover your design. Place the foil backside down on top of the printed page, with the gold facing up. Run it through a hot laminator as per the instructions on your machine. (if your machine does not come with a folder to put your work into, just sandwich the gold foil between two pieces of cardstock. What you want to avoid is running the gold foil through and allowing direct contact with the laminator).
Once it's been run through, gently peel back the gold foil and... TA-DA!.
In an effort to save even more moolah, I actually saved all the leftover gold foil and will use it for another decor project. The scraps just look too beautiful to toss out.
If you are using a thicker cardstock, make sure you select a thicker setting on your laminator. If your laminator only has one setting, run it through twice. Definitely test it out on some test sheets to find the right amount of heat. I don't think you can overheat it, but if you under heat it, it won't transfer.
You can also see from the last image in this step that there were some transfer issues. I didn't get a clean transfer. This is a result of any of the things I already listed: using non coated cardstock, inconsistencies in the print quality, laminator not being hot enough, line work being too fine on your final design. Note, its not going to be perfect every time, but that's part of the beauty of doing it yourself. It adds character and people will still be blown away that you made that yourself; imperfections and all!
Step 4: Step 3: Envelope Liner
Once you have printed and laminated your design, use an envelope template and cut out your liners. If you don't own these pre-made templates, they are easy enough to trace and create.
Just slide these into the envelope, tape or glue in a couple spots to secure it, and voila!
Step 5: Final Product
Here is what my final Save the Date looked like! I loved how it turned out for a few reasons:
1. It was my design which makes it personal- I didn't have to use someone else's template, or pay extra to use my own design
2. It was so so so economical. I think I saved close to $300 doing it myself!
3. Friends and family loved getting it and asked me how I did it. In fact, a few asked if I can do gold foil for them on other projects, so in the end, I might even make some money doing custom work for friends with the materials I have left over!
Give it a whirl. Feel free to ask me any questions if you run into trouble!