The Magic Behind Foil and Heat Transfer Adhesive


Everything you need to know about Magic Foil

Summer is around the corner, and there is no better way to catch your customer’s eye than with a custom foil shirt. Foil has been used to decorate apparel for years, most commonly known to adhere to screen print ink or black laser toner. With the easy use, reflective shine, and creative nature, foil is a fantastic option for products that are fun to make. Generally, it has been a material celebrated by crafters, avoided by storefronts. Until now.

By using a heat transfer adhesive, you can amplify the consistency and longevity of foil. With Siser’s EasyWeed Adhesive, you can now load a sheet of the glue into your vinyl cutter, just like HTV. The cut settings and weeding experience are very similar to that of Siser’s EasyWeed product family. In fact, it also comes on a carrier sheet, meaning you must mirror your design like HTV.

How It Works

Simply cut and weed your design in the adhesive, and press to the shirt. This glue only requires a pressing time of two to three seconds at 305° Fahrenheit with medium to firm pressure. This will transfer the glue completely and it will have a slightly darker appearance than the shirt that it is now on. At this point, you are ready to lay down your piece(s) of foil.

At the same temperature and pressure, press the foil to the adhesive on the shirt for 10 seconds. This will be color side up, as it will pull from the dull underneath side. The foil actually has an extremely thin carrier sheet that will look like clear plastic once the color has been pulled from it. Be sure to wait until the product has cooled to room temperature before peeling the foil. Waiting 30-45 seconds should be enough time. When you peel the sheet of foil, only sections that were touching the glue will pull from the piece that you use. Save this leftover material because you can still use the parts that have color on them. You will be left with a consistent shine in whichever color or pattern you choose.

Some people like to use foil to achieve a shiny effect or exact shade of the color they want. Others like to load up the shirt with more colors than they would typically use with vinyl. The advantage here is that you are using the function of the heat press twice, regardless of how many colors are used. One press for the adhesive, and one press for the foil. The exception to that is if you are doing a distressed design or are incorporating another material such as rhinestones or heat transfer vinyl.


Magic Foil is versatile. Aside from garments, it can be used on nearly everything from paper to ceramic mugs, used to create color effects and texture.

  1. Distressing – Distressing is a unique way to incorporate two colors to take advantage of popular color schemes or a weathered look that won’t disappear after one wash. The popularity of a vintage or distressed effect on apparel has stood the test of time.

When producing a distressed foil design, the application process is very similar. The only difference is that you crumple the first color of foil up to create wrinkles, cracks, and crevices in the material. When you flatten it out, lay it over the pressed adhesive, and press it, it will leave voids and gaps in the adhesive that do not catch the color. These sections will fill in with a second color when it’s laid over the entire design, not wrinkled. This method will leave you with a unique design that has a second color distressed into it. Keep in mind that when repressing foil that has already been heat applied, you will dull some of that shine on the color. This will also occur when the shirt is often put in the dryer.

  1. Two-Tone – Another popular decoration method with foil is a two-tone. Since you are cutting the foil by hand, it can be tough to create a perfectly straight line to split two colors on the same adhesive section. TRW Magic Foil comes in a 12” wide roll with two perfectly straight edges on each side.

If you cut pieces with an edge, line up that flat edge on the adhesive and simply lay the other color overtop of it. Since the underneath piece is making contact with the adhesive and has a straight edge, it will create a prefect seam between colors with no shirt or product showing through.

  1. Etching – Another unique way to manipulate foil is by etching or pulling color out of the foil before you press it. Foil is very sensitive before pressing, and color can transfer with a simple scratch or sticky material making contact with the non-color side.

Use this to your advantage to remove color in the shape of what you want, whether you use a tool to hand scratch it or sign vinyl with a designed shape. This will prevent color from sticking to that area on the adhesive with the first color press. You can press a second time with a separate color to seamlessly fill in your altered design.

Profit margin

Foil is a sensitive material, so wearers should be cautious of how they take care of foiled apparel. It is not a replacement for heat transfer vinyl as for as longevity goes, but is a perfect option for any themed, event, or creative shirt.

This is a cost-effective way to decorate apparel, with an average combined cost of $2.50 per square foot, with that cost not fluctuating much with a higher number of colors. This is when foil becomes a grossly cheaper option than heat transfer vinyl. For multi-color designs, you will also have less cutting and weeding time because only one sheet is cut on your vinyl cutter. Creating a flashy six-color shirt would now only involve one cut and two presses, drastically reducing the amount of time using equipment. Aside from the low cost and reduced production time, you are also offering a unique option for customers.


The goal is to do what you normally wouldn’t with heat transfer vinyl when using TRW Magic Foil. Give designs some character, get creative with special effects, and make an added profit off holidays and special occasions with themed apparel.


Want to see foil in action? Watch this video and see what else you can press foil on.


About Author

“Stop putting vinyl in my office.” Joe is in his 3rd year with the Rhinestone World and is the Sales Coordinator. You will often see him at trade shows or giving product demonstrations to customers. This has given him an appreciation for helping new and existing apparel decorating businesses grow. His passions include food, traveling, and being the best athlete at TRW. Joe has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Distribution and Logistics, with a minor in Business Administration from East Carolina University.

Leave A Reply

Get Notified When We Post

By submitting this form, you are granting: The Rhinestone World, 2077 58th Ave Cir E, Bradenton, FL, 34203, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy ( for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.