Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Product Review: Spellbinders Glimmer Hot Foil System

I've had the Spellbinders Glimmer Hot Foil System in my craft room for a couple of months now, and I've been having some fun testing out all the different things that can be done with the machine, plates, and foils!

This is the system as it comes in the box - the machine has a base and removable tray, which heats to allow the foil to transfer with the metal plates and other dies. The additional plates create a sandwich that allows you to run the removable heated tray in a sandwich through your die cutting machine. There are plates in the kit as well as foils to get you started on your way. The tweezers are magnetized so that you can remove your hot foiling plate from the tray to the silicon pad and let it cool.

There are plenty of tutorials showing how to use the machine, so I'm not going to spend time there. It's a very simple system, and the instructions that come with the machine are very clear. Before I go off the beaten path, these are the basic functions of the foiling plates. These metal plates resemble dies, but they do not have a raised outline for cutting - they have raised solid areas that make contact with the foil in order to transfer it to a number of different surfaces. Here's that result on cardstock.

Without foil, the plates can create a beautiful debossed effect.

When inked, the plates can create a beautiful letterpress effect (inked and debossed image - Versafine Clair ink used here, which works wonderfully).

Here's a card done with this technique using the new Stazon Pigment ink - that worked beautifully as well, and cleaned right off the plate with a spritz of rubbing alcohol.

I added some color with pencils. I love the letterpress effect here - love adding texture and depth to a card. You can find this plate HERE.

Cutting dies can be used for foiling! Since my collection of dies is much, much larger than my collection of foiling plates, I'm really happy about this. Here's a small sample I did while testing - remember that the foil will only contact and transfer the outline of the die (the lines that would normally cut).

You can click HERE for more about this card sample, done using a foiled die.

One more sample here, and for this one I foiled a large cutting die and a foiling plate together. Perfect.

Another interesting application for the machine are transfer papers. I haven't played enough with graphite paper to have perfected this, but here's a sample using a waxed graphite paper. I do know the tray doesn't need to be fully heated for this to work well - it seems to work better when it's cooled a bit, but it's fun to know that you can have a graphite outline of your die images for pencil coloring or a different effect on a card.

For this sample I used white Saral transfer paper, and I love that white outline - this will be fun to color, and it really expands the use of dies for cardmaking.

The foil is designed to transfer with heat, but it sticks to adhesive as well, with just gentle finger pressure. This is a great feature, since it really extends the use of the foils immensely. Here I've added a foiled border to a gel print with just a strip of 1/4" Scortape.

TIP: The clear plastic carrier sheet is on the shiny side of the foil, so you'll want that side up when transferring to adhesive. I used a small negative piece here, and pulled the carrier sheet away - any areas that are already transferred, like the "BE" here, will have adhesive still exposed, and you can use a contrasting foil to fill those areas, or pastels, glitter, microbeads, or anything else that will stick to the adhesive. I used some wide Scortape here.

I covered the rest of the adhesive with a scrap of rose gold foil. Not really pretty, but I was in experiment mode! Any areas that don't cover well can just be pressed into again. It's very easy, and no heat is required!

For the next sample, I covered a piece of cardstock with adhesive, and die cut the bird I used earlier.
I removed the liner and pressed silver foil onto the adhesive, and I have a foiled die cut. Where there were details on the image, the liner stayed in place (the eye and the little wing line) - I left it there, and then removed it and added a different color foil on those pieces.

 I was hoping the tray would get hot enough for heat embossing but it didn't seem to quite melt regular powder, and I waited about 5 minutes before giving up. HOWEVER...... it is hot enough to melt sticky embossing powder - that only took about 10-20 seconds. I placed the foil shiny side up and ran the cardstock through my die cutting machine for even pressure on the image, and you might have heard me scream because it worked!!

Here's the foiled image - running it through the machine did widen the lines a little bit, and that might not have been really necessary, but I'm still excited to be able to use this machine for foiling stamped images, and I'll play with this some more to see what produces the best results.

Another exciting discovery... remember that velvet stamping technique that involved an iron and rubber stamps and always seemed a little dangerous...? Well, I had some velvet paper out to try foiling (which did work, but I needed to adjust the pressure) and that technique popped into my head. GUESS WHAT... it works with the Glimmer machine!

I misted the velvet paper, let it heat about 30 seconds, and then pressed my stamp into the paper for about 30 seconds and...

Isn't that cool? Now I need to remember where I got this paper. So excited about this.

I did try some other non-paper surfaces, and had the best results on ribbon. Thicker items can also be foiled (leather, canvas, cork, matboard) but it takes some fiddling to get the right amount of pressure for these... not enough pressure and the foil doesn't transfer - too much and the heated tray will also transfer its grid. Here are a couple of satin ribbon samples.

So I hope you're inspired to try this system out, or to use your system in a new way! If you're wanting to purchase, Amazon has a great price on the machine... also the monthly Glimmer kit from Spellbinders is a great way to collect plate sets and foils, and you'll get a 10% discount on the machine when you subscribe. (The subscription is $20 a month, and you can skip any month if you don't love the kit.) This month's kit is a wonderful alphabet set - it's a great one to start with!

Please let me know if you have further questions about the machine that I can answer and test out. I did have a video camera running while I played, and I will try to condense that into something more visual soon. I waited a long time to hop on this bandwagon, but this has been so much fun!
Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. I LOVE seeing all of your experimenting, Dina! I like the wax graphite paper! I just got some graphite paper, but I don't think it says "wax." Probably not the same thing then. AND I also enjoyed seeing you work with the sticky embossing powder, using your stamps! NICE!!! ;)AND I HOPE you remember where you found that velvet paper! LOL Oh, & here is a question for you Dina: I've been thinking about this & just haven't tried it... When using the machine as a Stamp Press, adding ink to the die & running it through, do you lay a piece of acetate down on the grid to keep from getting ink all over it? Just wondering how you did this. I didn't want to get ink all over, which I would do! LOL Trying to figure out how to get that ink on the die without getting it everywhere else! ;) THANKS DINA!!! SO GLAD you are enjoying your new Glimmer Machine! :D

  2. OMG! Dina! I needed this! TU so much.

  3. Thanks Dina great review! xoxo

  4. oooh this looks so cool.

    (do you think it will run through say a big shot pro diecutter after heating?) I read somewhere that as long as you could run a steel ruled die through the machine this glimmer machine plate stack will fit.
    and it seemed to me that I read somewhere else that you were not using a spellbinders machine or a big shot but, I have not gone poking around in your blog to remember the name of the one with the adjusting rolls sorry.

    the foiling embossed images really opens up the possibilities so much.

  5. Hi Dina,
    Loved your explanation on how to use this awesome machine.
    Do you know if the regular hot foils (the ones that work with toner sheets) can work with this machine?
    thanks so much

    1. Dee, they don't - this is a special heat-reactive foil, and it's different from the toner-reactive variety.

  6. Why is the tray so difficult to pull out, shakes every thing about