Valentine Cards: Fall in Love with Foiling

Want to add some shimmer to your mixed-media Valentine cards? Try foiling! In this article from our January/February 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, artist Diana Trout shares easy ways to add foil to handmade cards. You can also use these techniques in other mixed-media paper art projects: journal pages, collage—the possibilities are endless.

valentine cards
Diana Trout used foiling techniques to make these mixed-media Valentine cards.

Foiled Again by Diana Trout

Glitter Girl? Not me—that is, until foiling made its way to the paper art scene. I fell for it, so much so that I devoted a good part of last winter tracking down every possible way to add metallic glimmer to paper, including a new machine.

I’ve incorporated some of those easy techniques into a few mixed-media Valentine’s Day cards. Use the designs here, or have fun creating your own. Don’t be surprised to find yourself falling for foiling, too.


  • Templates (Available to download in this online extra)
  • Laser copier
  • Cardstock, White and colored (I use 120-lb. cardstock.)
  • Foiling machine (I used a Heidi Swapp Mini Minc Foil Applicator machine by American Crafts.)
  • Glue pen (I use a Quickie Glue™ Pen from Sakura® or a Zig® Two Way Glue Pen.)
  • Foil sheets (I used iCraft® Deco Foil™ by ThermoWeb, Ranger Shiny Transfer Foil Sheets, and Heidi Swapp Minc™ Reactive Foil in Gold, Silver, Rose, Rose Gold, Mint, and Copper.)
  • Scissors, paper cutter, or craft knife
  • Ink blending tool or cosmetic wedges (I used the Ranger Ink Blending Tool.)
  • Ink pads (I used Ranger Tim Holtz Distress™ ink pads in Hickory Smoke and Tumbled Glass; and Tsukineko VersaMark™ for embossing.)
  • Decorative paper (I used 6″ x 6″ sheets.)
  • Glue stick (I used a UHU® glue stick.)
  • Markers (I used Ranger Tim Holtz Distress™, Tombow, and Zig® Real Brush Clean Color markers.)
  • Gel pen (I used a White uni-ball® Signo® Broad Point.)
  • Cancelled postage stamps
  • Stapler
  • Stencils (I used a cloud stencil from The Crafters Workshop.)
  • Glue, white (I use IndigoBlu FlitterGlu, ScraPerfect Best Glue Ever, or iCraft® Deco Foil™ Liguid Adhesive for the stamping technique.)
  • Craft mat
  • Stamps, clear or rubber (I used the heart and “I Love You” stamp from the “I See You” set by Simon Says Stamp.)
  • Embossing powder (I used WOW Clear Gloss Super Fine Embossing Powder.)
  • Heat tool
  • Tracing paper
  • Laminating machine (I used a Royal Sovereign® 9″ Laminator.)
  • Optional:
    • Tombow MONO Removable Adhesive
    • White eraser

“You and Me”

1. Copy the illustration on a piece of white cardstock, using a laser copier and sizing the image for use on a 3½″ x 4″ card. (FIGURE 1) Set the copier or printer to the darkest setting and use the black-and-white setting.

NOTE: Black-and-white laser copies must be used for this process; foil will not adhere to inkjet images.


2. Foil the heart illustration. I used American Crafts™ Heidi Swapp™ Minc™ Foil Applicator™ machine for this. (SEE NOTES ON USING THE MINC MACHINE AT THE END OF THIS POST.) Alternatively, trace the image with the glue pen and let it dry until tacky. Press the dull side of the foil sheet to the sticky surface, rub gently, and then peel it away to reveal the foiling.

3. Cut the cardstock to size and darken the edges of the card with the blending tool loaded with ink, rubbing the tool on the card in a circular motion. I used the Hickory Smoke ink pad. Set it aside to dry.

4. Trim the decorative paper to 4″ × 5¼″. Dab the edges of the paper with the glue stick and add foiling as before. (FIGURE 2) This is one of my favorite techniques because it gives a distressed, mottled look to the foiling, and the effect is subtler than the other foiling techniques. It’s a great way to use leftover bits of foil in various colors, too.


5. Cut a scalloped border piece from a piece of cardstock or paper, trim it to fit your card, and then add foiling as desired. I drew vertical lines with the glue pen, ran the pen along the scalloped edge, and added foiling.

6. Assemble the card. Using a glue stick, adhere the decorative paper to a 4½″ × 11″ card base. Glue the heart and scalloped border on top of the decorative paper, and color in the designs with markers. (SEE OPENING IMAGE.)

“Daisy Vase”

1. Copy the daisy image onto cardstock with a laser copier. Trace over the image with the glue pen. Allow the glue to set until tacky, and then press the foil to the drawing, lightly rubbing over the foil with your finger. Alternatively, copy the image onto hot pink cardstock, and run it through the Minc machine, following the manufacturer’s directions.

2. Color the daisy image with markers, and fussy cut the daisy vase.

3. Create a card base by trimming a piece of cardstock to 3½″ × 8″ and then folding it in half. Cut another piece approximately 2½″ × 3″ and decorate it. I wrote song lyrics with a white gel pen. Adhere the decorated piece to the card base, and add the daisy image on top, using the glue stick. (FIGURE 3)


4. Cut a postage stamp into a banner shape. Create 2 more slightly longer banner shapes from decorative paper. Staple all 3 to the top of the card, or glue them in place if desired. (FIGURE 3)

5. Optional: Foil another daisy design, and trim the image. Glue it to a piece of red cardstock, and then trim around the daisy vase image, leaving about a ¼″ margin of the red cardstock. Write your note on the back side of the card. Use it as a postcard or slip it into an envelope for mailing.

“Love is in the Air”

1. Copy the “Love is in the Air” design on a 4″ × 5¼″ piece of white cardstock with a laser copier. Foil it in gold, using the Minc machine or the glue-pen-and-foil technique. (FIGURE 4)

TIP: Remove unwanted foil or glue on the cardstock by scratching the area lightly with a craft knife, then rubbing gently with a white eraser. Repeat as needed.


2. Color in the flowers with markers. Stencil in a cloud design with the mini dauber and ink pad. I used the Tumbled Glass ink pad. Darken the edges of the card using the dauber and more ink. I used the Hickory Smoke ink pad.

TIP: To hold the stencil in place while coloring on a small piece of paper, I adhere the stencil to my craft mat with a small piece of Tombow MONO Removable Adhesive.

3. Trim the “Love is in the Air” card to 3¾″ × 5″, and mount it to a 4″ × 5¼″ piece of decorative paper. Fold a piece of 4¼″ × 11″ cardstock in half, mount the decorative paper to the card, and embellish it with a postage stamp.

Foil with rubber stamps

Take your stamped images up a notch by adding foiling. You can use rubber or clear stamps for this technique and any white glue.

1. Cut a piece of decorative paper and mount it to a folded card. I used a 4″ × 5¼″ piece of paper.

2. Squeeze a small amount of white glue, about the size of a nickel, onto a craft mat or other slick surface. I used FlitterGlu for this.

3. Dab a cosmetic wedge or blending tool into the glue until it is evenly saturated, and gently pounce it lightly onto the stamp. (FIGURE 5) Stamp the design and allow to dry until tacky. Lay the foil on top of the design, rub gently over the design, and remove the foil sheet from the card. (FIGURE 6)

valentine cards

Stamp, emboss, and laminate

Stamp an image onto paper or cardstock with ink, and sprinkle it with embossing powder. I used a Tsukineko VersaMark™ inkpad and Wow Clear Gloss Super Fine Embossing Powder. Heat set as usual for embossing.

After embossing, make the following layers: tracing paper, embossed image, foil, and tracing paper. Set your laminator to its highest setting and run the layers through, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Sometimes your foiled image will be perfect, and sometimes you may need to use one of the tricks mentioned to fix the “skipped” areas.

Notes on using the minc machine

The Minc machine uses heat to transfer foil onto laser images. A variety of pre-made designs are available on paper and cardstock, but you can also create your own patterns with a laser copier. Although the machine comes with instructions, here are a few tips:

• Always use the foil with the dull side touching the design and the foil side up.

• Make sure the area to be foiled is completely covered with foil before it goes through the machine, or the toner will stick to the transfer folder. For this reason, I recommend purchasing another set of the folders when you purchase the machine.

• Any skips in your foiling can be touched up with a glue pen and foil. Apply the glue pen to the area that was missed, give it a few moments to set until tacky, and press the foil over the area. Alternatively, you can use a gel metallic pen to touch up missed spots.

Diana Trout’s professional life is divided equally between her twin passions for teaching and creating. Her artwork and articles have appeared in national magazines, and she exhibits regionally in the Philadelphia area. Diana teaches in person and online, as well as maintaining an active blog and YouTube channel. She is the author of Journal Spilling: Mixed Media Techniques for Free Expression from North Light Books. Visit her website at

If you enjoyed making these Valentine cards, be sure to also check out Diana’s paper cloth flower tutorial!

Plus, check out these great products available in our online shop:

In her Playful Paper Backgrounds video, artist and author Diana Trout shares a wealth of artful techniques for creating delightfully designed papers using inks, paste, and paints.
The January/February 2016 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors offers fresh ideas for surface design and plenty of inspiration.



Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques, Paper Art and Zen Doodle


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