How to make Hot Foil Stamping Plates

I found someone online who makes their own hot foil stamping plates at home. Unfortunately they are not going to share thier knowledge. Does any one know how this person is doing so. They make metal plates that are about .153 thick with a relief of .080 and can make them out of magnesium. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Since they are working with magnesium they must be etching them in acid. You’d have to apply a resist to the surface to keep from etching away the areas that are to remain type high and you’d also need something with which you could cut the plates down to size. This is a big project that requires equipment, space and hazardous materials. If you just need an odd plate here and there a place like Owosso is probably a better option. Or is there an engraving place that provides a similar service in your area?

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thank you for your comment,that is what I thought as well. I did do a seach and I saw somewhere that someone used a photopolmer plate called Toyos KS174. If this worked that would be great, I need a new design and it is only used for up to 10 or so impressions. I have absolutley no experience or knowledge of photopolymer but want to learn all I can. From what I can see it’s the relief that is limiting with photopolymer beacuse I am imprinting on leather books, is that right?

Photopolymer is like plastic, I don’t think it will work for hot-stamping (but I could be wrong). I think you would want magnesium or zinc on a mag or zinc base, if you are using a Kingsley, Howard, or Quikprint type of press, to transfer the heat properly.

Try Owosso; I got my first plate back from them and they were super friendly and helpful. They make blocks specifically for hot-stamping too. Not expensive.

I’ve been looking into foil stamping with photopolymer as well. Check out this link and look under the Photopolymer supplies category:

Here’s another link showing a video of the process. Go to and search for:
asc365 Hot Foil Stamping Machine Instruction

It looks like you can make surface prints, but I doubt combo stamping (stamp embossing with die and counter die). If you have any success, let me know and I’ll do the same.

i don’t think you need to get into the acid etching die bizz.
metal magic (owasso can too prob) can do alot of stuff for you off of a “100% size, all black , jpg ” file… copper is much more durable and due to the haz mat of magnesium vs. recycle value of copper. copper is a good deal. magnesium is very soft and 1, count them,,,ONE screw up,,,your mag die is toast. most times a copper will live to fight another day.

I have always been under the “impression” that magnesium plate material is harder than copper. It is more brittle, which could make thin line images more susceptible to developing faults (if the shoulder is inadequate). I have a bit of experience at correcting faults in both copper and magnesium dies (removing etching pimples) and the copper was easier to work with standard engraving tools, giving me the idea that it was softer. A lot depends on the alloy used, I suppose.

JHenry- you are right that the alloy used and the type of rolling it recieved determines the hardness of a copper plate. They can range from very hard to so soft that they will only stand up to a few dozen impressions. Most of the presensitized copper plates on the market are “meduim” ….. which makes them about the same as magnesuim plates. They are easier to work with hand-tools because the metal is less brittle, and thus cut much more smoothly. They stand up fairly well to foil stamping.

Etching them is not too terribly difficult, but does require a bit more care than making PP plates. As far as a DIY type things go, it’s not the sort of process that one should tackle as a rank beginner.

i must admit that you guys are the printers here. i enjoy this site, but except for some years ago experiance building Kluge inkers, my trade is in foil, embossing and die cutting. in my end of this bizz i find mag to be much less durable than copper. a missed sheet across a mag die will dent it. now having given up on mag plates, i will say that, maybe there are new alloys of mag out there but…. i really just don’t mess with them any more.

hello everybody,
For the hot stamping plate there are two kind of, one steel plate like zinc or copper plate and one is the photopolymer plate.
The zinc or the copper plate are a old plate making, it really a big project to make them and it also need various chemical liquids, but now most of the steel plate are engraved, but it also need laser Engraving machine, that are an big invest for this equipment.
For the photopolymer plate, it is a new kind of plate, it is water-solution after exposure, so you can make your plate in a few seconds easily. We make hot stamping plate with and it have a prefect in high temperature resist and thermal conductivity.
It is great DIY plate by ourselves.

asc365 elina

Bunting Magnetics’ Cerface base is adaptable to many different types of letterpress applications, including hot foil stamping, and has been for many years now. These are, of course, made for industrial usage.

Here are some of their specs in this regard:

- Light Embossing with aluminum bases with up to 400 tons of pressure on copper dies.
- Hot foil stamping with aluminum bases up to 350 degrees F with Photopolymer, magnesium, copper or brass dies laminated with .010” steel backing using 3M - 467MP or 468 MP adhesive. .010 tin plate can be purchased from Precision Steel 708 455-1341
- Diecutting applications should use a stainless steel or steel base when using a flexible die.
- Hot Stamping and diecutting combination temperatures to a maximum of 350 degrees F.


Read your post and very intrested in photopolymer plates also but can not find a photopolymer plate that dose not melt. could tou see your way clear to let me know what plate you use and where to obtain ti please
will send email if you prefer
Bob Read

Hey 2boysandadog, Making mag or copper dies does require equipment and chemicals but is still being done all about the USA. If you are looking for somewhere to get info and or purchase what you would need you can contact “Anderson Vreeland” company or “UEI” (I think that stands for Universal Engraving), both of which sell etchers, chemicals, presensitized metal and other supplies.
It would be pretty expense to get into so I don’t think you would want to do it just to make a few dies for yourself but metal dies do have a lengthy history in the trade and work well for many applications.
Good luck

Elina I live in Australia get them fron AVFLEX 108 Carnarvon Street Silverwater NSW 2128. That are Mavelon DS 94 Make my negative on my Bubble jet printer plate can stand heat up to 200 Celces
If I can be of any more help E mail [email protected]