What are hot stamping dies?
Hot stamping dies are graphic images, logos, or text that are photo-etched or machine-engraved on a metal, polymer, or silicon material. Dies are the only way to add logos and graphic designs for hot stamping. We offer five types of hot stamping dies including magnesium, brass, silicone, polymer, and combination. The dies may differ by their material, production, cost, durability, and precision. This means, depending on your medium or your project, one die may be preferred over another. Let’s sift through the mystery and find the die that is best for you!
Magnesium dies are made with a chemical/photo etched process that gives clean, crisp images for hot stamping text and graphics. They are inexpensive and durable and provide excellent results.
Pros: Inexpensive*, durable
Brass dies are machined either by hand or with computerized (CNC) engraving machines. Some customers say brass dies provide better image detail and superior heat conductivity. Brass dies are expensive and take more time to produce.
Pros: Durable, higher image quality and precision, superior heat conductivity
Cons: Expensive*, longer production time than magnesium
Silicone Dies are soft heat conductive dies that can be formed to fit a round, curved, or irregular surface. Silicone dies are made from a soft density silicone depending on the need of the job. Silicone dies can transfer foil for graphics, text, and logos on to odd shaped materials that are not flat. Typically they are used in plastic or acrylic applications. Silicone dies are expensive but if the product needs dimensional conformity, this is the only way to foil stamp it aside from a thermal transfer or pad printing.
Pros: Prints on irregular surfaces, aids in dimensional conformity
Cons: Most expensive*
Polymer Dies are the newest form of die making. Polymer is a photo sensitive, steel backed, water soluble resin material. Once exposed to UV light the plate can be washed out with water to reveal the positive image of your artwork. The cost of polymer dies are a fraction of the cost of magnesium. A 2 x 4 polymer die will cost about $6. Polymer dies are meant for one job only and will not have the longevity of magnesium or brass.
Polymer dies can be made in house within an hour. All you need to make polymer hot stamping dies “in house” is a UV exposure unit, ink jet printer and blank polymer sheets.
Pros: Very inexpensive*, can be self-made in house
Cons: One time use only, temporary, small depth
Combination dies are used for creating a raised or embossed effect on paper, card, and coverstock. This effect requires two matching dies in a male/female configuration. This two di-configuatioon give a crisp detailed raised image that is classic and elegant. All combination dies are machined from the highest quality metal and fiber glass counter to ensure the best possible quality finish. Our customers can specify 0.3mm or 0.8mm backing thickness for the counter force. These two pieces, the backing and the die, will have locating pin holes for easy and accurate positioning of the counterforce.
Combination dies add a premium finish to your stationary or card stock and are available as a simple rounded emboss or more complex multilevel impression.
Pros: Allows for raised embossing on card or paper stock
Con: Tedious set-up, pricey*
When foil stamping, one must consider what die would best serve his/her project or product. If you are having difficulty trying to find out which die is right for you or, perhaps, you are thinking about trying out a different medium, please do not hesitate to contact us so we can better service you. You can contact us by filling out our Contact Page or calling us toll-free at 1-800-370-3739
*Prices are per quote only. All normal guidelines are required when submitting artwork.
**All dies require camera-ready vector art in either a .pdf or .eps format of the designs in order to be process. Please consult our Die Guidelines.