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Card Making General Techniques

5 Tips to Glimmer Better

Make it sparkle, make it shine! Spellbinder’s Glimmer machine adds sparkle and makes your projects shine! However, it does take a little practice to get a good Glimmer. Keep reading for 5 Tips to Glimmer Better.

Affiliate disclaimer – There is no affiliate connection between Spellbinders and MollyQCreates other than the fact that I personally use their products and have a wholesale account and sell their products on my Starry Night Creations site.

What is a Glimmer Machine?

If you have a Glimmer Machine, feel free to skip to the tips. But, in case you aren’t familiar with a Glimmer machine, it’s a hot foil machine consisting of a platform that heats up and a base the platform attaches to.

The basic process is pre-heat machine, add foil plate and set timer. Next, create a sandwich by adding the foil, paper and Glimmer plates. Remove the platform from the base and roll the platform and sandwich layer through a die cut machine.

The combination of heat and pressure transfers the design on the plate to your paper. It’s a simple process with stunning results. But can be frustrating when results are less than stellar. Here are some tips to try when your glimmer is gloomy.

Never glimmered before? Check out this short video which walks you through the hot foiling process using the Glimmer Machine. If you’re good with glimmering, skip the video and move on to the tips.

Tip #1 – Use Smooth Paper

Paper is the most important element to a good Glimmer. The smoother the better!

Spellbinders sells white Glimmer Specialty Cardstock, 8 1/2”x11”, 76lbs. It’s extra smooth and produces great results.

I also like to use Neenah Crest cover stock.

Can you use colored cardstock? Yes, but use a smooth cardstock for better results. If you have textured cardstock, use the smoothest side for better results.

Tip #2 – Use the Right Foil

Not all foil is created equal or for Glimmer Machines. Of course, Spellbinders has a great selection of foils designed to work with hot foil machines. I have also noticed other companies, who make hot foil plates, also getting into the foil game.

The Glimmer Machine requires heat transfer foil. Unfornately, foils designed to work in laminators, such as Deco Foil, won’t work with Glimmer machines, at least not consistently or with good adhesion to the paper or material.

Tip #3 – Get it Hot!

Make sure the Glimmer machine is pre-heated and use the full length of the timer. But sometimes that’s not enough.

If you are using a large hot foil plate, especially the solid plates, or a plate with a bold design, leave the plate to heat up an extra timer round or two. Ok, the timer won’t actually work if you press it again, but you can time it for another 30 to 60 seconds.

If I’m using a large plate, I will even put it on the machine while the machine is warming up.

Tip #4 – Hot, but not Too Hot

One of the biggest culprits of over foiling that I’ve experienced is having the machine on for too long. If you notice the quality of your glimmers declining and over foiling increasing, it’s time to turn off your machine and let it cool down. This is especially true if you’ve done several glimmers in a row or the hot foil plates is a more intricate design.

Tip #5 – Over Foiling Happens

Over foiling refers to foil being transferred to your paper in places it shouldn’t be. Ideally, this shouldn’t happen and it’s awesome when the Glimmer turns out perfectly. However, this isn’t always case, but you can still salvage your project by using an x-acto knife, gum eraser or sand eraser.

Use an x-acto knife by placing the flat side of the blade against the paper and gently scrape off the excess foil. Be careful that you don’t use the sharp point of the knife and dig into the paper.

Both gum and sand erasers work to remove excess foil. However, I use them differently. When over foiling occurs close to the design, for example you are foiling a word and there is foil between or in the center of letters, I will use a gum eraser. You can rub it over the full design and it will only pick up the over foiled parts. Honestly, I have only tried this a few times and it does improve the Glimmer, I haven’t found it to be perfect at getting rid of excess foil.

However, the sand eraser does a great job with removing over foiling. The main issue with a sand eraser is that it will erase all foil you rub it over, even the foil from the design that you want to keep! So only use it when you have some space between the over foiling and the design. When the over foiling runs into the design, use a gum eraser or x-acto knife to remove it.

Bonus Tip: Go Slow

This isn’t a race to get the glimmer machine through your die cut machine. Once everything has heated up and you’ve made your foil sandwich, slowly roll the glimmer platform through your die cut machine. I even go through the machine once and then again in reverse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Spellbinders the only company that makes a hot foil machine? No, there are a few other similar machines on the market. These tips should work for all hot foil machines, but I’m directing them to Spellbinders Glimmer Machine as that is the one I use and am most familiar with.

Can you only hot foil on paper? No, you can add hot foil to many materials including fabric, ribbon and leather.

What type of die cut machines are compatible with the Glimmer Machine? It is designed to work with the Spellbinders Platinum and Platinum 6 die cut machines. However, it also works with the following die cut machines:

  • Spellbinders Platinum, Platinum 6, & Limited Edition Aqua Platinum 6
  • FSJ Platinum, Platinum 6
  • Deep Sea Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
  • Sizzix BigShot
  • Sizzix BigKick
  • Sizzix Big Shot Plus
  • Sizzix Big Shot Express
  • We R Memory Keepers Evolution
  • FSJ Amaze

Final Words

The Glimmer Machine machine makes your projects shine. A little practice and these 5 Tips (+ 1 bonus tip) will put you on the road to glimmering better and loving it! 

What tips and techniques have you found most useful when glimmering?

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