Edge gilding business cards is a specialist process that takes time and care. It is a process that cannot be rushed if you want to achieve good results. If you don't take your time during each stage, then it can lead to the foil edges flaking off at the very end, which means starting all over again.

PREPARING THE STACK FOR SANDING

The first step is to tightly clamp the stack of business cards between two blocks of wood that are the same size or slightly smaller than the business cards. We have several 12” G clamps that we use, along with a square frame custom clamp that was made to suit our process. The main goal is to clamp the cards tightly to prevent any dust or adhesive from getting between them.

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SANDING THE BUSINESS CARD EDGES

Once the stack of cards is clamped tightly, the next step is to sand the edges. This can be done either by hand or using an electric sander. We use a random orbital sander and belt sanders. If you only have a small stack of cards to gild, then sanding by hand works well. If you have a larger stack, then you will want to sand the edges using an electric sander. Take your time when sanding to keep the edges as level and square as possible. If you rush the process, you will find the edges can become unlevel or that you end up with rounded corners.

TIP: Some gilders will sand one edge and then gild it, then go on to the next edge and so on. We find sanding all four edges and gilding all four edges works better, because it produces a better result. In addition, It also saves time and enables us to offer more competitive pricing for high-quality edge gilding. Sanding a side adjacent to a side that has been gilded can cause some of the foil to come off on the corner. Doing all four edges at once ensures perfect corners.

APPLYING ADHESIVE

The next step is to apply adhesive to the edges. This is something that is different for every gilder as they all have their own preferred mixture. It may also take some trial and error to find what works for you. Another important consideration is the foil grade you intend to use. Not all hot stamping foils work for edge gilding business cards, so you will need to experiment. Apply a thin coating of the adhesive to each side and then let it dry. Some gilders will apply a second coat, but again, this depends on the adhesive you are using and the grade of foil.

EDGE GILDING

Once the adhesive is dry, cut a strip of foil that is just wide enough for the side you are going to be gilding. Tape each end of the foil to the blocks of wood, so the foil is tight and flat to the surface. Then, take your heated roller and in a smooth motion, run it along the foil until it adheres to the side of the stack of cards. You may need to go back and forth a few times, depending upon the adhesive and foil you are using. Easy release stamping foils that release at a lower temperate will go down more easily than hard release foils that release at higher temperatures. Pay particular attention to the edges and corners, to ensure the foil has adhered. When you are done, simply peel off the top layer and make sure the foil has adhered well. Once you are happy with the result, you can shift to the next side. If you find the foil is missing in certain areas or rubs off easily, then, you can gently sand the edge by hand and apply another strip of foil. Take your time and care the first time around, to prevent you from having to do it a second time. Edge gilding is very much a print finishing option that requires a combination of skill, time and care.

THE FINISHED RESULT

Once all four edges are gilded, you can release the clamp to separate the card stock and admire your beautifully foil edge gilded business cards!

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