June 8, 2022

Unravel the Mystery of Duplo’s Digital Foil

We love going beyond CMYK. A soft-touch coating here, a bit of shiny foil there; these little touches can enhance your piece dramatically.

foiled wedding card


We love going beyond CMYK. A soft-touch coating here, a bit of shiny foil there; these little touches can enhance your piece dramatically. And if foil in particular sets your heart aflutter, Duplo’s DFL-500 Dry Coat/Foil/Laminator – a 3-in-1 digital foiling solution – is sure to get your creative juices flowing.


First, remember that the beauty of digital foil is that you don’t need to wait for a die or have a minimum run length, making it ideal for short runs and faster turnaround times.

This offline system allows the printer to coat, foil or laminate your work with the same system (though not at the same time). These three great options explain why more print service providers in North America offer this option so far.

Let’s focus on the shiny foil aspect for now.

Duplo sample application with gold foil


Working in tandem with the most popular digital presses, the foil is adhered in a simple 2-step process:

Step 1: Create a separate layer in your artwork for the area you want foiled. This can be a pattern, type or variable data (as we are talking digital).

The “to be foiled” artwork is printed in a layer of 100% black toner or electromagnetic ink (in the case of the HP Indigo presses) on to the sheet.

Step 2: The pre-printed sheet is run through Duplo’s DFL-500 and, with the help of a touch of heat, the foil is adhered to the areas where your black ink sits.

If you want to adhere a second foil color, the sheet is run through the digital press again, adding black toner to wherever the second foil color is intended to go, and then run through the DFL-500 once more, this time adding the second foil color.

And of course if you want to add the remaining artwork, the sheet is run through the digital press yet again, adding CMYK around the foiled areas.

Sample business card with gold foil


Digital sheets (they have to be digital stock as they have to run through the digital press first) from 110 to 400 gsm run smoothly though this enhancement press; sheets can be up to 13 x 24 inches.

While digital uncoated stocks will work, “To bring out the most shine in the foil, most printers will prefer a coated stock,” explains Kevin Chen, product manager at Duplo USA. “On uncoated paper the foil looks less shiny, a bit more dull.”


Duplo USA, the distributor of this solution, offers their own six foil colors:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Matte gold

But lucky for us, the foil options do not stop there as this manufacturer allows you to use just about any foil on the market, so ultimately you have hundreds of foil colors from which to choose.


Not that you really need my help coming up with creative foil uses, but:

  • Labels (including self-adhesive ones)
  • Flyers and brochures
  • Invitations and mailings
  • Magazines
  • Packaging
  • Greeting cards
  • Sample prints (as inexpensive proofs or mockups)

And as this is a digital system, your run length can be 1 to oh-so-many. Variable-data printing, too, is an easy option.

“Just a regular pass at 100% black is enough toner for the foil to adhere to any sheet,” says Kevin. Other systems need an average of 300% toner, and more if it is an uncoated sheet. More toner means, of course, a greater cost, which makes this a more affordable option.



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