I’ve always loved the look of foil accents and the “wow” factor they add to a variety of projects. My daughter gave me a Minc machine a few years ago and it’s been put to good use, so when I heard about the new Foil Quill from We R Memory Keepers, I knew I had to have one! And now that I’ve had the chance to play with it a little, my mind is spinning with possibilities.
What is a Foil Quill?
The Foil Quill is basically a heated pen tip that works much like a Silhouette sketch pen. Rather than using ink, a layer of foil is placed between the tip and your choice of media and the heat transfers the foil to the layer underneath. Best of all, the Foil Quill works with ALL Silhouette cutters – Curio, Portrait, and all models of the Cameo.
The Quill has three tip sizes – fine, standard, and bold. They can be purchased separately or as a set. I chose to purchase the All-In-One Bundle from Swing Design which contains all three tips, four adapters (for different brands of electronic cutters), three rolls of foil, a roll of placement tape, and a heat shield. When purchased separately, each tip comes with all four adapters but nothing else. I also purchased some different foil colors and variety packs to experiment with.
My first project was this cute Mother’s Day card and today I’ll share with you exactly how I created it using Silhouette Studio and my new
What You’ll Need
- Card Kit Floral design by Lori Whitlock – Silhouette Design Store Design ID 9555
- Jordan Sketch font by Lori Whitlock – Silhouette Design Store Design ID 185872
- Cardstock to match your project
- Foil Quill Heat Activated Pen – Standard Tip
- Foil Quill Foil – Fuschia (also included in the Flamingo variety pack)
- Foil Quill Placement Tape (or any other light-tack tape such as washi tape or painter’s tape)
- Small embellishment for center of flower
- Adhesive (Xyron Sticker Maker, tape runner, glue dots, etc.)
- Silhouette Studio
- Silhouette machine (Cameo, Portrait, or Curio)
Setting Up the Design
We’re going to start with the Card Kit Floral design by Lori Whitlock.
- Open the file in Silhouette Studio. Each of the elements in this design (including all their separate parts such as circles, etc.) are ungrouped so we’ll need to do a bit of work to get everything like we need it.
- Group the following sections:
- small flourish
- large flourish
- small circles within flower accent (these are easy to select with the Lasso Tool introduced in Version 4.2!)
- Select one leaf section. Right-click and choose Make Compound Path. Repeat for the remaining leaf section.
At this point, I like to add color to each of the elements for reference.
- Change the Fill Color AND the Line Color of all the circle accents to the same color. Use a color that won’t be used elsewhere in your design. (I chose bright pink.)
- Fill the remainder of the elements with colors to match the cardstock you are using for the card.
Now let’s preview the design.
- Group the background and both flourishes together.
- Group the small circles with the flower accent.
- Place the design elements on the background. Refer to a photo of the sample if needed. (In Version 4.2, you can see the sample photo by right-clicking on the thumbnail in your Library and choosing “Show Properties”.)
Time to add the text!
- Open the Text Style Panel and enter “LW Jordan Sketch” in the Font Selection Box.
- Select the Text Tool, then click back on your workspace and type “Happy Mother’s Day” (each word should be on a separate line).
- Center-justify the text and adjust the Line Spacing to about 85%.
- Change the Line Color to match the color you selected for the circle accent and flourishes in Step 4.
Notice that the apostrophe is a bit higher than the word “Mother”. I wanted it to be a bit closer so I ungrouped the text, moved the apostrophe, and then re-grouped the text. Beware that doing this changes the text to a vector that is no longer editable as a font. Before making these types of modifications, I usually make a copy of the text and move it over to the grey holding area so that I always have an editable text box to go back to if needed.
Move the text into place and resize as desired. Now it’s time to foil!
Getting Ready to Foil
I wondered if there would be a learning curve to using the quill, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is simple to operate, straight out of the box.
- Screw the adapter on to the quill. For the Silhouette machines, use adapter “A”.
- Plug the quill into a USB power source. DO NOT USE THE USB PORT ON YOUR SILHOUETTE. DOING SO COULD CAUSE DAMAGE TO YOUR MACHINE. Use a memory bank, your laptop, or another USB charger such as the one that comes with a cell phone or tablet. The quill will light up, showing that it is powered on.
- Allow the quill to heat for approximately 5 minutes then slide it into the tool slot on your machine. If you want to install the quill in your machine while it warms up, slide the metal shield (included in the all-in-one bundle) underneath the pen to protect your machine from excess heat.
On machines with two tool holders, the quill can be placed in either one. If you place it in the holder for Tool 1, just remember that you cannot use an Autoblade in the Tool 2 holder. Since I wanted to use the Autoblade to cut my cardstock, I placed the Foil Quill in the Tool 2 holder.
- Place the cardstock to be foiled on your mat in an area that matches the design placement in Studio.
- Tape a piece of foil to the cardstock over the area to be foiled. You want the foil to be smooth and taut. I found it easiest to tape one side of the foil to the cardstock, then add a piece of tape to the other side of the foil and pull on the foil a bit to smooth it out before I taped it down. Be sure to and leave a margin of approximately one inch around the area to be foiled.
If you’re foiling anything smaller than the mat you’re using, be careful not to let the foil touch your mat because it will stick fast and leave foil on the mat! The foil sheets are quite thin and it’s very easy to drop one (ask me how I know!!!). I tried placing a piece of contact paper over my mat (sticky-side up) to protect it, but while doing so did keep the foil off my mat, the contact paper was too sticky for cardstock and my paper tore the first time I tried to remove it.
Sending the Job from Silhouette Studio
Since I have a Cameo 3, I’m able to use both tools at the same time. However, I found I had the best results when I sent the job for foiling first, then sent the job to be cut, which is not much different than using a machine with only one tool holder. By sending the jobs separately, it was easier for me to remove the foil before it was time to cut since the mat returned to the origin when the foiling step was complete.
- Move all the elements into the grey holding area except the one that you are going to foil. (I could have foiled both the background and the flower accent at the same time, but I wanted to try only one section first.)
- Click on the Send tab, then choose Action by: Line.
- Check the box for the color used for the foiled accents and use the following settings:
- Tool Holder: 2 (to correspond to the tool holder where you’ve placed the Foil Quill)
- Material: Cardstock, Textured-Heavy (80lb) (This is my go-to when working with cardstock.)
- Action: Sketch
- Tool: Sketch Pen
- Speed: change to 4
- Force: change to 7
- Passes: 1
- Verify that only the areas you want to foil appear in bold, then click Send and watch the magic happen!
Once the foiling is complete, DO NOT REMOVE YOUR MAT FROM THE MACHINE. Carefully remove the tape and the foil from the cardstock, then send the job to be cut by selecting the coordinating color for the cut lines and the proper cut settings. For my project, the settings were:
- Tool Holder: 1
- Material: Cardstock, Textured-Heavy (80lb)
- Action: Cut
- Tool: AutoBlade
- Blade: 3
- Speed: 4
- Force: 30
- Passes: 1
Repeat until all cardstock is foiled and/or cut.
Don’t be concerned with any foil dust you see on your cardstock when you first remove it from the machine. The dust can be easily brushed away with a soft cloth or paper towel.
Putting it All Together
Assemble the card using the adhesive and embellishment(s) of your choice. I used my trusty Xyron Sticker Maker along with some liquid glue and a few glue dots to add dimension.
As a little bonus, I created a coordinating envelope using leftover scraps of foil. I cut the cardstock to size, scored it with my We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board, centered the cardstock on my mat, added the design and text in Silhouette Studio, and followed the same foiling procedures as above.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the way this card turned out and I’m looking forward to trying even more materials and techniques with my Foil Quill. If you want to learn more about this exciting new tool…or anything else about your Silhouette…come join me at the next All Things Silhouette Conference on June 8 & 9. We have some fabulous instructors and a great lineup of classes to choose from. Registration is still open, but the spots are going fast, so don’t wait too long. I’d love to see you there!
Until next time,
P.S. If you’re concerned about the Foil Quill voiding your machine’s warranty, be sure to read the We R Memory Keeper’s disclosure here.
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Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.