How to use laser foil depends greatly on the type of artwork available. Two different techniques exist: the first is called the vector cutting method and requires artwork in vector or outline form. The second is called the raster method and requires artwork with a fill so the laser will raster engrave through the foil. Both techniques have positives and negatives and both can create exciting decorative effects.
- Vector cutting: Select a bitmap design of the artwork you want to use. It will need to be converted to vector format. Conversion of the artwork is quickly done using CorelDraw. Import the bitmap onto a new page. Select the bitmap and the Trace Bitmap feature will appear on the top tool bar. Click this icon and select Outline Trace > Line Art and click OK. The vector version will be created and put on top of the bitmap.
To make the vector artwork laser-ready, select it, click on the color Red in the palette and left click on the X on the top of the palette to remove the fill color. Select the Outline Pen tool on the left tool bar to select the Hairline thickness. It should have no fill color, an outline color that your laser will recognize (red or black), and a line thickness of Hairline. The artwork can now be sized and positioned for the project.
- Raster method: In CorelDraw, draw a rectangle using the rectangle tool. With the shape selected, add a black fill color. Select the Text tool and type in your text. Highlight the text and select a bold font style. Also select a font size of 48 points or larger, as long as it fits inside the rectangle. With the text still highlighted, change the default fill color of the font to white.
The completed artwork should be a black rectangle with white letters in it. The laser will engrave the area filled with black and not engrave the text filled with white. The same process can also be applied to logos and other clip art by filling the artwork with a white fill to create the “engraved background” look.
-Mike Fruciano, LaserBits