How to add deco foil to paper bags with screen printing

Jun 2, 2023 | Project Ideas, Screen Printing, Screen Printing Press

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deco- foil paper bags

Screen printing with foil is a fantastic way to elevate your paper bags and add a touch of shimmer and sophistication. Whether you're looking to create custom gift bags, promotional materials, or unique packaging for your boutique, this technique is sure to make you stand out from the crowd. In this blog post, I will guide you through the process of screen printing with foil on paper bags, covering everything from the materials you'll need to step-by-step instructions for achieving stunning results.      

Materials Needed

  • Paper bags: Choose high-quality, smooth-surfaced paper bags in the desired size and color. You can also do this project on paper, cardstock, or any type of paper bags.
  • Foil Transfer Sheets: Choose foil sheets in your preferred color or metallic finish.
  • Foil adhesive: A special adhesive designed for foil application onto paper surfaces. You will use this instead of screen printing ink.
  • Screen printing frame: Select a frame that is larger than the dimensions of your paper bag. I used a 10×14 frame with hinge base.
  • Adhesive Vinyl design cut on a vinyl cutter: Cut your own logo or custom design on permanent, adhesive vinyl.
  • Transfer Tape used to transfer your vinyl design to the back of your screen printing frame.
  • Squeegee: A tool for applying even pressure during the printing process.
  • Heat Press: This foil requires heat to apply the foil to the adhesive. I recommend using a press with adjustable pressure.

logo foil shopping bags paper

Step-by-Step Process

Prepare your design

Create or select a design that you want to screen print onto your paper bags. Cut the design on vinyl (which vinyl should I use?) and don’t forget to mirror the cut.

Prepare the screen

Transfer your vinyl to the back of your screen printing frame using transfer tape. I like to place the design in the middle of the screen. The exact placement is not critical because we will line up the bags under the screen in the next step.

screen printing foil

Align bag under the frame

Using a hinge frame is helpful for this project because you can align the bag under your vinyl before getting started. Place one bag on the base of your hinge frame and close the frame on top. Move the bag around until the design falls in the desired position on the bag. 

Once you have your bag aligned in the desired spot, use tape to mark the placement of your bag on the base of your hinge frame.  These marked spots will help you align your next bags easily. 

TIP: If your bag has folds or handles that make your print surface uneven, use a piece of wood inside the bag. This will lift the top layer of your bag away from the folds and handles to create a smooth, flat print area.

Squeegee foil adhesive over your design

With your bag under the screen printing frame, apply foil adhesive along the top of your screen. Place even pressure on the squeegee as you pull the adhesive over the design just like you do when screen printing a shirt.

Need help getting started with screen printing? Take my online screen printing courseonline screen printing course to learn the basics of cutting your vinyl, setting up your screen and troubleshooting common issues.

Ensure that the adhesive is evenly applied and covers the entire design area. I squeegeed over the design 2 times. 

TIP: Avoid squeegeeing too much adhesive. The paper bag does not absorb the adhesive like a t-shirt absorbs ink. Because of this, you don’t need as much adhesive. 

Lift the screen carefully to reveal the printed design on the paper bag. Be cautious not to smudge the wet adhesive. It may be difficult to see the print if you are using the white or clear adhesive. You can hold the bag at an angle to see that the print is there. 

Repeat to print all of your bags

Using the same frame and vinyl, you can place another bag under your screen and print additional bags. This is the beauty of screen printing, with the same setup you can print 1 or 100 (or more) of these bags!  It’s a very efficient, cost effective process for personalizing your own gift bags.

Allow foil adhesive to dry

Allow the foil adhesive to dry completely before moving on to the next step. According to the Deco Foil bottle, it should air dry for 1 hour before moving to the next step.

How do you use Deco foil without a laminator?

decofoil print bags logo branding

Apply the foil

Once the adhesive is dry, place the foil sheet on top of the design, shiny side up. Make sure your foil is slightly larger than your design so it covers completely.

Cover the foil with a piece of parchment paper.

Heat press at 305 degrees for 25 seconds. Adjust your pressure on your press to ensure a firm pressure. 

screen printing foil paper bags

Peel off the foil

Grab the corner of the foil and peel! This is a hot peel so you can peel immediately after pressing.  You now have a metallic or shimmery design on your bag!

Take a soft cloth and wipe over the surface gently.  This will remove any remnant pieces of foil and make sure your edges are nice and crisp. 

decofoil paper bags how to

Screen printing with foil on paper bags is a creative and captivating way to add a touch of glamour and elegance to your packaging. With the right materials and a design cut on your vinyl cutter, you can create stunning and eye-catching bags that are sure to impress. So, gather your supplies, let your creativity flow, and transform ordinary paper bags into high-end pieces that are sure to impress your customers or friends.

foil paper bags handles tutorial


  1. Can you use cricut foil & a cricut heat press? Can you use this same process on shirts?

    • I haven’t tried the cricut foil yet, but I think both kinds will work for this.

  2. Looks amazing!!!! Thanks for the tutorial

    • Thank you! It is so satisfying to peel the foil back!

  3. This looks great and who would of thought. The screen mesh used is? The adhesive clean up, pretty sticky? And clean up is water type?
    I love how you think outside the box.
    Thank you

    • Thanks! This is just one of my regular Speedball 110 mesh screens and I cleaned it right after I finished with warm water and a soft brush. It’s like the consistency of glue or Mod Podge so I wouldn’t let it sit on the screen long once you are finished printing!

  4. I have not had a chance to do this but I so much appreciate the tutorial. I am attending your class on June 9th. Thus, I have not had an opportunity to screen print yet. Is there a way to keep this information to be used at a later date?
    (See you Friday)

    • You can bookmark any of my posts to read later! The class is going to be so much fun, and a great way to learn all about screen printing. See you there!

  5. I am trying this today to some boxes I have that I use for packaging.

    • That’s going to look so good!

  6. Can this process be used on fabric?

    • I haven’t tested this adhesive on fabric yet. Check out this tutorial to see how I add foil with a stretch adhesive that I know works for fabric: Screen Printing with Vinyl:

  7. Can this process be used for napkins?

    • Yes! This would look great on disposable party napkins. If you are looking to add foil to fabric napkins, I’d recommend this technique:


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I’m Jennifer, your go-to for all things vinyl screen printing. I offer both in-person and online classes to help you craft better quality shirts. This blog is full of screen printing inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn all about screen printing with vinyl!

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