A Basic Primer on Dies
Foil Stamping Dies – are generally made of magnesium or copper. In both cases, the dies are produced by an acid-etch method. Magnesium dies are used on shorter runs, as they are less durable than their copper counterpart. Magnesium is less expensive and available with a shorter lead time. Copper is used on longer runs because it is harder metal. For the same reason, copper dies are preferable on uncoated, heavily textured stocks (these stocks tend to break down magnesium dies) and when very fine type is specified.
Embossing Dies – can be made of magnesium, copper or brass. We make the great majority of our embossing dies out of brass, as it is by far the superior metal for engraving. Magnesium or copper embossing dies are manufactured with an acid-etch method and generally are rounded and less deep than a brass die. Brass dies are mechanically or hand-engraved, depending on the detail desired. Hard angled bevels on brass dies allow the paper to be stretched more, resulting in a deeper emboss. Multi-level or sculptured emboss dies must be mechanically or hand-engraved; therefore, they are almost exclusively made out of brass.
Combination Dies – are always made of brass. An image that is embossed and foiled over its entire image can be accomplished with one die and in one pass with a combination die.