We have a badge machine for making badges based on design that we print using our laser printer. The is useful for small runs and short deadlines.

Currently we print on normal 80 gsm paper, which is then put behind a plastic screen before squeezed into a badge.

A colleague asked if we could make refective badges.

I am thinking of something like this material but as A4 and made for printing, so it can go in our printer.

Can something like that be done without having to use an external printshop? Or is there a better way do make "homemade" reflective badges?


A product exists from many vendors that is an extremely thin foil on a paper backing. When one prints with a laser printer, the toner material (a plastic powder) is fused to the paper by the extreme heat generated within.

Once a sheet is printed, the foil is attached to the page and run again through the laser printer, which is told to print a blank sheet. This heats the fused toner, causing it to bond to the foil in only those locations.

The foil sheet is removed, leaving a colorful shining surface where once existed ordinary black toner.

Various foil colors and patterns are available. One such location also provides instructions/guidelines as well as supplies.

I've used this type of product decades ago with an HP LaserJet 3 with wonderful results.

If you required to have a reflective background, the text would have to be white and the background black, allowing for the foil to attach to the entire background minus the lettering.

foil removal

The various web sites I've perused show using laminators as well as laser printers and some will also suggest a heat press for bonding the foil.

If you require multi-color foil results, experimentation is warranted. I don't know how the first layer of foil would react to a second pass in a laser printer, but I think it would be practical. Using a laminator probably reduces the risk as well.

  • In some cases, the paper may be too thick for good heat transfer with a laser printer. In such cases, heat-set foils can also be transferred using a clothes iron or a tool like in the Letraset system.
    – Yorik
    Apr 23 '18 at 15:56
  • That's certainly a valid consideration. I should have also added that some laser printers cause paper jams when a page is fed through a second time.
    – fred_dot_u
    Apr 23 '18 at 17:07

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