I've looked quite a bit for resources demonstrating how to fake spot varnishes and print finition in general (embossing, foil, flocking, etc.) on real mockups (i.e. no Photoshop). I would exclude binding from this since it's a huge topic by itself.

I did find some videos for hand embossing on YouTube, mostly from the scrapbooking crowd but it works and I also found a method for foiling which required a laminator. I would prefer something low-budget that students can apply easily. To my surprise, I couldn't find anything much about faking spot varnishes except hearing of using nail polish before as well as this Yahoo Answer which sounds messy and more appropriate for a big surface:

rubber cement masking and then apply a shot of clear spray paint, and remove the rubber cement mask.

What are your preffered affordable methods for faking finition on mockups for clients?

1 Answer 1


This takes me back...

For embossing, it was tedious use of a burnishing tool. (Though now that I think of it...this would be a great use for a 3D printer--to make the plate.)

Foil...I recall using a laser-printer product. It was a sheet you placed on top of your paper, ran through the laser-printer together, and the heat of the laser printer would adhere the foil to the appropriate spots. I don't recall what the product was called.

I don't recall having to mock up varnishes, but if you do, I'd suggest...varnish. Have the kids make a mask and then just spray varnish on the piece.

  • 1
    Found an foil tutorial with your info. I had no idea it could be done with a laser printer! Thanks!
    – curious
    Feb 17, 2014 at 1:57

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