Monday, 14 April 2014


As part of my outcome I want to create a double sided paper wrap to conceal the contents of my packaging. As outlined in the idea development stage section of my design practice blog the outer stock will be a black card with subtle graphics printed onto it. On the opposing side I want to utilise aluminium foil to shield the substance from static and electromagnetic energy. As outlined when researching into the ORMUS the substance can be negatively effected by such currents and so needs protecting.  

The article below documents how to clad card stock with aluminium foil;

How to Make Aluminum Clad Card Stock

I wonder how many times modelers have experimented with ordinary aluminum foil in attempts to recreate a natural aluminum finish on their models. One method, developed for plastic models, applies aluminum foil in a manner similar to the method used for gold leaf. The underlying surface has to include all the desired detail before the foil is applied. Thinking about applying this to card stock took me around the block several times resulting in several shattered preconceived notions along the way. The strange part of this story is that the solution shown here is non toxic and uses commonly available materials.

A large variety of glues capable of bonding aluminum to paper were tried. One theory (a mishap of preconceived notions) was that to maintain flat unwrinkled paper a non-water based glue would be required. The problem with non-water based glues is that they generally require a fairly aromatic thinning agent. A goal was set early on to minimize the exposure to volatile organic solvents (VOC’s). The VOC glue tests produced some interesting results but had to be eliminated from consideration due to their toxicity (3M spray adhesive produced an easy to layup assembly but failed to yield a smooth mirror like surface).

Smoothing Aluminum Foil
The first small breakthrough was discovering a method to flatten the aluminum foil in preparation for bonding it to the card stock. The trick is to mist a pane of glass with a water spray before carefully applying and smoothing out a sheet of aluminum foil onto the glass (shiny side down). The water adheres the foil tightly to the glass pane and in effect clamps it to the glass. 

Use a squeegee to smooth the aluminum to a perfectly flat sheet on top of the glass. Water sprayed on the aluminum surface aids the squeegee smoothing action.

The strength of the paper to aluminum bond depends to a great extent on the aluminum foil’s surface condition. The foil has a minute amount of residual manufacturing lubricant left on its surface (yes it’s edible). It will interfere with the bond if it’s not removed.

Use a 3M style scrub pad with window cleaner sprayed on the aluminum. Scrub the aluminum surface using a circular motion to scour the entire surface well.

Clean the scrubbed aluminum surface with an absorbent sponge. Mist the surface with a slight amount of water and wipe with a paper towel. Spread a small amount of either isopropyl or ethanol alcohol on the surface. Finish by drying the surface with a paper towel.

Using a fairly fresh tube of Tacky Glue spread a pattern approximately the size of the paper that’s to be glued to the aluminum.

Use the squeegee to spread the glue evenly over the surface. A thinner film is desirable as it helps to prevent paper curl. Wipe excess glue off the edge of the squeegee to achieve a thinner layer.

Carefully place the paper card stock into the middle of the glue area.

Gently burnish the paper with the cleaned squeegee. Burnish the edges with a small burnishing tool.

Allow the lay-up to dry. This will take anywhere from one to four hours depending on humidity, type of paper and the depth of the applied glue film. I generally allow four to six hours to insure that the glue has set and will not debond when the paper is cut out of the foil. With a sharp razor blade carefully cut around the edges of the paper stock. The aluminum clad paper will spring into a convex section as shown.

Remove the curl in the sheet by placing a towel or newspaper on top of the glass pane. I use a cardboard mailing tube to roll the curl out. A rolling pin also works but make sure to protect the aluminum surface with a newspaper or towel to prevent scratching it.

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