Overview of Metals Foils, Flakes and Leafing


Today I’ve got an informational post for you. I’m going to answer three questions today- what are metal foils, metal flakes, and metal leafing? And how do I use them? And with what adhesives?

Overview of Metal Flakes, Foils and Leafing on CraftTestDummies.com ::video::

Now the first thing I’m going to do is to ask you to watch this video I made you. It’s about 17 minutes long (I kn0w-GASP- super-long for a YouTube video) but I really wanted to show you each product and how it works:

Now here are some text definitions & resources for buying product. The links are either affiliate links or ones to product reviews, so if you choose to make a purchase you will be supporting free content on CTD! Thank you in advance!

Overview of metal leafing= CraftTestDummies.com

Metal Leafing(or Metal Gilding ) is a composite metal tissue paper. It’s light and thin, and easily prone to tear. It can be silver, gold, copper, or a combination, and can be made of composite metals (inexpensive) or the real deal- 24 karat gold or fine silver. You need to use an adhesive to affix it to paper, plastic, plaster or other surfaces, but you can layer it right into polymer clay without an adhesive. Not recommended for fabric that is to be worn. Can also be used as makeup or even in resin.

Metal Flakes (or Gilding Flakes) are the same as Metal Leafing, but in smaller particles rather than a solid sheet. Generally less expensive.

Gold Metal Flakes
Silver Metal Flakes, 3-Gram Pack
Copper Metal Flakes, 3-Gram Pack



Metal Foils (or Mylar-Backed Foils) aren’t really metal at all. Rather, they consist of a shiny plastic film printed on mylar that can be removed with pressure or adhesive. You may use a wet adhesive (like a glue) or a dry adhesive (such as sticky tape) to affix them to paper, fabric, or other surfaces. You can use them on polymer clay for lovely dichroic-glass like effects, but usually the coverage is spotty.



Adhesive options for metal foils, leafing, and flakes. CraftTestDummies.com

The most important thing is finding the right adhesive for the job. (Be aware that some links below may be affiliate links and/0r links to product reviews.)

You can use dry adhesives, such as:

Or you can use wet adhesives- but they must be DRY and remain sticky or tacky to work. (In short, you cannot use white glue or super glue! Here are a few options:

You can also use these products with your stamping supplies if you have a sticky embossing powder. (You would stamp your image using a pigment-based pad, embossing ink pad, or Versamark, then use these powders which you would then heat-set. They stay tacky for a while after you heat them:

If you are using foils on fabric, you’ll need special fabric adhesive. And lucky for you, I already did a comparison of fabric glues for foiling!

And now, here’s another look at some of my projects:

Mylar Foils on Polymer Clay

Metal Leafing in Polymer Clay

Mylar Foils with rub-on stickers and stamping.

Metal Leafing using heat-stick powder.

WHEW!! This was a lot of information and resources- I hope you are inspired to make something with metal leafing or foils to add that rich shine to your projects!

Please, leave me a comment, won’t you? Especially if you have a favorite product you love that I didn’t mention.

Happy crafting!



About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. Debbie says

    Love this…I’m adding it to the list of “must haves” (as if that list wasn’t long enough!) I used to use the metal foils when I embellished clothes, but this is a new avenue for me.

    Jenny, thanks so much for all your blogs, demo’s etc. I look forward to them and have learned techniques, been introduced to new products and have been so inspired by you.

  2. Victoria H. says

    Thank you so much for the fabulous video. You have answered so many questions I had and what beautiful projects you created!

  3. Darlene says

    Hi, I am just wondering if you have had the chance to do a tutorial for the alcohol ink and foil on polymer clay. Your finished pieces are the best I have ever seen! Can’t wait!!!

  4. Caryn S says

    Well that answered a LOT of questions. I’ve been seeing these on offer at different sites for months now and really was pretty clueless about the differences between them . I’d love to know more about using them on polymer clay though (how to bake, how to seal, etc.) also wondering how they could be used on shrink plastic.

  5. Nicole says

    I’ve had some of the foil in a drawer for about five years… Afraid to use it “wrong”. Thank you for the video, I’m going to go play!

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