In November 2019 I taught a Foil Quill class on the Curio at the All Things Silhouette Conference and I hate to say it but I’ve hardly touched it since that time.
Here is a photo of the project we did for that class.
Note: this tutorial is photo heavy
When creating classes, there is a lot of time and testing that goes into the class and there are times, I am just done with that type of project for a while after. I didn’t even unpack my Foil Quill for about a year after. Recently with the encouragement from a friend the Foil Quill has been in my creative mind again – whether I wanted to think about it or not.
Do you ever get a project stuck in your head and you just cannot stop thinking about it until you do it?
That’s the same in this case.
My friend, Teresa P. does absolutely fabulous work with the Foil Quill and her Cameo machine. She is talented in so many ways, but when I see her projects on the Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook group my jaw is always dropping!
So this post is credited to her creative talents, information, inspiration, and encouragement.
Next, in full disclosure, the Foil Quill is a 3rd party tool that is being used in the Silhouette Cameo 4 in this tutorial. Typically, I do not recommend any 3rd party tools being used in the Silhouette machines, especially blades, since they are not tested by Silhouette and it could void the warranty on the machine. However, the Foil Quill is not heavier than a Silhouette blade and I don’t feel there is any thing that could be damaged by using it.
Note: This is my personal opinion only and my Cameo 4 is well out of warranty.
Each user will have to make the decision whether they choose to do these projects or not.
For the full Silhouette policy on 3rd party tools click HERE.
Foil Quill and the Cameo 4
I feel that a little bit of background is needed to fully explain the Foil Quill and Cameo 4 relationship.
The Foil Quill tool was announced by We R Memory Keepers in January 2019 right before the Creativation Trade Show where it was demonstrated. It was released to the public a few months later in 2019. At that time the Cameo 3 was the current Silhouette machine in production. So when you purchase a Foil Quill the adapters are designed for each machine that is being used as it can fit in several different brands of cutting machines.
In May 2019, at the Silhouette Summit, we learned that the new Cameo 4 was designed with a new tool housing.
(Check out my post on the Silhouette Summit HERE)
What this means is that the adapters that were originally created for the Silhouette machines no longer fit directly into the Cameo 4. And as of writing this post, We R Memory Keepers has not released a new adapter for the Foil Quill in the Cameo 4.
I have seen many users who used the Foil Quill D adapter in the Cameo 4 and had success with it, but when I tested it, I found that it embossed the paper too deep and the foil was not quite right.
I am still going to test it, but for this tutorial and for anyone else experiencing the same issues with the D adapter, I am going to use an alternative method that I do have to thank Teresa P. for. Using the information she provided, I am getting perfect foils again with minimum embossing on the cardstock.
Now, I know you see “embossing on the cardstock” and may be thinking – “That’s great!” and it’s what I originally thought too, until I saw Foil Quill users posting about their tools cracking. If too much pressure is added, it can crack the housing on the Foil Quill.
Affiliate links may be present in the following blog post and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
This tutorial is going to use the following products:
Cameo 4 with blue sketch pen adapter
We R Memory Keepers – Foil Quill All-in-One kit – I am using the Fine Tip for this tutorial
(any of the Foil Quill tips could be used if you don’t buy the kit)
Find it here: Amazon, ScrapbookPal, Joann
We R Memory Keepers Power Bank
We R Memory Keepers Heat Activated Foil – Gold – Found at: Joann, Amazon, Swing Design
Cameo 4 Autoblade
Beginner Tutorial Foil Quill & Cameo 4
The first thing we are going to start with is setting up the Foil Quill pen.
I am using the Foil Quill C adapter and the Cameo 4 blue sketch pen adapter.
Place the Foil Quill C adapter on the Foil Quill pen and thread it on.
Insert the Cameo 4 blue sketch pen adapter in the Cameo 4 empty.
Push it all the way down, but do NOT lock it in place.
Plug the Foil Quill pen into a power source and allow it to heat up for 5 minutes.
I am using the We R Memory Keepers power bank.
Any usb power bank will work or use an adapter and plug directly into an outlet or power strip.
Do not plug it into the Silhouette machine usb port or the computer usb to power the Foil Quill.
If using a Cameo 3, Curio, Portrait 2, Cameo 1 or 2; you will use the Foil Quill A adapter and the following technique.
While the Foil Quill is heating up, let’s set up our design. I would highly encourage you to grab a sheet of cardstock and just play with this to start. Test it with some simple designs and see how it works. You do NOT have to have a grand project to start out with. And most likely you will have better results and get less frustrated if you practice a bit before “going big”.
Setting up a Foil Quill Design – Beginner
Open the Silhouette Studio software.
Set the page up to the current size of cardstock you will be using to practice with.
I recommend placing the design at the bottom of the material you are using. This is going to help for several reasons. When foiling with a Cameo or Portrait machine, you do NOT want to unload the cutting mat after the foil, so you can keep the placement of the design and it lines up for the cut lines around the design.
If the cutting mat is unloaded, you chance not getting it lined up exactly the same again and the design could be off center.
Now, if you are a Curio owner, this is one of the BEST features of a Curio. You can unload the base and load it again to go to the exact same location. You can even pause it in the middle of a project and unload and it will load to the exact location and start were it left off.
I am using a tag template from the Project Wizard.
Go to top left corner, select File > Project Wizard and choose the tag.
Using the Transform Panel – Rotate tab – rotate it 90 degrees and move it to the bottom left corner of the material.
This is the shape that will be cut and designated by red cut lines.
Next, choose a design to be foiled.
Let’s start with something simple.
I am using Sketch Leaf 4 by Lori Whitlock – Design #287767.
Starting with a sketch design is a great way to practice.
Open the Line Style Panel on the right and click the 2nd tab. With the Sketch Leaf 4 design selected, change the line color to blue. Blue lines will designate sketch lines and red lines designate cut lines.
Move the design on top of the tag and use the corner bounding box to scale the design down to fit on the tag.
Now, it’s time to add the foil to the material.
You want to cut a piece of foil that is large enough to cover the area of the design and pulled taut.
Start by placing washi tape on the opposite corners of the foil and apply to the foil first, then pull it taut as you tape it down.
Add tape to the remaining corners. Adjust as needed to make sure that it is smooth, secure, and not loose.
Load the cutting mat in the machine.
Note: DO NOT unload the cutting mat after it has foiled. We want to remove the foil first and cut around the design without unloading the mat so the design lines up.
Carefully place the Foil Quill pen in the blue sketch pen adapter and slide it down until the top of the notch on the Foil Quill is just above the top of the Cameo 4 blue adapter as shown in the photo.
Press the Cameo 4 Tool 1 lock in to lock it in place.
Now, let’s go back to the software.
Click on the Send tab in the top right corner and choose the Line option.
You should see 2 line color options that we need to set up the settings for.
Red = cut
Blue = Sketch.
Click on the Material name and choose Textured Cardstock for the red color.
Uncheck the box next to the red option.
Since we are using the Cameo 4, we only have the Carriage 1 housing to use both the Foil Quill in and the cutting blade. We will do one action at a time.
I also do this with the Cameo 3 and Curio as well, I will send it to sketch/foil first and then cut after.
If you are using a Cameo 4, you will notice that the Cardstock still shows as a Sketch Action. This is due to the Cameo 4 blue adapter being installed and the Auto Tool recognition. This is ok right now as we have turned off the red cut lines by unchecking the box. It will change when we install the Autoblade to cut later.
There is no preset setting in the Silhouette Studio for the Foil Quill, but we can add our own.
Click on the More button.
Click the small plus sign at the bottom of the materials panel to Add a new material. Then type in a new name. If needed, right click on the “New Material” title and choose “Rename”.
Note: Materials cannot have a duplicate name. I had to add a 1 at the end of mine since I’ve previously created a setting.
Next, click on the Plus sign next to “Cut” and choose Sketch Action.
Click back on the Cut Action and then Choose Remove Action.
We only want to have a Sketch Action associated with this material.
With the Cut Action removed, the Sketch is the only action in this material.
Change the Force to 4, Speed to 4, and click Save.
Once the material is Saved click the big X in the top right corner under the Send tab.
Choose the Material for the blue line color and scroll down to the very bottom. All custom User Defined Settings will appear at the bottom of the Materials list.
Newly created settings will appear at the very bottom.
Double check the settings are correct and if they are, you are ready to click Send since we’ve already loaded the mat and Foil Quill.
Note: Make sure that the cord for the Foil Quill is out of the way and can move freely as it works. You do not want it to get stuck in the machine or under the rollers.
Remember – DO NOT unload the cutting mat when it’s finished.
When it’s done – carefully, check the foil. If something didn’t foil right, sometimes you can place the foil back down and try again.
Tip: sometimes there are just certain areas that may not foil. This could be due to something on the cutting mat in that area, the foil just isn’t working well on that line, or just for an unknown reason.
In this example, I tried it 3 more times by placing the foil down again and it still did not foil in that area.
You can always try again in another location on the cut mat and see if it will foil better. I’ll show that at the end after we cut and we will see if it will make a difference.
Or you could try increasing the force just a bit.
In this case, the rest of the design foiled so I’m not sure if the force is the solution.
DO NOT unload the cutting mat. I know I keep repeating that, but I am one who is quick to unload the mat and have had to train myself not to do it so quick.
Uncheck the blue and check the red to turn the cut lines on for the tag.
Install the Autoblade in the machine and give it a second to pick up the tool recognition.
Notice that it will change it to a Cut Action once that Autoblade is recognized.
Check the cut before unloading the mat. If it did not cut clean, you could adjust the settings and send it again.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Practice, practice, practice. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will get with it and start to see what you might need to adjust.
Now, I said I was going to try again to see how it foiled in a different place on the mat.
Given that it foiled perfectly just by moving it on my cutting mat, I’m going to say it’s due to my cutting mat being well used and it just doesn’t like that area of the mat.
Now something else I will mention here is the cardstock quality does matter.
I am using a Recollections brand cardstock that I use often for paper crafting projects and I noticed the washi tape was tearing it. Just something to keep in mind when you are working with materials.
I tried again with the Foil Quill D adapter and using settings found on the We R Memory Keepers blog and it just tore up my foil and paper.
In my testing and experience, I am going to say it is due to some changes in the Silhouette Studio software since the release of the Foil Quill and the Cameo 4. Keep in mind that things are updated all the time. For instance, the sketch settings used to be a force of 18 and with the Cameo 4 those settings were too high and have been updated to a force of 7.
The best way to know what will work is to TEST.
Keep in mind that tutorials you may be viewing may have been created in different versions of software and other factors playing into it.
I know what you are thinking now. How do I fill a design in?
That is a tutorial for another day as this is getting long, but you would use the Line Effects Panel to add a fill to the design and then send it to foil in the same way.
Check out more on the Line Effects Panel HERE.
*in some versions of software it’s called the Sketch Panel vs Line Effects
A great big THANK YOU to Teresa P. for encouraging me to get my Foil Quill out again and play with it!
We would love to see your projects and tests with the Foil Quill!
Feel free post on the
Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook Group.
Check out the Foil Quill Album in the group HERE for ideas of the possibilities that you can make with some time & testing.
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10 thoughts on “Silhouette Cameo 4 – Beginner Foil Quill”
Wow! This is great how-to info! Can’t wait to try. Thank you for the step by steps and explanations!
You are welcome! Happy foiling!
Absolutely my pleasure! Thank you for this – it’s going to open the world of foiling up to so many!
You are welcome! Thank you for your help & encouragement.
Wow! these are amazing and unique. Thanks for sharing your cool idea with us. It’s easy to understand because you explained step by step.
You are welcome! So glad it helped!