How Does Holographic Paper Actually Work?

Ever wonder how that incredible rainbow shimmer actually gets produced on paper? Here we’ll tell you all about how holography and how it works on paper.

Holography is a phenomenon that many people are familiar with, yet one that very few people actually understand. What exactly do we mean when we say something is holographic? Whether you notice it on greeting cards or your favorite trading card games, the holographic effect attracts your gaze to something. Still, how does holographic paper actually work? We’ll give you an overview of the major elements in play that create the holographic effect.

Embossing the Surface for Different Angles

The first step in the creation of holographic paper is embossing a normal sheet of paper. There is more than a single way to emboss a piece of paper, and the pattern you select determines the finish of the paper once the holographic effect is complete. Embossing means making a normally smooth surface into something uneven on a very tiny scale. The effect is hard to notice with the naked gaze, but embossing drastically changes the texture of the paper, giving it more angles for light to bounce off.

Metalizing for Sheen and Shimmer

Metalizing the paper after it’s been embossed is how we get holographic paper to work in the way you’re familiar with. Metallizing refers to the process of vaporizing a metal (it’s often aluminum) onto the surface of the paper. This layer of metal is so thin it’s microscopic. The metallization—combined with the uneven texture of the paper that was added thanks to the embossing—allows light to reflect brilliantly from the paper’s surface.

Light Refraction

Another extremely thin layer of lacquer gets added onto the paper to finish it off. The final result is holographic paper as we know it. When natural or artificial light hits the surface of holographic paper, it undergoes diffraction because of the uneven texture of the embossing and the sheen of the metallic layer. This diffracted light gets beamed back into our eyes as a sparkling rainbow of color that we know as holography.

Holographic paper is used to attract people’s attention. Here at Announcement Converters Inc., we provide beautiful rainbow holographic paper in bulk to customers who want to make their next big announcement stand out from the masses.