how to mainate

f you are a teacher or a parent, you know how helpful lamination is in protecting important memories . Lamination will keep papers, worksheets, instructions, recipes, etc., in great shape despite constant use and abuse. However, it can be inconvenient to go to the print shop or send in your materials to be laminated. 

I have created this tutorial to teach you how to laminate paper. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire lamination process with and without a laminating machine. This is a great way save time and money while keeping your regularly used materials in great shape.

Keep reading to become a DIY laminating pro. 

What is Lamination?

The first step of learning how to laminate paper is finding out what exactly lamination is. Lamination is the process of bonding clear plastic to both sides of a piece of paper. This is done to protect the paper from liquid, tears, rips, and regular use. Lamination can be used to preserve most printed materials, including worksheets, reports, brochures, and books. 

Lamination also adds strength and form to printed products. This can be particularly useful if the items you are using are being used or handled regularly. Lamination makes documents more durable.  

What Is a Laminating Machine?

You can laminate printed products by hand, but learning how to laminate paper using a laminating machine is much easier. Laminating machines come in various types, but they all use a combination of heat, pressure, and a rolling mechanism to adhere plastic sheets to a piece of paper or other paper objects. Laminating machines are helpful because they laminate quickly and accurately.

Types of Laminating Machines

There are a wide variety of laminating machines. Before purchasing one, you should consider the amount of laminating you need, how it will be used, and how much money you can invest. 

Hot Laminators

Hot laminators are the most common type of laminator. These machines use heat to seal documents between plastic sheets. They usually operate between 180-300 degrees Farenheight. Hot laminators can be used to laminate any flat object that will not melt when exposed to hot temperatures. 

Another benefit of hot laminators is that they can laminate objects in materials other than plastic. Hot laminators can use material such as vinyl to laminate. Another advantage is that they tend to be cheaper than cold laminators. 

Cold Laminators

Cold laminators are best used for heat-sensitive items like photos, business cards, or items printed with specific kinds of ink. You should always double-check your materials before laminating them. A hot laminator can easily ruin heat-sensitive products. 

Cold lamination uses adhesive rather than heat to bind to the object. The bond is applied via pressure. Cold laminators are a great way to learn how to laminate paper. They are also considered safer because they don’t use high temperatures, and you run less of a risk of damaging your materials.  

How To Laminate With A Machine

Before using a lamination machine, always read and double-check the provided instructions. There may be some specific steps that you need to follow for a particular device.  

Preparation

Before learning how to laminate paper using a machine, you need to gather all the necessary materials. Double-check your specific machine for the required laminating plastics, and ensure you have enough before starting the lamination process. 

Equipment:

  • Laminating machine
  • Pouches or plastic sheets
  • Paper being laminated

Laminate

After you have gathered all the appropriate materials, turn on the laminating machine and wait until it is ready. Place your document inside the pouch or between the plastic sheets and activate the lamination machine. 

Wait for the lamination machine to complete its process, and then let the laminated paper cool. It may be tempting to use the laminated paper immediately, but you must let the plastic cool completely before using it. 

Trim (Optional)

After the document is finished cooling, you may need to trim any extra plastic from the edge. This is entirely optional and may not even be possible, depending on the size of the document. This step must be done after the paper is laminated.  

How to Laminate Paper WITHOUT a Machine

If you do not have a laminating machine and don’t want to invest in one, you can use several more affordable methods to learn how to laminate paper. You can laminate documents using clear packing tape, an iron, and self-laminating sheets. These methods still give you quality lamination.

Laminating Paper with Clear Packing Tape

The easiest option for learning how to laminate paper without a machine is to use clear packing tape. This option works best for labels, business cards, and smaller printed items (i.e., social security card). This method is less effective with larger documents.

Preparation

Before laminating, make sure you have a roll of clear packing tape, scissors, a measuring tape/ruler, and your documents. Before you begin laminating, clean your workspace. 

I recommend measuring the document you want to measure. After you know the size of the paper, cut strips of tape that are ½ inch longer than the document. You can attach the tape to the end of the table or workspace for easy access. Try to avoid getting fingerprints on the tape. 

Start by making sure you are working on a clean area, peel the tape, and place it over the paper. Repeat on the back, and you have laminated paper ready to go!

Laminate

Peel the tape off the table and place it on the front side of the document. Repeat this process on the reverse side. Finally, carefully push out any air bubbles, and you will have a laminated document. 

Trim

Depending on the size of the document and the width of the tape, there may be extra tape on the edges of your laminated document. After you have finished, trim the edges of the tape to your desired length. This is not necessary, and I consider this an aesthetic choice. 

Laminating with Synthetic Paper and an Iron

Another method for learning how to laminate paper is to use synthetic paper and a hot iron. This gives you many of the benefits of hot lamination without the cost of an expensive laminating machine. This option works best for full-size documents. It can be challenging to do this process with smaller items like business cards. 

Preparation

Before you begging laminating, you should gather a hot iron, an ironing board/heat safe table, a thin towel, synthetic paper, and your desired documents. You should also clear your workspace and make sure that your hot iron cannot damage anything in the area. 

Turn the iron onto medium heat and allow it to pre-heat. While you wait for the iron to heat up, place the documents you wish to laminate inside the synthetic pouches. 

Laminate

Once the hot iron is heated, put the document and its synthetic pouch under the towel. Apply the hot iron to the top of the towel with even pressure for 20-30 seconds. Remove the iron and check to see if the synthetic pouch has bonded to the paper. Reapply the iron as needed. You will not need to trim after laminating with this method.

Is it Better to Laminate Normal Paper or Thicker Cardstock?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Thicker cardstock may give you a more professional final product and will likely last longer. This choice depends entirely on the type of document you are laminating, and how much wear and tear you expect it to face. However, the thickness of the document can impact the method you select.

Wrap Up

Laminating is an excellent way of making your paper/printed documents last longer and stand up to regular use. There are many lamination options to choose from, and the right one depends on your specific needs. I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial and found it helpful. These lamination methods can save time and money and keep your valuable documents in tip-top shape. Comment down below what method you find the most useful, and please share this article if you liked it. 

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