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How to Laminate Paper and Cards – Quick Tips Guide

How many times have you been into the teacher’s break room to laminate your material only to be met with the extreme frustration of not being able to get the machine to work? Even more frustrating, who knew that different types of paper would determine how to be laminated? Did you know that there are at least five different card stock paperweights? Most people don’t know the differences and how to laminate paper and cards properly.

The majority want to get their stuff laminated and be done with it. However, if you want something to last a long time, it would be worth your while considering the type of paper you’re using versus the type of laminator you were using. This is why we have put together a quick tips guide for you on how to laminate paper and cards.

How Do You Laminate Homemade Paper?

First of all, you would have to know how to make the paper in the first place. The big question here is why in the world would you want to make your own? Making your paper, it’s a tedious process that renders an awesome product. The homemade paper looks completely different than most types of paper that you’ll find in the store, and you can be assured that it will be unique in its own way.

As much as I would love to go through the tedious process of making your own paper, that is for another day! The laminating process for homemade paper is much the same as laminating any other type of paper.

The best way to ensure that this type of material is laminated properly is likely to be with a thermal laminator. The lamination process’s heat will ensure that the sheets are properly melded together so no separations occur and the finished products are sealed. It is just that easy! Cold press laminator sheets may not properly stick to high fiber materials and often leave your end product looking less than great.

Thermal laminators require laminating sheets or a laminating pouch. Turn on your laminator, put your homemade paper in the pouch or laminating sheets, and run it through the laminator. Cut an excess lamination from around the edges, and you’re done!

Can I Laminate Without a Laminator?

Don’t have an actual laminating machine? No problem. Several household things can be used for laminating different items. Forget having to buy an expensive lamination machine and special paper because there is a different way. Below are some great tips and ideas on laminating with items you can find around the house!

Laminate Paper With Wax Sheets

laminating with wax paper

If you think way back to your kindergarten days, ever remember your teacher making your project a forever piece by using wax paper and an iron? Well, we are going to bring that back. This is probably one of the easiest ways to make something last a long time.

  1. Cut the wax paper and place your project between two sheets. Ensure there is excess around all areas of your item, as this will be the part you are ironing.
  2. Make sure to adjust your iron up to the correct temperature. The “cotton” setting would be the best one for this type of project. There is no need to place a cloth or other material between the iron and the wax paper.
  3. Iron around the project. This is important! Do not place the iron directly over sensitive materials (i.e., photos or certificates) as that may damage them.
  4. Get rid of excess wax paper by cutting around the project.
  5. Tape your finished product up on the wall or hang it on the fridge.

Laminate With Contact Paper (or Transfer Tape)

laminating with contact paper

This one is crazy easy, and you probably have to lie around your house from other projects! Which saves you money to use what you already have at home. Who doesn’t enjoy saving money?

  1. Cut two sheets of clear contact paper or transfer tape to whatever size is needed for your items.
  2. Then, put your items in between the sheets of contact paper. Make sure that the adhesive sides are touching each other.
  3. Press firmly onto the contact paper to ensure no bubbles and that there’s full contact with your items. No iron required!
  4. Lastly, cut around the excess for a neat-looking finished product.

Is it Better to Laminate Paper or Cardstock?

When it comes to whether or not to laminate cardstock or paper, it really boils down to how you want your project to look and how long you want it to last. The main difference between the cardstock and regular paper is the thickness. Cardstock sheets are more durable and are a good option for items that you want to last for a long period of time.

What’s even more interesting is that cardstock is broken down into different categories (cardstock and coverstock). Though cardstock and coverstock are essentially the same, there are a few differences that might make your project’s overall appearance not what you expected.

While there are many different types of paper, overall, the paper is typically thinner, unlike its thicker opponent, cardstock. Because we like to be thorough, let’s break this down to ensure that you are getting the ultimate result for your project.

Cardstock vs. Coverstock

Its weight typically classifies cardstock. For example, one can choose from a thin paper that will have the marking of 74lb versus choosing a heavier paper labeled as 140lb. Cardstock comes in an array of colors and is easy to use. Lighter weights can be used in a home printer, while the heavier ones would better be served being used in a die-cutting device (i.e., a Cricut).

Coverstock, like cardstock, is a durable and thick paper that is made for printing or other projects and ideas. Like its counterpart, this comes in many different colors and may best be used for items such as homemade cards. However, the cover stock often has sheets with many different textures that will give you the appearance you are looking for.

What Kind of Projects Can I Complete With Cardstock

Do some origami! There are so many different online tutorials that show you how to make origami ducks, stars, claw fingers, and more. Right now, people are finding themselves doing projects that they wouldn’t normally do.

Let’s watch this video and learn some new origami folds:

Have a Cricut machine? Take some time to explore the different projects that you can make with a cutout on that. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all! Make some homemade Christmas cards or decorations and mail them out to the family you won’t see at the most wonderful time of the year.

Another idea is to make some personalized stationery or gift boxes. These types of activities are awesome to make and use for various holidays (i.e., Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day). If you have any children in a class and wish to make little treat boxes for all of the upcoming parties, this is another reason to make some cool cardstock crafts.

Which One is Better For Laminating – Paper vs. Cardstock?

I know this seems like information overload when it comes to various paper sheets compared with different laminate types, but we want your project to look exactly the way you want it to look. This is where you decide how much money you want to spend and what you want your project to look like.

Essentially, it’s better to laminate cardstock if you want a more professional-looking and lasting project. There are plenty of reasons to use laminating sheets on regular paper! Maybe you want to preserve a bulletin or a special art project your child finished in school. Either way, consider the project and how you want your finished product to appear.

How Do You Laminate a Card Without a Laminator?

Anyone who wants to keep certain cards in their wallet in good condition without having to go through the hassle of warming up the laminating machine and running paper through will love the idea of laminating pouches. These pouches have two adhesive sides: you place an item in between and sandwich it in. Essentially, the laminating pouch is a pocket that sticks to your card.

You need to consider before going and laminating all of your cards that not all of them can be laminated. Now, I’m not talking about the item itself is unable to be laminated because the lamination process won’t work. I am saying that laminating certain cards, i.e., your Social Security card may invalidate them. In this case, it is best to do some research to figure out what can and cannot be laminated.

On a side note, sometimes, it can be difficult to get those laminated cards out of your wallet. One of the most helpful tips anyone ever gave me had to do with a small tab of tape on each side of the card. Leave enough of the tape out to be able to pull the laminated card easily out of your wallet.

Can You Take Laminate Off Paper?

There can be a ton of reasons to want to remove laminate from an item. Maybe the laminated item needs to be re-laminated. Possibly you messed up the initial process and need to get the items out to run through the laminator a second time?

Forget simply trying to take laminate off of something crinkled! Simply ripping laminate off an item can potentially ruin the item. This is something you want to avoid if you have important items such as pictures or certificates.

It can be tough to remove laminate off of items if not done correctly in a nutshell. This is where we give you those tips to help. You can remove laminate off of material in one of the three ways listed below.

laminate off material

Use a Blow Dryer

If you do not have an iron at home, grab the nearest blow dryer. The first thing you will want to do is cut as close to the item as possible. You are essentially attempting to destabilize the seam. Apply the air from the blow dryer directly to the items you want to remove. Once the laminate is pliable, you can begin to peel it away from the item.

Use Some Scissors

It may be easier for items placed in a laminate pouch to cut it out. Make a small slit with your scissors when the item meets the laminate sheet, cutting right along the edge. Once you find a small area that is pliable, you can begin to peel back the plastic and remove your item. Essentially, you want to remove your material from the pocket it is in without any damage.

Use an Iron

Be careful using this tool because you do not want the lamination sheet to stick to your iron. Ensure this doesn’t happen by placing a thin towel or cloth between the item and your iron. As with the blow dryer, the whole point is to apply enough heat to peel the laminate without damaging your items easily. Use scissors to cut pieces off as you go, if needed.

Final Thoughts

Laminating things can be frustrating when not done correctly. Whether you are a teacher at school or home projects, the lamination process can leave your project looking better than ever. Or, possibly, you may get through the process and realize you don’t want to mess with it at all. Either way, I hope that the tips and information have found you well in the quest for laminating all your projects.

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