6 Things to Know About Lamination

Img 2862 500X375Have a printing job that could use a little extra protection, like badges for a 5k run or an important poster for a presentation? If you do, then you may need your project laminated.

Lamination provides extra protection while also adding a nice, clean look to your finished product, and can also be referred to as encapsulation, because it encloses the printed image. Before submitting your project for lamination, there are a few things you should consider.

1. The Lamination Process

Lamination takes time. We recommend you allow a 24 to 48-hour window to complete the process, so plan accordingly. 

There is also no limit to how many or how few pieces can be laminated, but you should keep in mind that you will have to pay the same setup fee for one piece as you would for a hundred pieces. Therefore, it is most cost effective to laminate multiple items at the same time.

2. How Thick Would You Like the Laminate to Be?

The first step is to determine how thick or thin you’d like the lamination to be. The paper your project is printed on will help determine which laminate is most appropriate (learn more about different paper types here.) Lamination film is also measured in a unit of thickness known as a “mil.” One mil is equal to .001” or 1/1000ths of an inch.

Your choices of lamination include:

  • Thin Lamination – You may see this type of lamination on restaurant menus, as it allows for some give while also protecting your document. It is best used on 32# text paper with 5 mil laminate.
  • Thick Lamination – This provides protection while offering a sturdy feel, making it a great option for projects like event badges. We’d use 32# text paper with 10 mil laminate to ensure this project will last for at least a week.
  • Super Thick Lamination – If you want your materials to be long-lasting, a super thick laminate is your best choice. An example of this type of laminate would be the type used on a driver’s license. 100# card paper with 10 mil laminate will be used for this effect.

In addition to laminate thickness, you can also choose if you’d like just one side of the paper to be laminated, or a full, encapsulated lamination.

3. How Would You Like Your Edge?  

There are two different edges to consider for your lamination. These are:

  • Lip Edge – A lip edge is created when lamination hangs 1/8” over the edge of the paper, acting as a border.
  • Flush Edge – Here, the lamination is cut at the edge of the paper, leaving no border.

4. Is This a Small or Large Format Job

Small format jobs consist of items smaller than 11x17:

  • Badges
  • Menus
  • Protected documents
  • Membership cards

While larger format lamination projects include items 12x18 and larger:

  • Boards
  • Posters

5. What Type of Finish Do You Need?

You can choose between three different finishes for your laminate job. These are:

  • Gloss – This finish offers a clear view and shine. This is the most typical finish for laminate.
  • Matte – A matte finish has a frosty look and has a more textured feeling.
  • Dry-erase – This finish allows you to use dry-erase markers to add text as needed.

6. More to Consider

The last things to consider when you order lamination include whether or not you’d like rounded corners on your project and if you’d prefer a round or oval punch.

Lamination is a seemingly simple process that, like every other printing job, can go very poorly if not appropriately thought out. Review all six concerns above to make sure you and your audience get the most out of your lamination project. 


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