Lamination 101: The Best Choices for Beginner Lamination Projects

Whether you’re a teacher planning out classroom materials or an office manager designing safety handouts, workers in all industries can benefit from lamination. Simply put, lamination is a way to protect documents behind a layer of plastic casing. Laminated documents are not only protected from rips and spills, but can also be easily cleaned and reused. 

However, knowing you want to laminate your documents and knowing where to start are two entirely different tasks — so today, we’re breaking down the basics of Lamination 101: the four types of laminator machine, how to use them, and how to choose the best laminator for you. 

The 4 best laminators for beginners (and how to use them!)

It’s time to talk about the laminators themselves! You don’t have to be an expert right away to find the best laminator for you. There are four main types of laminators — roll, pouch, cold, and wide format laminators.

Pouch Laminators

Pouch Laminators tend to be the most popular type of laminator machine out there. This is because of their relatively low price and compact size. Modern pouch laminators use heated silicon rollers to wrap documents in secure “pouches” that protect from grabby hands and messy spills alike. You’ll typically see pouch laminators in small businesses and home offices, used for small items like menus, photos, and classroom handouts. 

To use a pouch laminator, simply open a pouch (typically thermal laminating pouches or self-sealing laminating pouches) and slide your document in. Then, feed it carefully into the pouch laminator according to its settings. It’s as easy as that! 

Roll Laminators

Roll Laminators can be used to mount materials on foam board or accommodate larger graphics, like signs and larger wall decals. Roll laminators are typically used for higher “volume” processing (AKA, laminating many things very often, like a printing business or sticker-making business). 

Using these roll laminators is a little more involved, because we have to “thread” the roll before it can start laminating. To do this, we load in two laminating film rolls (one for the top roll and one for the bottom roll), then test out the placement by putting a threading card (or piece of cardboard) through the laminator. This allows us to test out the lamination settings, and then trim away any excess before feeding actual projects into the machine. 

Cold Laminators

Cold Laminators are designed for fragile items, like historical documents or professional photos with sensitive ink. These do the job of a “regular” laminator without the heat, relying instead on pressure to seal a document. Most of the time, you’ll see cold laminators used for one-sided laminating like rigid display graphics (think trade show signs or grocery store labels). While these machines don’t require electricity or a warm-up period, they are often more expensive than other types of laminator. 

To use a cold laminator, we place the document between two sheets of lamination with a pressure-sensitive adhesive. Then, we roll the document through the high-pressure rollers and trim off any excess lamination. Cold laminators are extremely easy to use, making them a popular choice for schools and classrooms! 

Wide Format Laminators:

Finally, Wide Format Laminators are used for — you guessed it! — laminating large items. Typically found in the trade show or printing industries, floor-standing wide format laminators are meant for daily, extensive use. Wide format laminators are the best choice for durable signs or other materials, up to an average maximum width of 65”. 

Wide format laminators are on the rarer side in this industry, simply because they require more setup and training than other kinds of laminator machines. Once a wide format laminator is set up, however, it works much the same as a cold laminator or roll laminator. Practice makes perfect! 

Okay, so which laminator machine is right for me? 

The nice thing about lamination is that once you get the hang of it, you can use just about any laminator machine. When you’re ready to buy, we recommend asking yourself a few questions to determine the best laminator for you: 

  • What kinds of things will you be laminating? 
  • What’s the largest size you’ll want to protect? 
  • How often and how many materials do you plan on laminating? 
  • How much space do you have to work with? 
  • And finally, do you need heat, or are your documents too fragile to risk in a heated laminator? 

The answers to these questions will help you pick the best laminator for your school, home office, or small business. 

Ready to try lamination for yourself? The team at Lamination Depot has everything you need to become a lamination expert: lamination supplies for beginners, workstations and stands, carriers, cleaning supplies, and laminating accessories. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our Product FAQs here, or get in touch with us at 800-925-0054. We’re here to help! 

What is a Wire Calendar Hanger?

Wire calendar hangers are small, sturdy pieces of wire that have a shallow curve located in the center and are used to transform bound documents into wall-hanging calendars. This curve is aligned with a notch on the edge of the document (which is created using a half-moon punch), and the resulting opening allows the calendar to be hung using a nail or push pin while still providing clearance for the pages to be turned. They are available in two sizes – 6” wires that accommodate calendars that are 6”-9” on the bound side and 10” wires that are designed for calendars that are 10” or larger on the bound edge. The calendar hanger is secured in place by a standard wire binding spine (recommended size: 5/16”).

Six-Time Honoree Lamination Depot Celebrates Newest Appearance on Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies

Inc. magazine honors Lamination Depot with distinctive recognition as one of America’s fastest growing privately held companies for the sixth year in a row since their 2012 debut.

“Being included on the Inc. 5000 list for the sixth consecutive year is an immense honor,” says Paul Godfrey, Founder and CEO of Lamination Depot. “We have an amazing team of talented individuals that have worked extremely hard to make this accomplishment possible.”

The company’s mission is to deliver “an exceptional customer experience,” which includes having product readily on hand and offering a user-friendly online shopping environment. In January 2017, Lamination Depot moved their headquarters and distribution center from Santa Ana, California to Irvine, California into a newly constructed facility that is triple in size and houses over 1,500 pallets of products. Lamination Depot launched a completely redesigned website in May 2017 that can be used on desktop and mobile devices alike, allowing customers to filter through over 3,000 laminating, binding, and ID supply products at their desktops or on the go.

Lamination Depot continues to develop their privately labeled products – TruLam, TruBind, and TruBadge – and adds new supply and equipment varieties regularly. Their skilled team works collaboratively to maximize their operating efficiencies in order to meet the ever-increasing demand and achieve their challenging goals together.

A complete list of all Inc. 500|5000 honorees is available on Inc. magazine’s website.

View Lamination Depot’s complete profile

About Lamination Depot

Founded in 2002, Lamination Depot sells high quality laminating and binding supplies and equipment at deeply discounted prices. By purchasing products in large quantities directly from the manufacturers and packaging supplies in inexpensive, plain, corrugated boxes, they are able to offer consumers savings of 50-70% as compared to traditional office supply stores.

Lamination Depot Triples Warehouse Capacity with Move to New Location

Laminating and binding products supplier Lamination Depot, Inc. has relocated their warehouse and office to a newly remodeled, 16,000 square foot location in Irvine, California. With over 1,000 oversized pallet locations, the new warehouse has more than three times the storage capacity of Lamination Depot’s three previous warehouses combined.

During the past year, Lamination Depot has focused on building their inventory of both supplies and equipment to better meet the needs of their customers. Additionally, they have grown their shipping and receiving staff by more than 50% in the past two years, which has allowed them to continue providing the same level of service to their growing customer base. Their new Irvine warehouse features extra-large pallet locations for expanded product accessibility and 30’ pallet racks to accommodate the storage of back-up inventory.

“After having expanded our warehouse to include additional satellite locations twice in the last two years, we realized the need for a single, consolidated warehouse that would give us room to grow,” says Paul Godfrey, Founder and President of Lamination Depot. “Our new warehouse not only allows us to stock more inventory for improved product availability, but also makes order processing faster and more efficient. We are now able to pick and pack orders faster than ever before, with improved accuracy and a wider selection of in-stock products.”

Lamination Depot’s new office and warehouse is located at 1601 Alton Parkway, Suite E, Irvine, CA 92606. To learn more about Lamination Depot, visit

About Lamination Depot

Founded in 2002, Lamination Depot sells high quality laminating and binding supplies and equipment at deeply discounted prices. By purchasing products in large quantities directly from the manufacturers and packaging supplies in inexpensive, plain, corrugated boxes, they are able to offer consumers savings of 50-70% as compared to traditional office supply stores. With a focus on superior customer service, Lamination Depot has garnered recognition from both Yahoo Shopping and the Better Business Bureau, where they currently maintain an “A+” rating for reliability. Learn more about Lamination Depot by visiting

TruBind TB-S20AP Coil Binding Machine with Electric Coil Inserter & Foot Pedal Demo Video

The TruBind TB-S20AP Coil Binding Machine with Electric Coil Inserter and Foot Pedal offers manual punching and electric coil inserting functions at an affordable price. This video highlights some of the TB-S20AP’s special features – including oval holes, fully-disengaging dies, and foot pedal operation of the coil inserter – and also provides a helpful demonstration of how to use it to create your own coil-bound books.

Stick Together: Understanding Laminating Film Adhesive Applications to Prints

Let’s quickly review the components of a print before we discuss applying laminating film.

Anatomy of a Print:

  • Stock/Material – In addition to different thicknesses, paper stocks have different textures and levels of acid content.
  • Ink vs. Toner – Printing machines utilize either fluid (wet) ink or powdered (dry) toner to add an image. It is important to note whether or not you are using an oil-based media.

Light vs. Heavy Toner Coverage:

  • Prints with light toner coverage, such as an itemized list with small/no accompanying graphics with a lot of the white paper underneath showing through, require minimum adhesive strength.
  • Prints with high toner coverage, such as a full-color poster with edge-to-edge printing, require maximum adhesive strength.

We recommend that prints are completely dry before applying laminating film to prevent unsightly bubbles, condensation, etc.

Laminating Film Adhesive Types:

  • Standard: Designed for light toner coverage.
  • PRO: Designed for medium toner coverage with water-based inks.
  • Digital: Designed for heavy toner coverage with oil-based inks.
  • Pressure-Sensitive: Designed for stocks made of non-porous material (like a sheet of vinyl or other plastic).

We Answer Application FAQs:

I am a school that is laminating student projects with Standard laminating film. Why is the laminating film not sticking to my students’ construction paper projects?

Construction paper most often has a higher acid content than standard office copy paper. If you encounter peeling or lack of film adhesion to construction paper projects, we suggest switching to an acid free paper, slowing the speed on your laminator if possible, or upgrading your film adhesive strength.

Will PRO film work for my digital prints?

As long as the activation temperature does not reactivate the toner applied to your print, PRO film can also be suitable for digital prints.

Get Attached: Wearing or Attaching Laminated Name Tags

Are you having trouble keeping track of items – or people? Laminated name tags are a visually identifiable way to keep track of items or persons during travel or large events.

Types of Attachments:

Clear Plastic Loops – These jelly-like loops are quick and easy to use. To thread onto a slotted tag:

  1. Push one rounded end through the slot, then up through the opposite round end of the loop.
  2. Pull the threading end to fix the loop to the tag.
  3. Repeat the process using the tag as the threading end to attach to luggage.

Metal Clips are quickly attached to a slotted tag by simply pinching open, then releasing to grip the tag. Some clips come equipped with a small plastic strap, which threads and snaps through a tag’s slot, leaving the clip available to clip onto clothing.

Neck Lanyards – In addition to a variety of colors and strap styles, neck lanyards come with multiple attachment styles. The two most common styles are a swivel J-hook or a bulldog clip, which operates much the same as the metal clips discussed earlier. To attach a tag to a swivel hook, pinch the straight piece that presses against the lower tip of the “J,” thread it through the tag hole, then release to close.

What kind of tools can I use to punch holes or slots in my tags?

Swivel J-hook lanyards can be attached to items simply punched with a round hole punch. However, clear plastic loops and metal clip attachments work best with tags that have a slot – a rounded rectangular shaped hole. Rounded holes can be punched using a simple hand-held punch found in most office and craft supply stores, but slots require more specialized tools like the TruLam Stapler-Style Slot Punch (Item #TL-SPUNCH). There are other tools available that can punch both styles using the same machine, like the TruLam 3-in-1 Slot Punch.

Modular Binding Machines: How Interchangeable Dies Save You Space AND Money

Imagine a work environment that requires more than one or two binding styles available.

For example, a print shop needs to be able to bind books with either plastic spiral coils or 3:1 pitch twin-loop wires, depending on the project assignment.

A quick solution would be to purchase a dual-function binding machine like the Akiles DuoMac; however, keep in mind that this machine can only perform two functions.

The same print shop from our example just received an assignment that requires 2:1 pitch twin-loop wiresShould they purchase a new binding machine solely devoted to 2:1 binding?

Technically, yes the shop could buy a new separate machine. But if that print shop had originally purchased a modular binding machine with interchangeable dies, they would only have to purchase the newly required die set.

Modular binding machines are highly valuable in environments that use multiple binding styles in the same workspace. Rather than purchasing an additional binding machine devoted to only one binding style, users with modular binding machines simply purchase a new die set.

Replacement die sets are not only easier to store than a whole other binding machine, but they are easy to replace when the dies grow dull and no longer punch as effectively. One can save hundreds of dollars by simply replacing a machine’s set of “teeth,” rather than replacing the whole machine!

Modular binding machines are available in both manual and electric models, offering solutions to work environments with varying project volumes and budgets.

We’re happy to help you find the machine that’s right for you whether it’s single or multi-function!