This summer I’m spending time creating and printing signs, word wall graphics, etc. for my classroom. Since I will be at a new school in a new, in a new district, I don’t yet have access to the almighty laminating machine. I could run down to my local office supply store and laminate for $1.49+ per sq. ft. or even the teacher store further down the highway for $0.89 per sq. ft. Yet, I haven’t done this. Instead, I decided to try an old but reliable hack for laminating…transparent contact paper.
Instead, I decided to try an old but reliable hack for laminating…transparent contact paper. While the “feel” is not quite the same at a professional grade, commercial laminating machine, the end result is better than I expected. Probably the nicest aspect is that I do not have to leave a pile of laminating with a retail location and worry about pieces getting misplaced as many are very small. I do have larger full-page sized items that I will take to one of my nearby retailers, but for all these small pieces the contact paper works great! Oh, and I won’t have to wait in line at the large laminating machine in my school’s library come August.
So, here is a rundown of the process I used and how things turned out.
First I printed all my items. Some were pdf’s that had a lot of black-and-white outlines so I spent some time filling in this white space with my trusty thin tip colored marking pens (not sharpies). Then is was time to cut them out.
Normally, such a tedious task could be delegated to one of my now grown teenagers or student aid. Seeing as I had access to neither of these individuals, I grabbed my scissors and settled down for a good movie. If you have forgotten how cathartic coloring and cutting can be, I highly encourage you to add to your list of pastime activities.
Next, I grabbed my rolls of transparent contact paper and scissors. I cut TWO same-size rectangular sections of contact paper that would be large enough for three to six cutouts at a time (depending on size). Working with small portions of contact paper is much easier and gives you way more control. I peeled off the paper from one of these sections and placed it on my counter with the sticky side up. Yes. Sticky side up.
Then I grabbed a few cutouts that would fix this section and placed them FACE DOWN on the sticky side with plenty of space in between the pieces and from the sides. This ensures that when I sandwiched them with another sheet of contact paper, I could seal a perimeter around each cutout.
Notice the SPACE around each cutout and from the edge of the contact sheet.
Using a second same-sized sheet I sandwiched in the cutouts, being very careful to smooth out the contact paper along the way. This process was repeated until all my cutouts were sealed in between two pieces of contact paper. The next picture is what all the sealed sheets of cutouts looked like.
Time to grab my scissors and find something on HGTV! Cutting out these items really took no time at all and was again, very relaxing.
All the cutouts now look just like they did when I initially cut them out, but now there is a protective seal on both sides. In August, I’ll simply staple them up on the walls just like any other laminated item. No waiting in line required. 🙂
The only real con to using contact paper to laminate is that it is slightly thicker than lamination used by our school. Ultimately as long as my cutouts hold up, I’m a happy teacher.