Lamination, sealing something between two sheets of plastic, is a great way to preserve documents, photographs, business cards, posters, or any other piece of paper that is important to you. If you wish to laminate something, there are a number of options available to you.
The simplest way to laminate something, such as a small card, is to purchase small butterfly laminates. This type of laminate consists of one piece of plastic with another, adhesive-backed piece attached. Simply place the document you wish to laminate between the two pieces of plastic, peel the backing off the adhesive side, and smooth the adhesive side down. Butterfly laminates come in various sizes depending on your need. Some feature prepunched holes so they can be attached to luggage or anything else you wish.
If your lamination needs are more extensive, you may need to use a lamination machine. Many stores that offer office and printing services, such as Kinkos, have lamination machines and will laminate your documents, pictures, or posters for you. If you own your own business and plan to laminate on a regular basis, consider buying your own lamination machine. A few different options are available.
Pouch laminating machines require the user to place the document inside a plastic pouch before running it through the machine. This type of machine uses heat to seal the laminate. Pouch laminating machines are rather affordable, and small ones can be found for around $100 (USD). Pouch laminating machines capable of handling larger jobs can cost in the low thousands.
Roll laminators are the most professional and the most expensive models. They use heat to seal the sheets of plastic to your document. Roll laminators begin around $1,000 (USD), and those capable of laminating large documents like posters cost much more, $4,000 (USD) and well above. However, if you laminate large documents on a regular basis and require precise, consistent results, investing in a machine can save you a lot over time. Be aware that heated roll and pouch laminators may cause damage to heat sensitive materials, and a tape laminator may be more appropriate for such applications.