Wednesday, 28 December 2011

10 Tips for Laminating your Printables!

Laminators for teachers

Laminating and packaging your printables such as worksheets and card games are so much fun! If you are an addict like I am, here are a few tips that can make it quick, easy and safe.
  • Printing Ink: Your printer must have medium to high levels of black and colored ink. If you print in color and your color cartridge is low on only one color, say blue, it cannot use other colors to make more blue so all color levels (the little bars) must be 'up'.
  • Paper color: The color of paper is really important. For write-on-wipe-off worksheets that are 'black and white', you can print on colored paper, even the bright fluorescent ones! These are especially great for posters, name tags and things that you need to POP out visually. It's a cost-effective way of having color without needing colored ink!
  • Paper thickness: For all of my printable card games, I print them out on card stock paper or Bristol board paper. Why? It's not just for adding durability, it also helps to prevent the printed side from being seen from the reverse side. So students can play, without having to try to conceal their cards from their opponents' view.
  • Laminating machine quality: It is preferable to use a machine that has multiple heat settings for different paper thicknesses. Older or cheaper machines may have limited options for temperature adjustments and this can lead to either under-heating or over-heating. If your laminator is too hot, it would cause the paper in the pouch to come out wrinkled with folds and dents. If it is too cold, it could lead to air pockets. The solution to both scenarios is to re-laminate it (pass it through a second time) at the right temperature setting, according to the paper thickness. This would iron out the wrinkles and seal out the air pockets.  
  • Fire Safety: A good laminating machine should also have a safety automatic shut off (like a curling iron).
  • Cutting: I recommend the use of a guillotine (if you are handy with it) because it really saves time on cutting.
  • Student safety: Laminating and cutting a page leads to sharp corners. You can either stack the pages three at a time to nick off the sharp corner with a scissors in a curving direction for a smooth round off or you can use a nail file to round off the edges so that it does not seem obvious e.g. for playing cards.
  • Even more durability: For super durability, when cutting out your cards or posters, do not cut along the edge of the paper or within the paper area, instead cut beyond the edge of the paper where the two sheets of the laminating pouch touch.  This creates a truly airtight and waterproof seal!
  • Using Velcro: For sorting activities and games, if you need to stick one card to another, use little strips of Velcro (the kind that's already cut into little dots with sticky backs) so students scan sort with ease. I do not recommend tape because it leaves a sticky residue on your cards, it takes up more time for peeling, cutting and sticking, and it is tricky for younger students to handle.
  • Storage for easy access: Store your printables in labelled transparent 'Ziploc type' bags for easy identification and so that they can stay clean without little fingerprints and juice-spills all over them!
Sometimes laminators can get jammed. This is a really important tip: How to prevent jams - 
When feeding the laminating sheet into the laminator, always insert the sealed end, not the open end, or else it could cause your laminator to jam. Sometimes you may just have small piece of paper to laminate and you decide to cut out a nice rectangular section of the laminating pouch (because you don't want to waste the whole thing). This is okay as long as you cut from the sealed end. But then again, what do you do with the remainder - the part that is not sealed? Use it another time? No. Throw it away or else it could jam your laminator! I have learned the hard way that the best way to be thrifty with my pouches is to use them to the full extent. So if I only have a small piece of paper to laminate, I find other small things to add to the pouch so that I don't have any wastage.

So now that you know my laminating secrets, I hope you have a fun creating and laminating for your classroom!

9 comments:

mumzie said...

Thanks for the tips.What type of a printer do you use with card stock?

mumzieloveslucy@gmail.com

Teacher Nyla said...

I use a Canon. I love Canon. I must say that as long as you use a 'top load' printer, it would be able to print thick sheets without jamming. So I always look for a printer that loads the paper at the top which does not require the paper to be bent too much (for efficient printing). Hope this helps!

Zmalik said...

I will defiantly follow this whenever i go for plastic cards printing....

Mr. Jimmy said...

Thanks for the tips. Didn't know what the heat settings were for on the laminator. For corners, I use this:

http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Corner-Rounder-Small-Red-handled-Five-millimeter-Paper-Cutter/3275316/product.html

Victoria Kelley said...

Hi! Thanks for the tips!

If I may add... instead of throwing away the laminating film you cut for smaller projects, use it for other small projects! But instead of putting it through the machine, put a piece of paper over it and use your iron on low - medium heat.

Laminating film can get expensive! No need to waste it!

Teacher Nyla said...

Thank you Victoria, I've heard about the ironing tip too and I understand that it really works so thanks for the tip!

Niamh Joyce said...

You certainly have shared a great write-up over laminating film. Advanced machines introduced nowadays have left lamination an easy and an effortless task. Moreover, there are various handmade process as well which enable you replace the film in an easy manner.

Alfred Benzen said...

Informative recommendation! One of the most superior quality lamination film have been discussed about within this share only for making us purchase these kind of quality encapsulation sheets for securing our mandatory documents.

Cosmo Films Ltd said...

many farm are widely used Laminating film to provides the safety of products.

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As a Caribbean primary school teacher, I share my unique classroom with the world through this blog. Readers step into my class through the pictures, articles and classroom samples of games and lessons used in my class. I have been teaching since 2005 at the std. 4 primary level in Trinidad and Tobago. I am particularly interested in sharing my own personal lesson plans, tests and activities. Teachers need to share ideas and support each other because in doing so, we help to educate our students and develop ourselves as teachers. Technology is ever evolving and we as teachers should get on board with it, collaborate and keep up to date with this new age that we live in. Our students belong to this technological era and we must embrace opportunities to learn from each other in this global community. I also love to express my creativity in the classroom. I am a bit of a craftster . So I'm always cutting, gluing or making something... a game, a chart, a learning center, etc. So, teachers and parents, feel free to stop by and see what's new at Nyla's Crafty Teaching!