How to Laminate Stickers – The ULTIMATE Guide To Waterproof Your Vinyl Decals

How to Laminate Stickers – The ULTIMATE Guide To Waterproof Your Vinyl Decals

When it comes to protecting your vinyl stickers – laminating is the key. Whether you printed your own vinyl sticker, want to protect a bumper sticker, or waterproof a label you can instantly place a clear laminate sheet over top and seal it for years to come. Just by placing a laminating sheet over your sticker, you can increase the lifespan by 5+ years, making your sticker waterproof, scratch and tear-resistant, and even dishwasher safe!

waterproof sticker

What are Laminating Sheets?

Laminating sheets are a clear vinyl material that has a one-sided adhesive backing. They are very similar to stickers in that you peel them off and stick them on to a hard surface, applying pressure to seal and protect the sticker.

There are 3 main finishes of laminating sheets – glossy, satin, and matte. Depending on what you want the surface to look like you can choose from this variety of options to either have a glossy surface that reflects light, a semi-gloss surface that is semi-shiny, or a matte finish that is dull and does not reflect light.

Single-sided laminating sheets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, most commonly in 9″ x 12″ size. This is because common legal documents measure in 8.5″ x 11″ which will be completely covered by the laminating sheets. They can range from 1.5 mil to 10 mil in thickness. They best thickness for laminate for stickers is right around 4 mil to give it a strong but flexible feel.

Laminating sheets are prefect for stickers, documents, fliers, signs, water bottle, and much more. You can cut them to size with scissors- no machine is needed.

 

 Laminating sheets are different than laminating pouches, which require a laminating machine. Usually they are used for printed documents and are sized in 11″ x 17″. Laminating pouches seal both side of the document and heat is used to make the adhesive vinyl stick together permanently- and these are not a good option for stickers because they will seal off the adhesive backing side of the sticker making it impossible to stick.

 

clear laminate sheet for stickers
Sticker with laminating sheet over top

How to Laminate Stickers

laminating you stickers in incredibly easy once you understand what kind of product you need. The best option is to use a single-sided clear laminate sized sheet, commonly sold in 9″x 12″ size. 4 mil thickness should be excellent to give the decal robust protection.
 

Step 1 – Purchase Single-Sided Clear Laminating sheets

We offer clear laminating sheets through our amazon store specifically made for stickers. They are provided in 20 sheet packs with full instructions and the perfect sizing (9″x12″) and thickness (4.0 mil). These are made from crystal clear PVC material which will give a beautiful semi-gloss finish over top of your sticker.

Step 2 – Cut out the Laminate According to Decal Size

Trace the size of the sticker by laying it over top of the back of the  full laminating sheet (before peeling or cutting the laminating sheet). This way you will be able to use only exactly the amount that you need and save the rest for a different project. Then cut out the traced sticker shape.

Step 3 – Peel Off Backing of Laminate and Place Over Top of Sticker

Next peel off the backing sheet of the laminate, exposing the sticky side. Carefully place the clear laminating sheet over top of the sticker as flat as possible to prevent air bubbles from popping up. 

Step 4 – Squeegee Out Air Bubbles with a Cloth or Credit Card

If air bubbles do occur, you can squeegee them with a cloth or piece of plastic such as a credit card. Sometimes the air bubbles will go away naturally after a couple of days.

When Should You Laminate Your Stickers?

Laminating you stickers is a good idea whenever they will be exposed to harsh elements. If you plan on putting a sticker on a water bottle for example, that would be a prime example of when to laminate, as it would likely be exposed to water, direct sunlight, and debris such as dirt. Laminating sheets will protect your sticker from all of those, as well as allow the decal to be put through the dishwasher. 

Other examples for when to laminate your sticker would be if it is going to be outside for extended periods of time, such as  a car bumper sticker.

If you are printing your own DIY printable vinyl or paper sticker label from home, you should almost always laminate over top of them if they will be used outdoors. The only where you would not laminate in this case is if you use matte printable vinyl, which is very durable and dishwasher safe as well as waterproof by nature.

When Do you NOT Need to Laminate your stickers?

There is no urgent need to laminate indoor stickers such as laptop stickers or bullet journal stickers for example. If they are not exposed to any water, debris, or direct sunlight for extended periods of time then you can save a few dollars and not laminate.
 
Laminating the following items is not required:
  •  UV printing
  • Screen printed stickers
  • Premade stickers specifically labeled waterproof
  • etched/embossed/debossed material
  • adhesive vinyl
  • heat transfer vinyl
  • waterslide decals (use sealant spray instead)
  • woodburned items
  • laser etched items
 

Laminated vs Non Laminated Stickers

Laminating stickers will almost always make them look and feel more professional when done properly. 

 

These are the benefits for laminating over top of stickers:

  • Waterproof
  • Scratch-proof
  • dishwasher safe
  • UV light resistant (ink won’t fade)
  • increased lifespan 
  •  tear-resistant
  • gives it a newly finished look (satin, glossy or matte)

CONCLUSION:

Waterproofing your stickers is an essential step when preserving their look. In many cases you should laminate over top of your stickers, however there are a few rare cases when it would not needed. A good rule of thumb to remember is that for any stickers that will mainly be indoor and away from harsh elements, you can safely skip the laminating step. However for nearly every other situation, laminating over top of your stickers (even if they claim they are waterproof) will only increase their lifespan and preserve their vibrant colors. To purchase laminating sheets specifically designed for custom stickers, visit our amazon store. You won’t regret spending a little extra money to preserve your precious decals, and its often addicting to want to laminate everything!

Cheers!

Michael from Royal Elements

shop royal elements adhesive vinyl and sticker paper products on amazon prime

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