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!
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.
How to Laminate Stickers
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?
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?
- 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
These are the benefits for laminating over top of stickers:
- dishwasher safe
- UV light resistant (ink won’t fade)
- increased lifespan
- gives it a newly finished look (satin, glossy or matte)
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!
Michael from Royal Elements