Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Reasons to laminate your photos:
Whether you are scrapbooking or putting unframed photos on your wall, laminating your photos will make them:
More durable, long-lasting
More professional looking
Easy to clean
Protected against fingerprints, smudges
Question: Is laminating photos necessary in scrapbooking?
Answer: It depends on your layout, but I encourage it no matter what.
When scrapbooking and you have a flat, non-interactive layout that can fit into a clear protective sleeve, it is not absolutely necessary to laminate because the photos will be semi protected. Personally, even if some layouts end up not being interactive and a protector sheet is used, it is probable I will laminate regardless because anything can happen with the open end, such as spilling coffee, albeit unlikely.
In this post, I will share with you my tips and tricks to achieve a high efficiency system in getting yourself a batch of beautifully laminated photos with the least amount of stress as possible.
At the bottom of this page, you will find a list of all materials used and links of where to find them.
Choosing the right size lamination sheets
There are many ways you can go about laminating your photos, but being that I have a need for lamination that extends off into the distance as far as the eye can see, I wanted to find a very efficient way to get the job done. I happen to have a lovely array of lamination sheet sizes to work with, having over 7 variations in my possession and I also looked online to see if there was a perfect fit out there. So, I put a lot of consideration into the size I finally decided on. The photo size I have settled on for most of the pictures in my scrapbook will be 2x3" which will be big enough to see detail but small enough to be able to fit more photos into the standard 12x12" space.
Here are some of the factors I considered:
Size of my pictures
How many pictures I have
Cost of the lamination sheets
Availability of the sheets
Time it would take to laminate
These are all quite valuable thoughts. Yes, with the smaller lamination sheets I could have each of my photos laminated and have little to cut. In my opinion, there was not a lamination sheet I could have used that would have resulted in me not having to trim down anything and since trimming would be involved no matter what, it gave me the thought to go with a bigger sheet, to fit more in one shot. Ultimately, I went with the biggest sheet (approximately 9 x 11.5), the logic was undeniable. I would get many photos in one shot (9 photos) and I would cut them down with the paper trimmer.
There are a few things to keep in my when laminating multiple photos with one sheet in order to ensure success every time.
There needs to be gaps in between your photos, with blank space all the way around to ensure that the photo will remain fully encased with laminate. If you cut where there is paper, it compromises the lamination in that area and though it will probably not completely fall apart, so long as its not all the way around the whole edge, you still might end up with dirt/dust/debris over time and since we are putting so much effort into this, we don't want to end up with something that won't last very long. The gap needs to be enough that you can have enough of a border around all edges of each picture. This turns out to be pretty easy, working with this size, fitting 9, with a lot of gap room to work with. The more gap, the more allowance for small error when cutting.
Another thing about placement is, trying to align the pictures straight in columns and rows the best you can, in relation to each other. Doesn't have to be perfect, but pretty close. This makes it easier when you are lining them up on your paper trimmer, if they are all over the place, you'll end up spending more time trying to make sure each individual photo won't get cut off at any given point.
2. Locking them down.
Look, I've been down this road before. Even if you have the lamination sheets that have a bit of tackiness to them to ensure your paper doesn't move, if you are putting 9 individual photos into one sheet (or even less), the middle and bottom rows will move, you need to tack them down. Trust me. If you want to try it without, go ahead and watch your photos shift and then sit there while you are in the best case scenario of cutting them out individually with scissors or worst case scenario, having wasted an entire lamination sheet and needing to reprint all of the photos because they shifted so much that they are now overlapped each other.
The first row, where the top 3 photos are safely nestled into the crack where the lamination sheet folds are completely safe, no need to do anything special with them. Just tuck them in there as much as you can to ensure nothing happens to them.
As for the middle and bottom rows, there's a few ways to do accomplish what needs to be done. I am open to other ideas but, the quickest way I like tack them down is to use 1 small piece of clear tape on the top (or bottom, or side) of the photo. Nothing too large, just enough to hold the photo in place as it goes through the laminator.
There are a couple things to note about this technique, yes it is clear tape you are using, but yes, there is the slightest hint that there is tape there after it's been laminated. In my opinion, this is not enough of an issue to stop me from using this technique because the other ways that I know of would result in something much less favorable or more expensive/ time consuming. Let me put you at ease by saying, only a very small amount of people will notice the clear tape and even a smaller percentage of those people within that group will care. Also, if it still bothers you, you can hide this small amount of tape once you are ready to apply it to your scrapbook with a number of things: washi tape (as seen in first picture of post), embellishments, a label for the photo, a sticker, photo frame anything you can think of and personally, I am not bothered enough to do this to every single photo. That being said, I do try to minimize the amount of tape on the photo itself by applying the tape along the desired edge with just enough to know it's going to stay and the rest, lets say 3/4 - 7/8 of it can be applied to the lamination sheet.
Another way you could do this, is with double sided tape on the back of the photo. I didn't have this on hand but if you have thin double-sided scotch (or similar) tape, I would accept your answer. You just don't want to do anything bulky, like taking one sided tape and looping it to stick it on the back or the foam double sided tape, any of those options would cause a bubble or gap in the back and that would not look nice at all from the front side. The runner tape adhesive might work, but it seemed a little too risky for me based on the material of the lamination sheet, it might still have the ability to move and the photo itself might have to opportunity to get crinkled a little as you put it on the backside. Normal tape just seemed the safest/ quickest/ cheapest/ most available option for me at the time and I highly recommend it.
Once you've got your photos placed, you are ready to fire up your laminator, flip on the heat and send it in motion once ready. If I am doing many sheets, I start working on the next sheet while the current sheet is laminating. The timing works out nicely.
Then it's just a matter of trimming down the edges, you should end up with clear lamination all the way around. If you end up with an uneven number of photos towards the end of the batch, you can bring some other photos for other pages into the mix to get an optimal number laminated or just use a smaller sheet. I opted to add pictures that will be used in my next page to give myself a little head start for next time.
As a finishing touch, you can cut the corner edges to round them off.
These laminated photos turned into the cutest things, kind of looking like a collector card. I was purely tickled with myself after seeing them cut.
Materials I Am Personally Using:
AZ Paintbrush Designs is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. You will not pay anything extra by selecting these products, it simply helps to keep my website up and running. Any links that I provide are based on legitimate recommendation, I would never link something that I would not personally recommend to anyone.
Thermal Laminator (comes with a cutter and corner cutter): https://amzn.to/3iStyOc
Laminating Sheets 8.9 x 11.4": https://amzn.to/2NGjr3n
Laminating Sheets Variety Pack: https://amzn.to/3iWiUFZ
Glossy Photo Paper: https://amzn.to/3pwmpWf
Best Quality Printer I've Ever Owned: https://amzn.to/3puW9eR
Single-Sided Tape: https://amzn.to/3popzLE
Double-Sided Tape: https://amzn.to/3pwzVJE
Hope this helps you in your lamination journey. Please reach out of you have any questions or comments.
Happy Crafting. :)
-AZ Paintbrush Designs