Laminated Printing: Selecting A Laminate Thickness To Fit Project

Laminated printing is for printed pieces that have a transparent plastic film attached to them. Printing is plastic-coated to protect it from stains and moisture, to raise its strength and durability, and to improve sheen and vibrancy to the ink colors. Paper Extrusion Coating Laminating Machine creates printed documents that look more fine-finished and professional.


The transparent plastic laminating film used to laminate printed matter is available in various thicknesses. Some films are thin and flexible; others are pretty rigid. Suppose you want a printed piece to be rigid. In that case, one tip that can usually save your money is to use a thick cardstock to print on, and then you apply a thinner laminate film, as opposite to printing on thinner paper and consuming a thicker laminate film. If you tell your printer what your preferred thickness result is, they can price it out with the method most cost-effective for you.

How can you measure Lamination Film?

You can measure lamination film in mil widths. One mil is equal to .001″ of an inch (a mil is different from a millimeter). Hence, a lamination film measuring 1.5mil is .0015″ thick. Likewise, a film measuring 10mil is .010″ thick. Also, as you can sandwich your printing between two pieces of laminate, a 1.5mil laminate will raise the overall thickness of your printed piece by 3 mils. Likewise, a 10mil laminate can increase the overall thickness by around 20 mils.

The more durable you will like your finished printed piece to be, the heavier the laminate you will choose. However, it is usually best to practice a laminate film thickness of 3mil or less if you fold your printed piece. As you expect, folding becomes more difficult as the cover thickness increases.

The following is a list of standard laminating film thicknesses and some examples of widespread uses for each size:

1.5 MIL:

It is a relatively thin laminate. Thus it does not add much rigidity to the printed paper. However, the 1.5mil thickness is an inexpensive choice when applying laminate to print things that you can construct of heavy paper or cardstock, like business cards, flashcard sets, exhibition folders, and book or manual covers. Moreover, as 1.5mil is the least expensive laminate option, it is also a perfect fit for laminated print papers that serve a temporary purpose: a route map for a walk-a-thon or a limited-time trip menu restaurant. Also, the flexible 1.5mil thickness is perfect for laminating labels and decals.

3 MIL:

This film thickness delivers adequate protection yet is thin and flexible enough to permit you can fold the printed piece. So, people use 3mil laminate frequently for restaurant menus that involve folding, like the popular bi-fold or tri-fold menu. The 3mil laminate is a good choice for wall posters, charts, handbooks, or flipbook pages.

5 MIL:

This laminate size enhances moderate sturdiness to print materials and grasps up to everyday usage. You can score and fold it in some circumstances, but the thickness of laminate may yield a “spring open” result on some folded pieces. Though, this thickness is an ideal option for flat details that get handled often. It includes instructional materials, graphs and diagrams, bookmarks, event passes, dry or wet-erase memo boards, and restaurant or bar menus. You can use a paper Extrusion Coating Laminating Machine for this lamination.

10 MIL:

This lamination offers tremendous rigidity and protection. You cannot bend or crease Pieces plastic-coated with 10mil film easily. As such, you can use a 10mil laminate often on identification cards, badges, reusable tags, and reference sheets, indoor or outdoor restaurant and bar menus that do not fold. Also, experts recommend a 10mil laminate for any printed pieces that you can use in dirty, damp, greasy, or rugged environments due to the superior toughness.

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