I love to use my laminating machine and creating bookmarks is a good excuse to pull it out. I have been known to google laminating projects for hours. That’s an exaggeration, well maybe not, it is easy to lose track of time on the internet. I also love shaped hole punches, but that’s a subject for another blog.
How I Got Started
It started out innocently. I started laminating when I taught art classes for kids. We made these really cool books that held their lessons. As they completed their lessons, they added them to their book. An idea I got off Pinterest that got me hooked on laminating.
To create the books, I took the covers they created to Office Depot to have them laminated. That can be a little pricey. Last summer I decided to make bookmarks, magnets, and more of those little books with blank pages for a party my mom gave. They were gifts to give my relatives. This time, I decided to buy a laminating machine.
I did the math. Knowing how much it costs to go to Office Depot to have my projects laminated and having worked in a print shop, the cost per sheet is around $2.00 not including finishing. For the price of a laminating machine at $22.00 and a package of 25 – 5 mil plastic pouches at $8.25, one large project pays for itself. I could not have made all the gifts I made for my mom’s party and had them laminated at Office Depot. It would have been too expensive because I really went nuts making gifts. I am sure the enjoyment I got out of using my new machine helped fuel how large the project became. I want to tell you, the laminating machine is worth the investment.
For this project if you don’t have a laminating machine, I suggest you buy one simply because it’s addicting, and you will want to do it again. It’s so much fun watching those sheets go through the machine and come out all shiny.
Ideas for Bookmarks
Below are some ideas for bookmarks and gift tags that you can laminate. Once you put them through the machine, all you have to do it cut them out, and punch the corners to make them rounded. The bookmarks make great last-minute gifts, and the tags can be used on your packages this Christmas.
For this little art project, it helps if you are somewhat of a hoarder, particularly a paper hoarder. Boy, I am confessing a whole lot of things to you about myself in this blog! I went through all my boxes. I believe I’m talking about three boxes labeled “other papers”. Which means it is paper that I’ve kept because it’s interesting. I pulled some paper out that I thought would make good bookmarks.
Some of the paper was samples from the paper company that I order from online, PaperPapers.com. Now that’s a dangerous website for me, that and the Paper Store. When you get an order, they send you samples of papers that are awesome and I decided they would make good bookmarks. I also found some scrapbook paper I bought for a project that I did earlier this year and I pulled pieces of paper that I had left over.
I happen to have some handmade paper that I purchased for other mix-media projects. I pulled that out too. You can also use wrapping paper but choose a substantial paper. I added some to my selections because I have 100 sheets of laminating sleeves, so why not!
Ideas for Package Tags
For the tags I used rejects from the cards that I print to sell. Like I mentioned in an earlier blog, I worked at a print shop for a lady named Terry. Terry was very particular, and I learned to be particular too when I print cards out. I have boxes of rejects. Some of those cards I thought would make good gift tags. If` you have old cards that you usually throw out, keep them, and re-purpose them. You shouldn’t have to go to the store to buy paper for this project. Use what you have. Maybe it’s a piece of stationary that you haven’t used that has a beautiful border. I have sheets of those in a box too.
Next, I decided on a size that I wanted to create my bookmarks, 2 by 8 inches. However, a lot of the paper that I found is not that size but if it’s close to that size I’m going to use it. You may want yours thicker, shorter, longer, whatever. There’s no right or wrong size.
Gather all your treasures and use your paper cutter to create 2 by 8-inch strips.
Tags can be any size. Notice when you purchase a package of tags, they’re usually all different sizes. For me, the bigger the tag, the better. I decided on a 2 x 2 inches size. Your tags can be bigger or smaller. You might want to write on the back of the tag. You can write to and from and leave it blank. Or if you know who you’re creating the tags for you can personalize them at this time. If you don’t like your handwriting and you want to type the back out, you can do that. Print them out and cut the sheet the same size as the tag. When you laminate them just place the sheets together. You can use a little bit of glue or tape to hold them in place.
Paper and Laminating Sheet Choices
I am printing out watercolor design instead of using actual watercolor textures that I’ve made because watercolor paper is too thick. I think thinner paper works better with the laminator. I’ve also chosen for this project lamination sheets that are 5 millimeters thick. It is a thicker than normal sheet because I think bookmarks need to be more substantial.
Now let’s talk about some laminating tricks. When I made the projects for my mother’s party, I struggled a lot. Since I was able to figure out the best way to create laminated sheets, I want to share that with you.
Some of the problems I had.
I laid out the objects that I was laminating too close together. When I cut them out, I didn’t have a nice border around my items. You want at least 1/4-inch border of the laminating plastic around your design. That so the laminating sheets will stick together.
I had trouble with wrinkles. You have to watch out for this by putting the sheets into the machine straight. Do not push it through or hold it back. Let the laminating machine do its thing. I wanted to help it and it doesn’t need my help, and it won’t need yours either.
It’s easy for the paper inside to slip. Position it and then set the sheet on the tray. Lay it down level, carefully so the paper inside won’t move. If you twist and turn it or hold one end of the sheet higher than the other, the paper inside will slide. If you have already put the edge of sheet into the laminating machine it’s going to be pulling it through and you can’t really stop it without creating the other problems we talked about, wrinkles.
When your sheets come out, lay them flat and let them cool before you cut them or touch them too much.
Make sure you let the machine warm up because the plastic will not adhere if it’s not hot enough.
One of the main skills that you need for laminating is patience. It’s a test and I want you to pass.
Finishing the Bookmarks and Tags
It helps to have a good paper cutter to cut your bookmarks and tags out and keep a good border. I use a punch to round the corners because the corners can be rather sharp. Rounded corners make a nice finish. You can use a hole punch if you want to add a tassel or cord.
All in all it’s fun and if you’re like me you’ll be putting everything you can get your hands on through the machine and you’ll be Googling laminating projects and checking them out on Pinterest because you’ll want to do it again, I guarantee it.
I want to remind you I am taking the next two weeks off from The Blog, but not The Shop. The next blog will be posted January 3, 2021.
I have added a number of card sets into The Shop on Ruthieonart and my Etsy Shop this week. In light of that and the rapidly approaching deadline to mail packages before Christmas, I am having a Flash Sale of 15% OFF ALL Cards and Notecards. The Sale will run from Sunday, December 13, 2020 through Monday, December 14, 2020. After that date I can’t guarantee shipping. USPS is reporting this message:
USPS is experiencing unprecedented package increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and remain committed to delivering the holidays to you.
Merry Christmas! And as always, Be Inspired!