Coffee is good for you until it spills all over your valuable documents, like certificates, business permits, awards, blueprints, licenses, IDs, testimonials, or expensive artwork. If it’s happened to you before, you know how frustrating that can be. If you haven’t ruined or ripped an important document yet, don’t wait!
Keeping your documents in a safe place is the best way to start. But laminating your documents is the sure-fire way to protect them from spilled liquids, rips, dust, dirt, and grubby hands. Other possible damage to paper from nature include the scorching sun, wind, rain, and even snow, especially for banners, signs, or displays placed outside.
If you work in the service or hospitality industry, you know that printing and copying costs can quickly skyrocket. In addition, things like menus and badges handled a lot can quickly get damaged or ruined if left unprotected. Laminating such documents can help reduce printing costs and save time in preparing them.
Whatever documents you have, laminating them can help extend their lifespan and reduce stress.
So where can you get cheap laminating services near me?
Short Answer: FedEx Office/Kinkos, Staples, Minuteman Press, OfficeMax/Office Depot, and the UPS store are among the top places to get laminating services near me. The cost of laminations varies from place to place, depending on the size of your project and the type of finishing you want. You can expect to pay anywhere between $1-$3 per square foot. The list places also offer printing, copy services, fax services, buy stamps, and more.
You can also DIY your own laminating services at home, but there’s an upfront investment of $30 to $90 to purchase a Scotch Laminator. But, once purchased, you have a cheap laminating service in your home and office. The only thing you’ll miss is the convenience of having a professional copy service do it for you. But, when dealing with sensitive documents, you’re better off taking them to the experts vs. DIY.
What Things Can You Laminate?
Finding cheap laminating services works with paper, plastic, vinyl, and many more materials to preserve and save important and frequently used items. Here’s a list of things you can laminate:
- Banners for advertisements
- Business cards
- Copies and flyers
- ID cards
How Much Does Lamination Cost?
The cost to laminate paper-based documents and other items depends on the item’s size, laminating thickness, the place you choose, and the finish.
It costs $1-$3 per standard 8” x 10” sheet of paper at FedEx Office or Office Depot. But you can expect to pay $2-$4 per square foot for larger sizes.
The type of item also has a bearing on lamination costs. For instance, it may cost $6-$10 to laminate an 8″ x 10″ photo professionally and up to $24 to laminate a 24″ x 24″ piece of paper.
Costs also vary from place to place. For instance, you’ll pay $3 per square foot to laminate a standard 8″ x $10 sheet at FedEx Office and only $2 per foot at Staples for the same size.
You can reduce costs by purchasing your own Scotch Laminator for about $30-$90 to DIY your lamination projects at home. More expensive laminators like the Fellowes Venus 125 may cost up to $300. Weigh the pros and cons when buying a machine for your needs.
What Stores Have Laminating Services Near Me?
If you want to get something laminated, your best bet is to look for stores that have nearby laminating services. Here’s is a list of top places that offer laminating services nearby:
1. FedEx Office/Kinkos
FedEx Office/Kinkos is a great place to get cheap laminating services nearby. It has over 2,200 FedEx Office locations that provide laminating services, cheap photocopies, printing, faxing, scanning services, online print-on-demand printing, and more.
Each store can print or laminate oversize prints for framing, window graphics, and training event posters.
FedEx also offers promo codes to help you save money for various services. For instance, during this writing, you can save $10 on print orders of $50 or more with the promo code NOW222. Click here for FedEx Office promo codes.
FedEx Office services include:
- Full-color printing
- Custom finishing services
FedEx Kinkos laminating costs around $3 per square foot, but FedEx Office members enjoy a reduced rate of $2.55. It’s an excellent one-stop shop for all your printing, lamination, and other finishing services.
Many services are available online or in-store. If you don’t feel like getting dressed, simply upload a print-ready file and place your order. FedEx will do the work and mail it to your address. Lamination orders are usually completed the same day or within 24 hours.
Staples stores are great places to access laminating services nearby. The company has about 1,575 stores in the United States that focus on office supplies and related products. Most Staples locations also offer print and copy services.
You can access Staples laminating services in-store or online, where you can have your documents printed, laminated, and mailed to your address. Same-day delivery options are available, and you’ll get free shipping on all orders of $50 and above.
Staples laminating costs stand at $2 per square foot for larger projects, but costs for smaller sheets range from $1.89 for 5mil to $2.49 for 10mil.
3. OfficeMax/Office Depot
The ODP corporation operates over 1,400 retail stores that sell office supplies. They also offer print & copy services, shredding services, managed print services, and same-day laminating services.
OfficeMax laminating costs around $1 to $2 per square foot. Take advantage of their cheap laminating services if you have a large number of documents.
4. Minuteman Press
Minuteman Press is a great place to get cheap laminating services. The company focuses mainly on professional printing and marketing services with over 1,000 locations. From restaurant menus, artwork, trade show event materials, posters, price lists, and other documents, you can have anything designed, printed, and laminated at Minuteman Press. They also offer shrink-wrapping services.
Take advantage of the Minute Press location in your area for cheap and high-quality lamination services to keep your documents protected for many years.
5. The UPS Store
The United Parcel Service is known for its fast and reliable shipping services. Apart from shipping, UPS can be a one-stop-shop for all your printing and laminating needs. There are over 5,250 UPS Store locations across the US and Canada that offer print & copy services, lamination services, fax services, cheap notary services when you’re estate planning, shredding services, and more.
Customers can print, make copies, laminate, and ship your documents where they need to go, all under one roof. For example, you can laminate banners, posters, brochures, business cards, door hangers, flyers, laws signs, menus, and more. The USP Stores also offers a 3D printing service.
UPS Store laminating costs range from $1.5 for business cards to $1.95 for “8.5 x”11 sheets and about $4.55 for “12 x “18 sheets. And with so many UPS Store locations in the United States, you’re sure to find a UPS Store down the street that offers cheap lamination services.
If you do a lot of lamination in your business, home, school, or office, the cost can quickly skyrocket. In this case, it makes sense to purchase your own Scotch Laminator to DIY your laminating services at home.
A Scotch Laminator may cost anywhere between $30 to $90, but expensive options exist that cost up to $300. Go with whatever machine gives the best value for your needs.
What’s the Best Home Laminator?
For schools and workplaces that do a lot of lamination, using laminating services at the FedEx Office or The UPS Store can be costly in the long run. A better option is to purchase their own home laminator for DIY projects. Buying the best home laminating machine can be difficult with so many options. You want to balance cost and quality.
The Scotch Thermal Laminator is the best home laminator when you weigh the pros and cons. It’s the best laminator for teachers, schools, and contractor work too. It features a two roller system for a professional finish. The machine is suitable for laminating documents and photos up to 9 inches wide and pouches up to 5 mil thick.
But what makes the Scotch Thermal Laminator stand out is its cheap and affordable price. Prices range from $20 to $90. Other types like the Fellowes Saturn SL 125 and Fellowes Venus 125 costs $100 or more.
How To Use a Scotch Laminator?
If you haven’t used a laminating machine before, it may feel confusing at first. But the process is relatively easy and straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a Scotch Laminator:
- Place the document: Open the pouch and place your document against the folded edge, leaving enough space between the document and the pouch edges.
- Smaller documents: To laminate multiple pieces of smaller documents or cards, arrange them inside the pouch while leaving enough space between them so that there will be a laminated edge around it when you cut.
- Seal: Seal and close the pouch. Avoid sizing the pouch before putting it inside the laminator.
- Warm up the machine: Turn on the machine and wait for around 1 minute until it heats up. Smaller machines heat up within 5-8 seconds, while larger ones may take up to 8-15 minutes. You’ll see an indicator light when your machine warms up properly.
- Adjust settings: Adjust the temperature and speed depending on the thickness of the pouch film. Set the machine to a lower speed and high temperature for thick pouches. If your machine doesn’t have the speed adjustment option, use thicker pouches.
- Place the pouch between the rollers: Now, pick the film and place the folded edge straight between the rollers. Placing it at an angle will make it crump. Again, don’t push the pouch; the machine itself will grab it.
- Wait for lamination: Wait for 1-2 minutes for the pouch to go through the rollers completely.
- Cool and cut: Once your paper is laminated, wait for a few minutes for the paper to cool before cutting around the edges to trim it, if necessary.
Congratulations! You’ve laminated your first document successfully.
Now repeat the process for other documents. Within a day or two of using the machine, you’ll be a pro.
Here’s a video on how to use the Scott laminator:
How Long Does it Take a Laminating Machine to Warm-Up?
Before using a laminator, you must wait for it to warm up so that the heat can activate the glue in the film or pouch.
How long it takes a laminating machine to warm up depends on the efficiency of its heating elements. Smaller, entry-level pouch laminators may take anywhere between 8-15 minutes to warm up. A mid-level laminator can take around 5-8 minutes to warm up.
When the machine is ready, the “Ready” indicator light goes on.
You should always turn the laminating machine on ahead of time so it can warm up. Depending on the thickness of the pouch or film you are using, you may need to adjust the laminating temperature and speed.
The instruction manual will tell you the right speed and temperature for various film thicknesses.
How to Laminate Without a Machine?
You can laminate without a machine. There are options if you can’t access cheap laminating services in your area or laminating machines is too expensive, including:
Use Self-Laminating Pouches
They’re also called cold laminating sheets and will make your documents look terrific without a machine. They come in different sizes and types, including SelfSeal Permanent, SelfSeal Repositionable, Peel-N-Stick, and SelfSeal PhotoPop. The GBC brand is known for carrying high-quality self-laminating pouches. You can buy them at Walmart for around $7 for a letter-size 10 pack or about $22 for a 25 pack at Amazon.
It’s also called waterproof paper and makes your document waterproof, torn-free, and sturdy enough for everyday handling without using a laminating machine. It’s easy to use and works well with laser printers and color copiers.
Synthetic paper is available in letter size and tabloid size, and even other sizes suitable for laminating smaller items like business cards or large photographs. A 25 pack goes for just over $30 at Amazon, while a 5-sheet pack comes in at around $20 at Walmart.
Clear Packing Tape
Clear packing tape can add an extra layer of protection to less-sensitive and smaller documents if you’re willing to trade your time for money. While it’s hard to position, you can master its placement with experimentation.
The benefit of packing tape is that it’s cheap and easy to find. In addition, packing tape works well for laminating labels, name tags, business cards, and other smaller items.
Where To Buy Laminating Pouches Near Me?
You can find laminating pouches in stores that carry office supplies or order them online from national brands that sell pretty much anything. The best places to buy laminating pouches include:
- OfficeMax/Office Depot
Prices will vary from place to place. For example, Amazon sells them for about $22 for a 25 pack, while Walmart sells a letter-size pack of 10 for about $7.
Walmart has many 24-hour supercenters open for late-night emergency projects.
See our guide on Walmart return hours.
What Sizes Do Laminating Sheets Come In?
Laminating sheets come in many different sizes. The sizes can be for laminating smaller items like business cards to standard documents to 24″ x 36″ for large photographs. Common laminating sheets come in the following sizes:
- 8.5 x 11
- 11 x 17
- 8.5 x 14
- 12 x 18
- 24 x 36
- 18 x 24
- 9 x 12
- 12 x 12
Laminating sheets can be cut and customized to fit the exact size of your item. Customization is usually done after the lamination process is completed and the paper has cooled. When cutting around the document, make sure to leave enough lamination edge to protect the document and not break the seal.
Where to Buy Cheap Laminating Sheets Near Me?
You can buy cheap laminating sheets nearby at most stores that sell office supplies. You can also get cheap lamination services from online retailers that carry office supplies or national retailers that sell almost anything.
Places to buy cheap laminating sheets nearby or online include:
- Best Buy
- Dollar Tree
- Hobby Lobby
- Joann Fabrics
- Office Depot
You can save more money by visiting our best online coupon sites guide.
Best Place To Buy Laminating Sheets in Bulk?
One of the great frugal living tips of all time is to carry a cheap grocery list to a discount store and buy items in bulk to slash the unit cost per item. That also applies to reducing your laminating costs too.
For schools, workplaces, and businesses that laminate multiple documents per day, the savings can quickly add up. You may end up saving up to $10,000 a year.
The best places to buy laminating sheets in bulk include:
- Costco: You can buy a pack of 400 sheets consisting of a wide variety of sizes, from ID cards to letter-size photos and documents, for $39.99 only! A 250-count of 3mil 9″ x 11.5″ costs around $33 at Costco.
- Sam’s Club: A 200 pack of letter-size laminating sheets costs about $20 at Sam’s Club, while a 100 pack comes in at around $15. Most items come with free shipping.
- Dollarama: A case of 12 letter size self-adhesive laminating sheets costs around $30 with free shipping at Dollarama.
Costco and Sam’s Club stores also accept EBT cards for SNAP-eligible items. While you can’t use your EBT card to pay for laminating pouches, you can buy protein bars and powder and bagged ice.
Where’s the Best Place for Large Format Laminating?
Office Depot is the best place to get large format laminating. It offers same-day service on large format laminating for posters. There are around 1,400 locations throughout the US that offer laminating services in-store.
The UPS Store also offers large format printing and finishing.
Where to Get Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card Laminated?
If you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccination card, you should take steps to keep it safe and protected. You can get your COVID-19 vaccination card laminated at any store that offers lamination services.
But if you want your COVID-19 vaccination card laminated for free, look for a nearby Office Depot. During this writing, Office Depot is offering free COVID-19 vaccination card laminating services. The office supply store has about 1,400 across the US.
Can you Laminate your Birth Certificate?
No, you can’t laminate your birth certificate and use it as proof of identity. While laminating your birth certificate may seem like the best way to keep it safe, it isn’t a good idea. Birth certificates are printed on special paper where county governments put additional security and authentication features like raised embossed stamps or other unique marks to make them hard to counterfeit.
Once you take a birth certificate through the lamination process, the authentication features can possibly disappear. You won’t be able to use it as a valid official document to prove your identity after its altered. Government agencies and private organizations may view it as an invalid birth certificate and refuse to use it as proof of identity or citizenship.
The best way to protect your birth certificate is to use a plastic sleeve.
Can I Laminate My Social Security Card?
No, it’s not advisable to laminate your social security card. Your social security card is printed with special features that help validate the card. However, once laminated, the authentication marks become hard to detect. As a result, your card may be considered a well-designed counterfeit by a court, government agencies, and private organizations.
Although some manage to use laminated IDs and social security cards, and nobody cares, don’t go that route. To protect your cards, use plastic sleeves to keep them in good shape and visible at the same time.
Can I Laminate My Medicare Card?
Yes, you can laminate your Medicare card, but it’s not advised because it may hinder the detection of security features printed on the card. The Social Security Administration also advises against laminating your Medicare card.
To avoid trouble, you’re better off using a plastic ID card holder sleeve to keep your card clean and in good shape. You can also carry a photograph of the card in your phone or wallet to reduce overhandling of the original.
Can I Laminate My Driver’s License?
No, you can’t laminate your driver’s license or passport, but you can use a plastic sleeve. Unfortunately, the magnetic stripe at the back of the card becomes unreadable if you laminate your driver’s license. Thus, it won’t work.
It can also get torn in the laminations process and become invalid. Use a plastic sleeve for your driver’s license is the best way to protect it.
Can I Laminate My Temporary Driver’s License?
No, you can’t laminate your driver’s permit, but you can use a plastic sleeve. However, just like a driver’s license, laminating your temporary permit renders it hard to authenticate, hence invalid.
Use a plastic ID card sleeve to protect your driver’s permit instead of laminating it.
Are Laminating Sheets Waterproof?
Yes, laminating sheets are waterproof as long as they’re properly sealed to prevent water from seeping in from the sides. Water can damage the document if not sealed properly. So always make sure your laminated documents don’t have openings on the edges.
However, laminating is not dry erase. So don’t use dry erase markers on them. Once the mark is dry on the laminate surface, it doesn’t come off.
How To Save Money Laminating Stuff?
There are various ways you can save money laminating stuff, including:
- Buy a used laminator: You can save up to 50% off the original price. It’s a good option when undertaking multiple laminating projects. Otherwise, visit the nearest FedEx or UPS location if you just want to laminate a few standard-sized documents.
- Schools: Take advantage of free laminating machines for teachers and faculty at school. Many libraries also have laminating machines that students can use at a low cost. Checkout teacher supply stores for rates as low as $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot. They are one of the best places to get teacher discounts and perks.
- Laminating promotions: Check specials and promotions at office supply stores. Many coupons are also available for stores like FedEx, Office Max, UPS store, and other office supply stores.
- Store cards: Office supply stores offer discounts to their members. FedEx has a discounted rate of $2.55 per square foot for members instead of $3.
- Print & laminate in bulk: Bulk discounts, like free shipping, are usually available on orders of $50 and above.
What’s the Difference Between Hot vs. Cold Lamination?
Hot laminating uses an adhesive that activates when the laminating film is run through a hot-roller laminator. Cold laminating uses a more aggressive adhesive that activates when pressure is applied on the laminating films.
The difference between hot vs. cold lamination is that hot lamination requires heat to activate the adhesive, while cold lamination works with pressure.
How To Laminate with an Iron?
Laminating DIY is also a great way to save money if you’re willing to trade your time for money. You can laminate using an iron, a t-shirt, and laminating pouches.
Simply place the item inside the laminating pouch and then place the pouch inside the t-shirt. Next, turn the iron to the cotton setting and press firmly for 30 seconds over the pouch. Then let it cool and remove. Tadah!
Watch this video on how to laminate with an iron:
Can You Laminate Fabric?
Yes, you can laminate fabric. The easiest type of fabric to laminate is cotton, but you can also laminate other types of fabric.
Here’s a video on how to laminate fabric:
Can You Laminate Sticker Paper?
Yes, you can laminate sticker paper by purchasing single-sided clear laminating sheets. First, cut out the laminate according to decal size. Then peel off the backing sheet to expose the sticky side and place it over the top of the sticker as flat as possible to prevent air bubbles from popping up.
If you see some air bubbles, they’ll go away in a few days, but you can also squeeze them out using a piece of cloth or credit card.
What are DIY Laminator Tips?
You can laminate your documents at home without a machine. Here are some laminating DIY tips without a machine:
- Use Self-adhesive laminating – They cost around 30 cents each
- Thermal laminating without a laminator pouch – You don’t need a machine; use an iron
- Clear packing tape – Use cheap transparent carton sealing tape that you can buy at most retailers
- Use synthetic paper – It makes your document waterproof, sturdy, and torn-free for everyday handling; it doesn’t require a machine.
Watch this video to learn all the DIY laminator tips at home:
Laminating Services Near Me Summary
Laminating photos, artwork, IDs, awards, and many other paper-based documents can significantly extend their existence. It will protect them from spills, dust, dirt, rips, and other elements of nature that can tear or damage them.
FedEx Office, UPS Store, Staples, Office Depot, and Minuteman Press are the best places to get cheap laminating services near me for few documents. The cost varies from place to place, but you can expect to pay $1-$3 per square foot.
You can also purchase a Scotch Laminator to laminate your documents at home. It’s the most sensible and cost-effective option for schools and workplaces that have multiple daily laminating projects. Laminating without a machine is also possible by using self-sealing laminating sheets, transparent carton sealing tape, thermal with an iron, and synthetic paper.
That said, not all documents can be laminated. Avoid sensitive documents like driver’s licenses, social security cards, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and permits that carry unique security and authentication features. Doing so can render them invalid as an official document.