If you are pretty conversant with the printing industry, you should have heard of the Heat Press. A heat press is basically a machine that has been engineered to imprint designs or graphics on several items, like t-shirts, fabrics, etc. It is a pervasive device found in many printing establishments.
Heat Press involves the application of heat and pressure for a specific period to imprint a design on a substrate. It can be likened to a pressing iron, but bigger and better. A pressing iron can also be used to imprint designs on fabrics but not as easy as it will be done on a heat press.
Some presses have been designed to imprint designs on plates, mugs, jigsaw puzzles, caps, and other items. However, the most common heat presses are used to imprint designs on fabrics.
The applications of heat presses are vast, and new applications are being discovered every day. Did you even know that you can use heat presses to laminate? I bet you didn’t. Well, you do know that now. Heat presses can be used to make laminates that would be as durable and professional as those done with laminating machines.
If you already own a heat press, you don’t need to get a laminating machine before you can be able to laminate. Your heat press will do the job to your taste and even more. However, it requires a bit of knowledge and skill.
Don’t worry about that; I will show you how you can laminate with your heat press in a few steps. Once you follow all these steps carefully, you should not encounter any glitches as you laminate. The most important thing is to have your heat press in good condition.
How To Laminate With Heat Press
Do you lack a laminating machine and need a suitable alternative urgently? If you have a heat press, you are all good to go. Get your heat press-ready and follow the procedure below to start laminating.
The first step is to turn on your heat-press and set the temperature. This is where you have to be highly attentive and careful. Most laminators operate at a laminating temperature in the range of 220°C to 300°C. Therefore, it is crucial that you set the temperature of your heat press to fall under this range.
Usually, I will advise that you start from the lowest temperature and see if the temperature is enough to laminate your document, but it might take some time. So, you can set the temperature of the heat press depending on the thickness of the laminating pouch you will be using.
For example, the three mil thick laminating pouch will work at a temperature of around 230 degrees. The five mils should work at a temperature of about 250 degrees. Seven mil laminating pouches might take up to 270 degrees to activate their adhesives.
You can choose to set your temperature depending on this to save time for other things. However, it could be risky if you are unsure of the laminating pouch’s thickness. If you end up using a temperature that is too much for the laminating pouch, you might end up ruining it with the paper in it.
So, it is relatively safer to begin the process with a low temperature, and you can increase along the line to find the exact temperature that works best with it. This is not time-conscious but will save time for you when you figure out the right laminating temperature.
After turning on your heat-press and setting the temperature, you should prepare your document. You should already have laminating pouches in place to place your documents. Depending on the size of the documents you are laminating, you can also choose to cut your laminating pouches before placing them under the heat press.
To save time if you are laminating small items, I will advise that you arrange them in a single laminating pouch and place it under the heat press. After laminating, you can then cut each item out with scissors. Trust me; this will save you a lot of time and laminating pouches.
After arranging your document(s) in the pouch, you do not just place it directly under the heat press. The heat press has two-faced that are both made of iron, and it would not be nice if they kept touching each other frequently. You should get Teflon sheets and white papers that you won’t be needing anymore.
On the Heat press surface that is facing up, place the Teflon sheet directly on it. After that, you should place a white paper on the Teflon sheet. Now you can put your laminating pouch on the white sheet. Before closing the heat press, you should do something else.
Place another white paper on the laminating pouch and put a Teflon sheet on it before closing the press. In this way, your laminating pouch containing the document is protected on both faces of the heat press. Now, you can slowly close the heat press.
I would not advise that you apply too much pressure on the heat press when you close it. What most laminating sheets need is heat to help activate their adhesives. Even laminators do not involve too much pressure, majorly heat. So, you should close the heat press without applying tremendous pressure.
However, if the document you are laminating is very thick and you are also using a thick laminating film, you might want to apply a bit of pressure to it. If you don’t apply enough pressure, the laminating pouches will not seal up. So what next after closing the heat press? Let’s find out.
Remember I said that heat press also involves timing. The timing you give your documents will also depend on their thickness. I would not advise a maximum of ten seconds when using a heat press. When you close it for ten seconds, open it up and check if your document is laminated correctly.
If your document is not well laminated, you should close the press again and repeat the same process until it is done. When the first face is well laminated, you can turn it over to do the same thing for the other side of your laminating pouch; this will ensure that the pouch is well laminated on both sides.
When you are done with that, bring out your laminating pouch from the heat press and use scissors to trim the size. Ensure you are consistent with the cutting, so the laminate remains smooth. If you laminated multiple items, you should cut each one out and trim their edges.
Laminating with a heat press also proves that there are several ways to laminate without a laminating machine. You can also use a pressing iron instead of a heat press. However, if you are laminating in bulk, please use a heat press.