Why Does My Laminator Curl

Everybody wants a perfectly bonded material or document whenever they use the laminator. While laminating can protect your material for a much longer period of time to prevent it from being defaced or ruined, it also helps to keep your material clean, beautiful and highly presentable.

 Laminating is all about getting two materials to bond together.  If your contact points are not properly managed, air bubbles will likely be strapped in the middle. Also, if the tension and substrates are not properly managed, the material will curl or scroll up.

Curling happens when you unroll an image or document and it rolls itself back up again. A little bit of this is quite okay but if this continues after you have tried smoothening it, it’s safe to say that there’s a problem. 

Why does my laminator curl?

Curling is a very common problem people encounter when using the laminator. This happens when one side of an encapsulated image changes size out of proportion to the other side, causing the print to curl to the other side. Below are reasons why your laminator may occasionally curl.

Type of material

The type of material you use is one of the reasons why curling happens when you laminate. 

This happens if you put a heavy laminate on the top side and something thinner on the back but forgets to adjust the tension to allow for the different dimensions of stability for both sides’ type of film. That is,  if the same heat is applied to both, the bottom will likely stretch more than the top since it’s thinner. As it cools, the bottom will tighten more than the top because it was stretched more thereby causing the image to curl.

 If the material at the top differs from the one at the bottom especially when you apply the same heat to both, it will most likely result in a part of your image or document curling.


Fixing this problem is very simple. You have to check the type of material or texture of the material to ensure they are the same. If they are the same, you can use the same level of heat for both of them as there is not much need to regulate it. However, if the material at the top differs from the one at the bottom, you’ll definitely have to regulate it as one will require more heat than the other. Regulating it will prevent one from being more overstretched than the other. Confirming the texture of the material you want to laminate is a good way to avoid curling. 

Film tension

 The film tension is another possible reason why your material or image is curling. If there’s too much tension or break being applied to the film when you are trying to laminate your picture, there will be excessive heat which will likely result In your picture curling. Many people who complain of their laminate curling usually find out that the problem is from their film tension. If the picture curls upward, the film tension at the top will likely be the problem while if it curls downwards, then we can the tension down might be responsible for this.


This is one of the easiest things for you to fix in your laminator. When you notice your film curling, all you need to do is remove the tension applied to the film. Some people insist on having an amount of tension applied to the film when curling in order to ensure it sticks and gives a neat work, it is however important to point out that the reducing the tension on the film is one of the most certain ways to stop the curling of your film or image.

There are a lot of questions people have when it comes to laminators and their laminates. Below are some frequently asked questions you might have about your laminate or laminators

How to correct a filmed laminate

If your laminate or poster is already curled due to excessive heat or too much tension, you might be wondering how you can go about to correct this problem. Below are the following ways to which you can correct a curl film or image.

  1. Roll the poster or film unto a flat surface such as a table.
  2. Place a tower or bedsheet over the poster or film
  3.  Spray the towel or sheet lightly with water until it is slightly damp, not wet. This will help in circulating the heat and at the same time prevent the film from being ruined.
  4. Use the lowest possible heat setting on your iron and try to iron the film or image through the sheet.

Can you laminate something that has already been laminated?

If you want to laminate an object twice because you want it to be extra thick, it is very much possible. You can laminate an object that has already been laminated before. However, it is advisable to use thicker laminating paper instead as this will be enough to do the job without you having to laminate twice. If an old object has been laminated before and is now peeling,  you can send it through the laminator again.

Can lamination be removed?

Removal of lamination from an object or document is usually called delamination. This is usually done with a combination of heat and cutting. However, it is advisable for you to consider several factors before beginning the process. Factors like the time it was laminator, the thickness etc. It is easier to remove older plastics if the seal has started to wear. It will be quite tough however if the seal or plastic is fused.

Can I laminate plastic?

A laminator can be seen as a machine that glues a plastic film on both sides of an object, usually a poster, picture or paper. While most machines use heat to laminate the objects, some other machines use cold temperatures. Machines like these are not common but very effective. If you are using an industrial laminator, it is very much possible for you to laminate a plastic depending on the level of film tension you apply to the object. 

What causes wrinkles during lamination

Your film will wrinkle if there isn’t enough supply roll tension. Every laminator needs some level of resistance in the unwinding of the supply roll so that the film is flattened as it goes into the laminating rollers. If your film is thicker, you’ll probably need more tension. However, if your film is thinner, you’ll need a lesser tension. Also, keep the temperature at a normal level to avoid wrinkling. The moisture content on the printed substrates must be kept at the lowest.

In conclusion,  laminating can be a delicate, straightforward and exciting process with some of the process flawed that can affect the final look of the laminating print. One of the flaws could be curling Which is very common among laminating prints. When this happens, it’s nothing to worry about as a quick adjustment to the film tension is good enough to stop the curling and give you the perfect outcome you desire.

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