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How To Laminate Your Own Photos At Home:
How To Laminate Your Own Photos At Home:
My Wide Format Printing class at Pratt Institute had a great opportunity to visit my professor Ken Taranto at his print studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY. Professor Taranto demonstrated lamination, encapsulation, mounting, plexiglas face mounting, how to make placemats and apply the techniques to our photographs. [You can Contact Ken Taranto at Phone #: 212-691-6070. Email: [email protected]]
I tested out two copies of the same image made as inkjet prints scanned from a black and white negative. One scan was made using a fluid mounting “wet” technique on an Epson V750 scanner. The other was a “dry” scan made on a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED Scanner.
I made two Placemats which I am going to share with you.
Laminating Placemats ~
The Placemat is encapsulated between two pieces of adhesive backed Vinyl Films.
For my TOP Vinyl Film, I didn’t want a shiny look so I chose Seal Print Guard Satin Matte, a 3 mil Vinyl Film with a semi-matte surface. I guess you can call it a pearl surface as well.
I left some excess on the edges of my Photographs for trimming after the Laminating process.
The BOTTOM Vinyl Film is a thicker 5 mil glossy Vinyl Film because it adds rigidity to the Placemat and is easy to wipe clean.
Laminating Placemats By Machine ~
Both Top and Bottom Vinyl Film have one adhesive side each, but require low temperature to apply them. Vinyl Films that require low temperature (175-200 degrees) are more suitable for archiving and protecting inkjet prints. Higher temperatures can be harmful to inkjet prints.
The Laminator Machine is first loaded up with the two rolls of Vinyl Films.
Top Vinyl Film is loaded up in such a way so that when it wraps around the top roller the adhesive side faces down and towards the face of the Photograph.
The Bottom Glossy Vinyl Film is loaded onto the bottom roller so that the adhesive side faces up and towards the back of the Photograph.
The Photograph is fed through the first roller of the Laminator Machine at the rate of 3 feet per minuet in order to press the two Vinyl Films and the Photograph together without bubble forming.
The Photograph and Vinyl Films then passes through a second pull roller to let the films cool without curling. The second roller ensures the Placemats will lie flat.
Laminating thin pieces such as Placemats by machine is much more efficient, because it encapsulate the Vinyl Films and Photograph in one step. The Machine also applies heat at a low temperatures of 175 to 200 degrees to the Vinyl Films and Photograph as they passes through the rollers..
Laminating Placemats By Hand ~
When Laminating by hand use pressure sensitive adhesive laminating Vinyl films. (peel and stick Vinyl Films)
Both Top and Bottom Vinyl Films have one adhesive side each, but do not require temperature to apply them. They are commonly called PSA (pressured sensitive adhesives) cold laminating film because they don’t require any heat to be applied.
Step 1 ~ The Top Vinyl Film is applied first. With the Photograph face up. Peel back 1” inch of the release liner and fold it down. (that is the paper protecting the adhesive side). Then stick the adhesive side of the Vinyl Film to the top front of the Photograph. And with the side of the palms of the hands, press down and out towards each side at the same time with both hands. Keep working in this way (small portion at a time) until the bottom of the Photograph is completed. It is very important to apply strong and even pressure in order to prevent bubbles from forming.
Step 2 ~ The Bottom Vinyl Film is applied basically the same as in STEP 1.
The Bottom Vinyl Film is more likely to stretch and curl if it is thinner. So be careful to only apply just the right amount of pressure.
Step 3 ~ Place the Laminated Photograph on a flat surface, and with a T-Square trim the edges of the photograph.
If the Placemat is still curling after you are finished, try rolling it backwards (against the curl) and leave it rolled up over night.
Step 4 ~ Taking Care Of Laminated Placemats ~ To take good care of the finished Placemats: simply wipe the top and bottom with a damp cloths or sponge. Keep them away from high temperatures.
Wall Mounts With Dibond ~
Dibond is great for Wall Mounting Photographs because of its stability. The Dibond used here is, two thin sheets of aluminum sandwiched with a dense polypropalene center.. When mounting large scale Photograph, Dibond is the way to go because it is rigid, but not brittle, and doesn’t bruise or warp as easily as most other thin substrates.
A Double Sided Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Vinyl Film is needed to stick the Photograph on to the Dibond.
Step 1 ~ Cut the Dibond to the size of what the finish Photograph will be. Or buy it pre cut from FoamBoardSource.com.
Make sure to smoothly sand any rough edges and wipe clean the Dibond.
Step 2 ~ Then cut the Photograph 1/8’’ inch bigger then the Dibond all around.
Step 3 ~ Cut the Double Sided Pressure Sensitive Adhesive Vinyl Film 1/2” to 1” inch larger then the Dibond all around.
Step 4 ~ Lay the Dibond on a flat surface with the cleanest and smoothest side facing up. Then take the Double Sided Adhesive Vinyl Film and peel back 1” inch of its bottom release liner (that is the paper protecting the adhesive side). Line it up to the top edge of the Dibond, letting about 1/4 ” overhang the edges of the Dibond, and then stick it into place.
Now with the 1” inch of the top edge of the Adhesive Vinyl Film stuck to the Dibond, flip the whole thing over and trim off the excess Vinyl Adhesive with a sharp Exacto knife. ( that is the 1/4” overhang the edges of the Dibond).
Step 5 ~ After trimming the edges off the Adhesive Vinyl Film, flip the board over again so that the Adhesive Vinyl Film is facing up.
Position the Photograph on the coated board very precisely (that is the side of the Adhesive with the top release liner not yet peel back) so that the image area covers the board on all four sides. Put a weight like a phone book on the Photograph so it doesn’t shift. Now, lifting the Photograph at the top edge very gently so the it doesn’t slide on the board, peel back and fold down 1” inch of the release liner from the top side of the Adhesive on the Dibond and gently lower the Photograph against the exposed Adhesive with the center making contact first. Press the Photograph down moving outward from the center.
Step 6 ~ With the Double Sided Adhesive Vinyl Film sandwiched between the Dibond and the Photograph: using the side of the palms of the hands, press down and outwards from the center. Keep working in this way (peeling small portion at a time) until the bottom of the Photograph is completed. Make sure your hands are clean and dry and consider wearing cotton gloves to avoid scratching the surface of the photograph.
It is very important to apply pressure correctly in order to avoid bubbles or creases.
Step 7 ~ Turn the Dibond over and make sure the worktop surface is clean and smooth. A self healing cutting matte is ideal so you can use an Exacto knife to easily trim off the excess.
Step 8 ~ To Protect The Surface Of The Photograph ~ a UV Protective Spray Coat is strongly recommended.
Step 9 ~ Mounting The Photograph On The Wall ~ You have the option to frame the print and use hardware that comes with the frame or glue directly to the Dibond either cleats or a box frame made of wood or an aluminum brace.
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