I think I speak for educators everywhere when I say that laminating is both a blessing and a curse!
While it does wonders to make our teaching materials last for years, it is so incredibly time-consuming!
We all have a love/hate relationship with laminating, don’t we? And who else only has one laminator for the whole school?! How are we supposed to get anything laminated before we need it?!
All jokes aside, I’ve found ways to make laminating more efficient over my years in the classroom.
I’m sure you might have already heard of some of these tips, but I hope that others are new to you!
We can master the beast that is laminating by sharing our best practices and time-saving tips…right? So, keep reading to learn about my suggestions for you.
Laminating Tips for Classroom Teachers
I get my husband to help whenever possible. This means that I have to choose a show on Netflix that we both like, but it’s worth it!
I also sometimes send things home with parent volunteers to cut out. Only you can teach your students, but pretty much anyone can cut out laminated stuff!
Here are some supplies you need to make laminating quicker and easier:
- Two laminators: Yup, I have two! I actually have three, but one is at school. ;) I bought one when I first started teaching, and the other two were gifts/donations from classroom parents. I like the Scotch brand the best; it is much quicker than the Swingline one I have. (Here is an affiliate link from Amazon to the one I use)
- Laminating sheets: I just use the Amazon Basics brand. They are much less expensive than those found in store. I buy the 200-pack. Here is an affiliate link if you need it!
- GOOD scissors: two pairs, one for you and one for your helper ;)
- A paper cutter for straight cuts. Here is an affiliate link for the one I use.
- A GOOD hole punch: Seriously. Best money I’ve ever spent! The hole punch I have can do a few sheets of laminated card stock at a time, and it’s way, way better than doing one at a time with a cheap hole punch. This is an affiliate link for my favourite one.
|This is a Swingline laminator – the first laminator I ever bought! It does the job, but is much slower than the Scotch laminator linked above|
Double Cut… or Not?
And here is the age-old question… To double cut or not to double cut?
Some people say that you have to cut twice: once before you laminate and once after. This leaves a nice border around your resources, and they will likely last longer.
Some say that you only have to cut once, and they’ve never had a problem with the plastic splitting.
My two cents: If I use the school laminator, I always cut twice. The plastic is way thinner, and anything I cut splits apart!
With my home laminator, anything that can be cut with a paper cutter I only cut once, after it’s laminated.
I have never had a problem with things splitting if I use a paper cutter and my home laminator.
However, I have had problems with things splitting that the kids touch a lot if I only cut once and it’s a weird shape. For example, last year I cut out apples only after laminating, and half of them were split and broken by the end of the year.
So, my rule of thumb is paper cutter = cut once, scissors = cut twice.
If I have to cut twice, then I cut everything out before turning on the laminator. If I try to cut, stuff, and laminate all at the same time, it’s an inefficient hot mess. Therefore, I cut everything out first.
If I don’t have to cut first, then I turn the laminators on, and while they are heating up, I stuff as many pouches as possible.
Then, once the laminators are ready, I just keep feeding them and stuffing more pouches. One of my laminators is way faster than the other, so I rarely end up needing to load them both at once.
Only once all pouches are stuffed would I start cutting out things that are laminated. Don’t try to do too many things at once, or you’ll be slower.
Multitasking is not actually a real thing; it makes you slower at everything!
One Final Tip
One final note: If I am laminating odd-shaped things, like apples, I put a dot of glue from a glue stick on the pouch where I want it to stay. This stops it from sliding around, overlapping with something else by accident, and/or falling out.
What other laminating tips would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let me know!