A “How To” by Bryan Schmitt of Mobile
The question we hear most often about this stuff is “what
the heck is laminating film?” Laminating film is one of the “tricks
of the trade” used in getting logos or system designs into
your installations. In this month’s “How To” section
you will learn how to laminate a printed graphic to a piece of
acrylic. There are many uses for this technique, for example you
can affix your store name or logo to a custom amp rack or sub enclosure.
You can really laminate just about anything that needs identity
and that can be printed on a basic ink-jet style printer. Laminating
as we demonstrate it here is an essential component to creating
brand awareness for your shop!
Our laminating film is an optically clear film that is sticky
on both sides, though you’d never know it while looking through
it. The film simply appears similar to a transparency like those
used on overhead projectors but the film backing peels off. This
allows adhesion to a clear substrate (such as acrylic) so that
your logo appears “cast” in the plastic. You want to
prepare (cut, shape, polish) the acrylic prior to laminating because
that will be the last step. We thoroughly demonstrate this film
and the many uses for it in our Advanced Fabrication training.
- Self healing cutting pad
- Printed graphic on standard (porous) paper
- Polished and finished acrylic insert
- Laminating film
- Olfa type razor knife
- Hard card squeegee or body filler spreader
- Water based plastic cleaner
- Paper towels
||Since the laminating film is clear on both sides,
the logo appears “cast” in the plastic once it’s
attached to the clear acrylic. This process is demonstrated
during our Advanced Fabrication training sessions. It’s
an essential component to creating brand awareness for your
Here’s what you need to
1. A printed graphic from any ink-jet style printer.
This should be printed on a porous paper because photo paper
and other papers with glossy coating do not work as well.
2. The clear acrylic will serve as the lens. It should be
smooth, flat, and free of dirt, pits or scratches.
3. The laminating film itself is a double-sided optically
clear adhesive film.
4. A razor knife, squeegee, and plastic cleaner are also
both sides of the acrylic with water based cleaner. Note:
The surface below the acrylic is self-healing cutting pad!
Cut a piece of laminating film that is a little
larger than the acrylic part. Peel off one side of the
protective backing to expose the adhesive side.
cleaner on the adhesive side of the film and on the acrylic
part. The cleaner will “float” the adhesive film
above the acrylic until the air bubbles can be pressed out.
To apply the laminating film, gently bend
the film so that the center makes contact first, then lay
the outer edges down next.
Applying the film this way will help eliminate
large air bubbles.
Use the soft edge of a squeegee to press
out any air bubbles. Note: Starting from the center will
yield the best results
Turn the part over so the laminating
film is face down on a cutting surface. Use a sharp razor knife
to trim the excess film around the part.
Turn the part back over and dry
off any excess cleaner. Once dry, peel the other side of the protective
backing off to expose the adhesive.
Carefully position the adhesive
backed acrylic above your printed material. Press the acrylic down
on to the print to adhere the acrylic to the print. Flip the part
over so the paper side is up. Use the hard edge of a Bondo spreader
to press out any air bubbles
Flip the part over once more and
use a sharp razor knife to trim the excess material off.
Self healing cutting pad
Olfa type razor knife
Hard card squeegee or body filler spreader
Water based plastic cleaner