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How (and Why) to Add Laminate Over Printable Vinyl (Video Tutorial)

If you are using inkjet printable vinyl sheets to print your own vinyl or create printable vinyl decals you need protect them with laminate.

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Oracal's clear laminate sheets will help protect against smearing and fading to ensure your DIY pattern vinyl and printed decals keep their color!
There are two different ways to use Oracal's Inkjet Printable Vinyl Sheets. You can use them to print and cut multi color designs that would be challenging or difficult to layer with vinyl or you can print full sheets of patterned vinyl at home.  I recommend you use the Oracal UV Laminating Film on both - it just keeps those colors from fading if water, sunlight or hands touch them over time.

 How to Add Laminate to Print and Cut Designs on Inkjet Printable Vinyl

You want to add the laminate after printing, but before cutting.

The most important thing to keep in mind with print and cut designs is you do not want to add a full sheet of laminate because you do not want to cover the registration marks. The clear laminate can cause a reflection making it difficult if not impossible for the Silhouette cutting machine to red the registration marks. Instead, you only want to add a piece of laminate large enough to cover the printed area.

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Lay the laminate down from one side and kind of roll it over the rest of the design carefully to avoid bubbles.

How to Laminate Full Sheets of Printable Vinyl

If you are printing DIY patterned vinyl at home using Oracal's Inkjet Printable Vinyl sheets, you should cover the entire sheet with the Oracal UV laminate after printing.

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This is a little more tricky because you're dealing with a large 8.5 x 11" piece of vinyl and the same size piece of laminate.  It's easy to get wrinkles and bubbles.  But if you skip this step the colors in your printable vinyl won't last - especially outdoors. 

It's important to keep in mind, the Oracal 236 laminate is a UV protection to help against fading, but the quality of the ink in your printer and the direct exposure to sunlight also has a lot to do with the long term performance of the colors - especially outdoors.

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Check out this video tutorial on how to laminate printable vinyl sheets

After you laminate you can then proceed with cutting the printable vinyl with your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait. Check out tips on cutting printable vinyl including the best Silhouette cut settings here.

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links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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  1. Hi Melissa could you use clear contact instead of laminate sheets. Will contact cut easily on the Cameo if you do want to use it. I have a big roll of clear contact but am not sure whether my Cameo will cut through it and not get clogged up with sticky stuff

    1. You might run into 2 issues with clear contact, it tends to be ever so slightly opaque so it might make your design a little hazy. Also, I'm not sure about the longevity.

  2. Hi, did you ever run into an issue of your printed vinyl ink get transferred to the clear vinyl?

    1. Hi there! I have not had that issue. Are you peeling the clear vinyl off?

  3. What cut setting would you use with putting the laminate over the printable vinyl before cutting?

    1. Hey there! Check out this blog post with the cut settings


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