Laminate Without a Machine on a Tight Budget

As a mom of a preschooler, if I want any paper item to last, laminating is essential. Laminating machines are great, but the laminating pouches can be expensive. If you need to laminate, but don’t have a machine try this budget-friendly way to laminate.

The easy way to laminate paper on a budget (cheaply) without a laminating machine.

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Items needed:

  • Clear contact paper (I use Duck Peel & Stick Adhesive Laminate Shelf Liner).
  • Scissors
  • Item(s) to be laminated
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Paper cutter (optional)


The first thing to do is measure how much of the contact paper you will need. Place your item(s) to be laminated on the paper-lined side of the contact paper to determine how much to use. Cut to the desired size two times. You should now have two separate sheets of contact paper that are the same size.


Place one of your sheets paper-lined side up on a table/hard floor. Gently peel up a small piece of one corner, separating the paper liner and the sticky contact paper just a bit. Place a small piece of masking tape to hold the contact paper in place. This is totally optional, but I have found that without it things can get sticky—the paper likes to roll up on itself.

contact paper corner peeled and taped, prep to laminate
Peel and Tape One Corner
(I have added blue lines to show the edge of the contact paper because it is hard to see)


Repeat for all four sides and slowly peel the paper liner off, starting in one corner and pulling it across to the other side. The sticky side of the contact paper should now be exposed, face up.

Contact paper ready to laminate
Peel and Tape

Place Items

Next, place your item(s) to be laminated face up on the sticky side of your contact paper. Leaving just enough gaps at the edges and between items to be able to cut and have a nice border around your items. Gently press down to make sure the item(s) is secured to the paper.

To laminate, place items onto contact paper
Place Items onto Contact Paper

Prepare Second Sheet

Prepare the second sheet of contact paper the same as we did the first. With my items on the first sheet of contact paper, it won’t roll up on itself anymore so I just use the tape from my first sheet for the second sheet. You should now have one sheet of contact paper with your items stuck to it and one sheet of contact paper taped down with the sticky side exposed.

Second sheet of contact paper prepared for laminating
Prepare Second Sheet as We Did the First

Line Up and Smooth

Here comes the only tricky part of the whole process: matching up the two sheets. Pick up your first sheet of paper (the one with your items on it) and turn it upside down. Now carefully line up the two sheets of contact paper as best you can. It can be tricky because the sheets are clear. Be careful not to touch the sheets together until you have it lined up as you want. Otherwise, they will stick together and it is hard to reposition it.

Contact paper pressed together to laminate
Both Sheets Pressed Together

Press and sweep your hand across your newly laminated items from the center outward to get rid of any air bubbles. I haven’t had many issues with this, but just in case always start from the center and press outward.

Remove Tape and Cut

Finally, remove the tape and cut items out using scissors or paper cutter.

Finished laminated BINGO using contact paper
Beautifully Laminated Using Contact Paper

Congratulations! You now have newly laminated items that look amazing without using a laminating machine. Check out these adorable Alphabet BINGO printable cards from crazylittleprojects. See how we use them here. Comment below any easy laminating tips and ideas.

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