Laminating protects your pictures from dust and scratches. Getting a smoothly laminated surface can be a challenge, but there are techniques you can use to remove bubbles while laminating. Bubbles can be caused by numerous factors, such as lack of tension in the laminate, movement of the photo while laminating or moving too quickly.
Cut out the image that you intend to laminate or, if the picture is a professional print, trim the edges so that they are even and any undesired border is removed. Cut out a sheet of laminating plastic slightly larger than the picture.
Peel back the protective paper from the top inch of the laminating paper and attach the exposed laminate to the edge of a glass tabletop. A glossy wood tabletop also works. Slack in the laminating plastic will cause bubbles. Attaching it to a hard surface allows you to hold the plastic taut while pressing it over the picture.
Lay the photo onto the tabletop next to the edge of the laminate, with the laminate pulled up and away from the image. Make sure the image is precisely lined up with the laminate, because you will not be able to adjust the image once the laminate has come in contact with any part of the photo.
Peel back the paper backing another inch and slowly lay it over the bottom of the photo, smoothing it with a soft cloth as you go. Smooth the laminate going away from the edge of the table so that bubbles are pushed out into the area that hasn’t yet been laminated. Maintain tension on the laminate as you go and smooth out any bubbles as they form. Stubborn bubbles can be smoothed out using the edge of a credit card or driver’s license.
Continue peeling away the backing, laying the laminate over the photo and smoothing it out, going about an inch at a time, until you have reached the top of the photo. Press out any remaining bubbles with the cloth, and press the edge of remaining laminate down.
Trim the edges of the laminate away from the photo using a sharp utility knife. Repeat the process on the back of the photo if desired.
Do not stick the laminate onto a painted surface because it will peel off the paint.
Kristine Lofgren specializes in interior design, Web design, photography and gardening. She owns an interior design business in Salt Lake City. A graduate of Salt Lake Community College's interior design program, Lofgren is pursuing a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Utah.