8 Great Uses for Your Laminating Machine

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Many homeschool moms can’t imagine life without a laminating machine. I’m not one of them. I think I would have been one of those moms if I’d had my laminating machine when my kids were younger, but I didn’t get mine until a couple of years ago, when my youngest was already 11 or so.

My mom got me a  Scotch Thermal Laminator a couple of Christmases ago after I mentioned to her that Amazon had a great deal on it. (Pay attention because they seem to offer it at a super-low price every year around this time.) While I don’t use it all the time, I have really appreciated having it and have found lots of uses for it – and thought of others I would have loved having it for years ago.

8 practical ideas for getting the most from your laminating machine.

So, are you ready? Here are my 8 great uses for a laminating machine:

1. Checklists

To keep my ADD kids on track and to try to find that balance between my idea of clean and theirs, I’ve made the kids cleaning lists – one for their rooms and one for the bathroom (about which I’m much pickier since it’s a paid job). Since I have no desire to waste my ink, paper, and time reprinting checklists each week, I printed one copy of the room cleaning checklist for each kid and one master copy of the bathroom cleaning checklist and laminated them.

2. Chore cards

Back when we used our chore chart, which was only retired in the last year or so, I had laminated chore cards. I used the self-sealing laminating sheets, but I’d have loved a heat laminator for them.

chore cards

3. Flat travelers

When we used to participate in flat travelers, I would take full-length photos of the kids, then print and laminate them. It was so much fun to see their actual images, rather than paper dolls they’d decorated, in photos of the places they visited virtually.

4. Bookmarks

My in-laws liked the kids’ flat travelers so much that they asked us to make them some to use as bookmarks. We liked this idea so much that we made several personalized bookmarks – and not just photos of the kids, but a variety of different things they liked.

5. A weekly menu

I used to type out my menu each week and print it off to hang on the fridge, but recently, in order to save on paper and ink, I printed off a blank copy and laminated it. I fill it in by hand using a Sharpie. The Sharpie doesn’t smudge and you can use rubbing alcohol or dry erase board cleaner (which, of course, is just diluted rubbing alcohol) to wipe it off.

You can also write over the Sharpie with a dry erase marker and wipe it off. Then, use dry erase board cleaner to remove any residual Sharpie. That works on white boards, too. Ask me how I know about Sharpie makers on dry erase boards.

I also just ordered myself a set of wet erase markers, which are a little easier to wipe off than Sharpie, but not so easy that I have to worry about my menu being accidentally erased.

IMG_0785

6. Bingo boards

When my kids were little, we used to use homemade bingo cards for all kinds of hands-on learning games. Just typing that makes me realize that we could and should still be using them. They’re a great – and fun – way to review all sorts of topics.

7. Reproducible pages

If there are reproducible pages that you’re going to use over and over, it’s a great idea to laminate them. Not only does it make them last longer, but then the kids can use dry or wet erase markers on them. When they’re done, you can just wipe them off instead of reprinting them.

That would have been a great way to reuse graph paper for lattice multiplication when Brianna was younger, too.

8. Play money

We used to have some play money that the kids loved to play with, but it wasn’t long until the paper money had seen its better days. If I’d had a laminator back then, I’d have put it to good use on that money.

I’m sure there are dozens of uses for a laminator that I’m forgetting or just not thinking about. Do you have one? What uses have you found for it?

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

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14 Comments

  1. I LOVE laminating!!! I print out free posters and games from Teachers Pay Teachers, and laminate those! I have laminated all of the cards from all levels we have used for AAS/AAR. I found a fabulous deal on Abeka math flash cards (all 4 sets –cheap!), and did those as well! Anything I want to last more then 1 school year 🙂 plus, we have 2 autistic sons, so I have made an laminated PECS, daily schedules, feelings chart, etc…..

  2. I used clear contact paper for “laminating,” but I hear that a lot of homeschooling moms have laminators. I can imagine it is a bit faster (and requires less exactness) to use a laminator, so I am wondering if I should switch over. How much would I be spending to buy a laminator and pouches/pages on a regular basis?

    1. I’d suggest checking the prices on Amazon. It’s usually around this time of year that they offer a really good price on the laminator.

  3. I love to laminate things. I found it very useful to laminate my kids Lego books. I three hole punch them and put them in a binder so they never rip the pages and can go back and build whenever they want. Get post and ideas for laminating.

  4. When one of my toddlers end up adoring a book I will take it apart and laminate it then use the large metal rings to keep it together. Saves me from having to purchase the book over and over again.

    I make word cards and laminate them so the older ones can “play” making sentences/stories using them.

    For the recipes that we use all the time I will print them and then laminate them so its less likely they will get ruined and I have to print them over and over again.

    My husband has to carry the numbers for all the people he is in charge of.. He use to print off a list several times a month. I made a pocket size list and laminated it. It was well received and Ive ended up doing it for several other people he works with. So much easier than keeping a full sheet of paper on him all the time that would end up falling apart/getting ruined.

    On the same vein as the one above, I have an “in case of emergency” card laminated in my wallet. We live a good 11 hour drive from our nearest family so I have a local contact as well as a family contact on the card.

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