Applying Laminate By Hand?


New Member
We're about to get a digital printer but have no laminator yet. Is possible/OK to apply laminate by hand, at least on smaller jobs?


Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks
Define smaller jobs.... yes you can do by hand, but it's slow and time consuming. You can get the Big Squeegee that is good for one off prints. Depends on your workflow and what you do. If you print rolls and rolls of vinyl, get a laminator asap.


Yes, but for bigger things you need at least 2, sometimes 3 people. Also, cast is much more tricky, but it can be done.

I actually would suggest waiting to purchase the printer until you can afford a laminator, too. They are that important.


Active Member
We laminate small jobs all the time.(less than 18"x24") Get yourself a Big Squeegee and a piece of glass. The glass is essential to getting a nice smooth finish.


New Member
i did it for a while...Big Squeegee is a must. Laminate with a stout backer is WAYYYYY easier. craigslist a used name brand laminator...its worth it.


New Member
oracal has a super thin carrier..its a PIA. back in the day i used fdc laminate and it had a heavy paper backer and hand laminated with the big squeegee pretty well...did some 6ft long prints with good results. MUST have a good flat table too.


Premium Subscriber
Will you be capable of cutting your graphics on the same machine or will you have to cut on some existing equipment ??

While it's probably best to buy all of your essentials at the same time, to make sure they'll all work together, it's not necessary. There are plenty of things you can hand laminate by hand or even liquid laminate while you're getting your feet wet, learning the ins & outs of your printer, profiling and experimenting with media.

It's very easy for those who already have gone through the growing pains to just bark out what to do, how to do it and why to do it, without realizing..... money [or lack thereof] gets in the way. If that was the case, I'd be telling you to look into a flatbed and skip all the unnecessary media. We're all at a stage and to make a true business person out of you, you'll learn how to cope with and without certain needed ingredients and still hand over a perfect product.

Good luck on the new toy. :thumb:


New Member
FYI: Big Squeegee doesnt work with oracal/oraguard laminate.

That is BS, I have used the Big Squeegee to apply Oraguard 210 and 290 (thin backing) many times, you are NOT doing it correctly.

Watch the video and Dale will show you how to do it!


Also, here is a video of Doug mounting a 4x10 print six years ago, applying laminate is similar.


Last edited by a moderator:


New Member
FYI: Big Squeegee doesnt work with oracal/oraguard laminate.

We did 210 all the time even without the double sided tape using two people helped. The 290 optically clear was another story and had to use the tape method.

Luckily we only use the Big Squeegee to mount stuff on boards. Also as posted above you do need a good flat surface.