I love my laminator. I also love trying new things with it. There is nothing more fun than trying out a new idea.
One day I’d seen some pictures on Pinterest of nice laminated fall leaves. I thought, what similar things could one laminate like that?
That sounded like a good idea. But instead of reading online about how one should do such a thing, I decided just to give it a go.
I just picked some flowers and sent them through the laminator. It turns out that was a bad idea. In retrospect, it is very obvious.
They were still all fresh and wet and steamed on their way through and made sizzling noises. They came out looking gross and had a bunch of liquid in there.
Yet for some reason, I sent a few more through. And these ones made sizzling noises too. And steamed. And started to smell burnt. But they did not start to come out of the other side of my laminator.
Worse, I had used only a partial laminator sheet so I didn’t have any of it sticking out so I couldn’t pull the thing back out. All I could do was unplug it and listen to it continue to sizzle.
(That’s actually a normally a great hack for laminating small things: just cut a laminating sheet to slightly larger than what you want to laminate and don’t waste the whole thing. You just want to be careful that the front and back pieces are the same size and carefully aligned.)
I figured that the sheet must have gotten wrapped around one of the rollers. I assumed that it would be completely melted to it and fused to itself. I even got a little excited thinking I would have the perfect reason to upgrade to a better laminator. (Like maybe this one that is 12 inches wide verses the 9 inch one I have.)
But then I decided I had to at least try taking it apart and seeing what it looked like inside and if I could salvage it.
It turned out that while the sheet was wrapped around one of the rollers, it was not melted and fused to itself. It pulled right off. It did permanently want to be rolled up after that, but my goal was to save the laminator not my failed project.
It turns out that laminating sheets are actually designed so that the inside will melt and fuse to another sheet but the outside does not.
Here’s a few more pictures if you’re curious about what the inside of a laminator looks like. They’re actually ridiculously simple: just a couple of rollers and heating elements. (The orange here is the rollers.)
And a little motor to drive the rollers.
My process for getting the sheet out involved unscrewing the case and also undoing a couple of the screws on the ends that hold the rollers in place so I could take one of the rollers out. The whole thing took just a couple of minutes.
I also later made successful laminated flower coasters and bookmarks that came out really cool! Here’s a picture of a few of the bookmarks.