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How to remove paper laminate

Updated December 14, 2018

Laminating paper is a process where you create a plastic film over an original document. The plastic is heated and moulded around the document to preserve it from water damage or scratching. Many people laminate important documents, pictures or memorabilia. There may be a time when you want to remove the laminate. This is a difficult process and rarely possible without some damage to the original document.

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  1. Place the document on the mat. Light it brightly with the lamp shining directly on the document so you can properly see the edges and seams.

  2. Examine the laminated paper. Look for a seam where the laminate plastic meets the document, creating an air pocket.

  3. Slice the laminate with the utility knife down the seam. Use the ruler to properly line the knife up and keep it in place away from the document. Slice the plastic lamination away.

  4. Pry the lamination carefully away from the document. Use the utility knife if you need to create space between the lamination and the document.

  5. Pull the lamination away slowly until it is completely removed. You may need to add heat from a heat gun set on low to soften the laminate, making it easier to remove.

  6. Warning

    Some laminate creates a film around the document while other laminate adheres to the document. If the plastic is not coming off of the document, you may not be able to remove the laminate.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board or mat
  • Utility knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Lamp
  • Heat gun

About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.

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