DIY: How to Laminate Fabric!

Laminated fabrics are all the rage lately, and I love them for so many reasons. They are water-resistant, durable, and of course…shiny! Of course, they are a specialty item, and not every fabric that you love comes in a laminated version. So, what do you do?

Laminate your own fabric!

Lately, I’ve been taking this personalization a bit further, by designing my own fabric, and then laminating it- but that’s another blog post!

Here is some photo-guided instruction for how to laminate your own fabric…the sky’s the limit!  Read the whole thing before doing it yourself, there are some tips at the end!

Here’s what you need!

Step 1: Cut the vinyl to the size you need- it likes to curl, so you’ll need to use a weight.   I used “Heat ‘n Bond Iron-on Vinyl”- it comes in a 2 yard roll.

Step 2: Peel it! Lay your fabric-to-be-laminated on your ironing board  (of course, it’s easier to laminate a small piece of fabric- but these rulse apply for larger pieces too!)  Peel off the paper backing from the vinyl.

Step 3: Apply it! Smooth the vinyl onto the fabric, sticky side down.  Do this carefully and patiently.  If you get a bubble, simply lift the vinyl off gently and re-apply.  It’s best to get it right the first time, though.

Step 4: Fuse It!  Use the paper backing as a protective shield between your iron and the vinyl.  I also put a Teflon Pressing Sheet underneath my project so that I don’t laminate my ironing board.  Place your iron on the paper/vinyl/fabric/teflon sandwich in sections for 8 seconds at a time- if you have a press, this is A LOT easier.

Step 5:  Fuse It Again!  Turn your project over to the other side, so that the “wrong side” of the fabric is facing upward.  Once again, use the paper backing as a shield, and press in sections, this time for 4 seconds at a time.

VOILA!  You have a piece of laminated fabric!  Sew away!

Questions about what I wrote?  Put them in the comments, and I’ll update this post with info- thanks for reading!

Laminating FAQ:

What is a Teflon Pressing Sheet?  Well, first of all- IT’S MAGIC!  If you don’t have one, get one right now!  They are super heat resistant and easy to clean, plus they are reusable forever and ever.  They are wonderful for protecting your iron from glues that are on fusible stabilizers and interfacings…as well as anything else that ends up in your ironing area.  A Teflon Pressing Sheet does conduct heat, so be careful when handling one that you just pressed.  Oh, and if you’re getting one, just get two while you’re at it- then you can make a “teflon sandwich” to protect both your ironing board and your iron.  Oh, and to answer the question….It’s a pressing sheet made from Teflon.

Do I use steam when laminating fabric? No.  I think some manufacturers recommend removing water from your iron.  I did not- I just refrained from pressing the “steam button”

What if I threw my paper backing away?  Well, you didn’t read the whole blog post, or you got here a little late in the game.  Have no fear!  You can use another Teflon Pressing Sheet as your ironing shield or even a piece of smooth, heat-tolerant fabric.  Just make sure it’s flat and smooth, and that it can withstand the heat of your iron.

What if I got laminating-stuff on my iron?  You, my friend, need some iron cleaner.  Here’s how to rid your iron of jazz that should not be on it.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. anything special for sewing the vinyl; needle, thread

    • Glenna,
      I think I’m going to do a whole blog post on just that question!

      For now, think: Teflon presser foot, microtex needle, and a serger can be great for finishing edges on home-laminated fabric!

      Mallory

  2. Thanks so much for doing this blog post. I have been wanting to do this but was unsure about how. I didn’t know you sold this. How much is it?
    Thanks!!

  3. I thank you for the tutorial (oliso sent me here) i am not new to sewimg just new to the
    laminated fabric (i have three large pieces a patternand it is still on my to do list) do you have some project ideas? I will wait for the how to sew blog

    • Nikki,
      We love the fabric for diaper bags, tote bags, lunch bags, and anything that you want to clean easily. Click on the links in the post to be directed to a place where you can purchase the vinyl. We’re working on several more posts and videos about the vinyl, so subscribe to our posts for the latest news!
      Mallory

  4. Lori Martin says:

    Mallory, how durable are the commercially made laminated fabrics? Do they scuff or puncture easily? thanks for the blog and the videos – I really enjoy them.

    • Lori, there are different weights of laminated fabric on the market. The product we show in this video allows you to create your own! Laminated fabrics combine the waterproof property of vinyl with the strength and flexibility of woven fabrics- so they don’t scuff or puncture any worse than your normal fabrics.

  5. Thank you for posting this helpful tutorial! I am interested in laminating fabric to use on my dining chairs (so my children don’t ruin the fabric!). Do you think your tutorial will work for my project? Thanks!

    • Anne,

      That’s an excellent question. I think the answer depends on a few things!
      First: calculate out how much fabric you’ll need to laminate. We sell the Heat N Bond Vinyl for about $12 for 2yds (17″ wide). That’s a pretty typical price.
      http://www.buysewingthread.com/products/heat-n-bond-iron-on-vinyl

      Second: Have you found any fabric that is already laminated that you like and would use on your cushions? If so, compare the cost of the two routes.

      Third: If you really want customized laminated fabric for your chairs, I think this is the answer. Perhaps you have a fabric that you’ve already used in the decor of the room- this might be the only way to get your perfect match.

      You may want a little help unrolling the vinyl and placing it on large areas of fabric. Check out this video where Zede and I laminate fabric using a press- it’s great for larger areas.
      http://www.sewhere.com/sewing-and-embroidery-how-to/inside-zedes-sewing-studio-how-to-laminate-fabric-and-how-machine-embroidered-applique-works/

      Finally, if your question is truly about the durability of this fabric. I’ve been using and abusing a little bag for my techie supplies for about a month now, and no bubbles or unusual wear have shown up on the bag. I think it’s a good solution for chairs and other things that you want to clean easily.

      Please let us know how your project goes! Good luck and Happy Sewing!

  6. Hi Mallory, Thanks for the inspiration. Do you know if it’s possible to buy different thicknesses of the vinyl so that you can make stiffer items such as laminated aprons? Many thanks, Jo

  7. Do you know if this will hold up in the wash? I use PUL typically for cloth diapers and i’m wondering if this would work as an alternative?

  8. Is that paper or fabric in the picture above?

  9. Thanks for this tutorial. I have one complaint though – you can’t go mentioning that you design your own lovely fabrics and then not tell us how…

    Did you cover this anywhere else on your blog? My sons fold-up-able changing mat that fits lovely in his changing box (and was an eBay jobby so I don’t know where I can buy a replacement) has gone brittle and started to split so it would be great if I could customise some fabric and laminate it as a base for making him a new one.

    Also, are there any major advantages to laminated fabrics over oilcloth?

  10. I’m assuming iron on vinyl is made from PVC? I’m hoping to find a PVC/BPA free option, but the packaging for the product you listed doesnt seem to specify. I know there are laminated cottons out there that are PVC/BPA free (thinking of the Amy Butler stuff specifically), but I’m thinking of finding a fabric with money printed on it, like maybe a quilting fabric, that I can laminate and cut out into safe, durable play money. Do you think your method would hold up over time? I wonder if the edges would fray or the vinyl layer would peel off. do you think it would need to be hemmed/surged on the edges? Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Can I laminate both sides of the fabric? I want to laminate a placemat for my dog’s food bowl, and laminating both sides would keep it clean. Thanks.

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