Laminate film thickness is measured in mils (thousandth of an inch). The higher the mil, the thicker and more rigid the finished piece will be.
To determine the best laminating film for your project, keep in mind these few points:
How frequently will the finished piece be handled? Items that will not be handled frequently or are only needed for a temporary project can be laminated using a thinner thickness. A thicker film is needed for items that are handled frequently or will be used in a rougher environment.
Does the finished piece need to be flexible or stiff? Thin film, like 1.5 mil, allows products to retain their flexibility. Thicker films contain more plastic, resulting in a thicker finished project.
What is my machine capable of? Laminating machines handle different thicknesses of laminate film. Be sure to check the operator’s manual before trying to run a new mil of film.
Below is a list of common mil thicknesses of laminate film and examples of their common uses:
1.5 mil Laminate Film– Usually used in educational applications. Offers an economical solution as it provides a large amount of film at a lower price point. (Available in roll film)
1.7 mil Laminate Film– Offered in a professional grade film. Used on projects that must remain highly flexible, such as folding maps. (Available in roll film)
3 mil Laminate Film– An extremely popular option as this provides protection for flexible objects that are infrequently handled, such as classroom posters. (Available in pouches or roll film)
5 mil Laminate Film– This thickness of laminate film provides a sturdy base for printed material, yet can still be folded and scored for moderate-use items such as menus and business cards. (Available in pouches or roll film)
7 mil Laminate Film– Provides more rigidity and strength than 5 mil laminates. Perfect for documents that are letter-sized or smaller, such as prayer cards and post cards. (Available in pouches)
10 mil Laminate Film– Documents laminated with 10 mil film are extremely durable and can be handled frequently. Similar to the thickness of credit cards, it is perfect for luggage tags and identification cards. (Available in pouches or roll film)