Can you Laminate Fabric in a Laminating Machine?

When you think of fabric, laminate is probably not what springs to mind.

Some examples of laminate fabrics are oilcloths, vinyl, chalkboard fabrics, and some types of faux leathers.

These items are really great to have around the house but can be pricy to purchase. Instead, why not make them yourself?

Can you laminate fabric in a laminating machine?

Not all fabric can be laminated in a machine, but many can be and you can do it yourself! Any material that has a plastic-like coating is a laminate fabric. However, you will not be able to sew fabrics that were laminated together using a laminator machine.

Laminate fabrics can be great for projects that you intend to use that might get a little messy, like makeup bags, baby bibs, placemats, etc.

Can You Even Laminate Fabric?

If you can’t find the pattern or fabric that you are looking for that is already a laminate fabric, you can rest easy.

Making your own laminate fabric is possible!

We’ve listed a few tips and tricks to get you started on this journey:

Laminator Machine:

It is not suggested that you put your fabric through a laminator machine for most uses.

The only reason you would put the fabric through a laminator machine is if you were making items such as placemats. Once you laminate fabric with a laminator machine, you can no longer sew it into anything else.

Before you put your fabric through the laminator machine, you will want to make sure that you starch your fabric before you put it through the laminating machine.

Otherwise, you might get wrinkles and issues when you laminate it.

Iron on Laminate:

The most common option for creating laminate fabric is to use iron-on vinyl.

Unlike using a laminator, using iron-on vinyl will allow you to make a laminated fabric that you can still work with and sew into other projects.

To use iron-on vinyl and turn your fabric into a laminate you will:

  1. Cut a piece of your iron-on vinyl to fit the piece of fabric you are working with.
    • If you are working with something difficult, you might want to use more fabric and vinyl than it calls for, just in case.
  2. Iron your fabric well and make sure it is entirely flat.
  3. Peel the paper backing off the vinyl and make sure to place it on your fabric sticky side down and that no part of the vinyl hangs off the edge.
    • Do not get rid of the paper you pulled off.
  4. Place the paper that you pulled off over the vinyl, shiny side down.
  5. Iron the vinyl to the fabric using medium heat. Do not iron on with moisture. Instead, use a dry iron.
  6. Be very careful not to leave the iron in one spot too long, or you might melt the vinyl onto your iron.
  7. Take off your paper, and you should have a laminate fabric that you can use for your projects!

Most iron-on vinyl should have directions printed on them so that you know if yours has any variations to the application process.

Can You Iron laminated Fabric Afterward?

It is possible to iron laminated fabric after you laminate it if you do it carefully.

You can iron the fabric that you made using iron-on vinyl, but don’t laminate it twice to try and flatten it out.

If you want to iron your laminate fabric, you will want to iron on the side that you did not stick the laminate on, or you will want to iron using backing paper. You never want the vinyl itself to touch your iron.

You also want to make sure that your vinyl doesn’t get too hot or it will melt.

How Do You Sew Laminated Fabric Together?

It is entirely possible to sew laminated fabrics together that were laminated using an iron-on method.

However, you will not be able to sew fabrics that were laminated together using a laminator machine.

Some considerations will have to be made to sew laminated fabrics together; they cannot just be put through a sewing machine like normal.

Metal Pieces:

Make sure that you do not use metal surfaces on vinyl when sewing because it will stick to the fabric and prevent it from going through the machine properly.

To fix this issue, there are a few things that you can do. You can change your presser foot out for one that is either Teflon or plastic.

If you do not have one, then you could also put tape over the metal surfaces on your machine.

Matte tape or painters tape works very well.

Stitch Length and Needle Size:

It is beneficial for you to change your stitch length and needle size when working with vinyl.

If you use a larger needle, you will have an easier time piercing through the fabric.

Using pins will create noticeable holes in your fabric, so you will want to be careful where you pin your fabric. You could always use clips instead of holding your fabric pieces together.

A longer stitch length is also ideal when working with vinyl. Because of the nature of the fabric, a stitch length that is too short will make a very sloppy mess of your project.

What is Laminated Fabric Typically Used For?

Laminated fabrics are often used for function and are less often used for aesthetic purposes.

Some examples of laminated films for your fabric include vinyl, PVP acrylic, and silicone. There are many potential applications for laminated fabric.

These applications include:

  • Wind Covers
  • Hoses
  • Safety Vests
  • Truck Covers
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Rain Wear
  • Shoe/Clothing Linings
  • Bags
  • Shade Materials
  • Pond Liners
  • Irrigation Material
  • Home Furnishings
  • Backpacks
  • Carpeting
  • Airbags

These are just a few examples. Laminated fabric is used for anything that needs a level of water resistance.

They are also used for anything that you might want to be stain-resistant or easy to clean.

How Durable is Laminated Fabric?

Laminated fabrics are very durable. They have a high tensile strength even though they are often a lighter-weight fabric.

Because the laminated fabric is very durable and lightweight, it is often used for clothing and other materials that you need to be able to fold and bend often.

Other coated fabric types can be stiffer and less versatile. They are also less durable.

For these reasons, you might want to consider using laminated fabrics whenever you need something waterproof and durable for your sewing projects.

Are Their Other Ways to Coat Fabric with Polyurethane?

There are a few different processes that are used to make polyurethane-coated fabrics.

There are a few industrial processes that are utilized to coat fabric in polyurethane. There is both a wet process and dry process that are used based on what the future use for the fabric will be.

Most processes for coating fabric with polyurethane are commercially completed. That way, you know that you are going to get an evenly coated and durable laminated fabric that will work for any project that you want to complete.

It is more complicated to complete these processes at home. Iron-on methods are the most ideal for home use.