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There are some things you buy and, having got them home, you think to yourself "why on earth didn't I buy one of these before?", that's got to be the case with this laminator which, since its purchase a few months ago has proved to be more useful than we ever thought it would be. It's currently on offer at Rymans for £19.99, as it was when we bought it, and comes (in a very non-descript box) with a trimmer and 50 laminate pouches of varying sizes from business card to A5 right through to A4.
If you don't know what a laminator for some reason - it's a device for heating up plastic pouches and sealing them around paper or card, this will protect them by encasing them in plastic. This particular laminator is of A4 size - it's just a bit wider than a normal piece of A4 paper and takes 80micron pouches - which I think are the thinnest, cheapest pouches you can buy. There's not much to the laminator really, it's got an on/off switch and a green diode - when you switch the device on after about 5 minutes this will light up to show you that you are good to go. There are rollers inside the machine which make the pouch with your paper in pass through the slot out to the other side, these make a gentle hum so that you know that
it is on. The photo I have taken below hopefully shows you what you get - not going to win any design awards but a simple, functional machine.
It's simple to operate the laminator, it does get quite hot, for obvious reasons, and we do take care when using it around the children and make sure we unplug it after use and put it well out of reach. This is a cheap item and it does show in some ways, such as the length of the cord, but actually it does what it is designed to do more or less perfectly and is fairly well made. We have found that the laminator is ideal for protecting special photos and recipes from magazines as well as for more creative purposes, such as transforming the kids' pictures into table mats or bookmarks and making wipe clean reward charts too. If you are trying to laminate thinner items you do need to place the pouch on a special laminator card or it will concertina up - these are available from Rymans at a reasonable cost and I was advised by the salesperson to buy some at time of purchase.
I find that using this I can laminate lego instructions with ease, and this gives them good protection, when we first got this we did go a little laminate crazy - (luckily we found that A4 refill pouches are widely available and not expensive) but months on though our plastic frenzy is over this is still a gadget that it's good to have which gets regular use. You can laminate anything as long as it isn't over A4 size of course, and not too thick, from the smallest piece of paper upwards. All the edges are well sealed and the rollers seem to be good enough that there are no air bubbles or other issues. You can see the laminator in use and the end product below (no prizes for guessing which is me on the piece of artwork that I can keep forever by the way)
The laminator, as mentioned earlier, comes with a trimmer (you can see this on the ryman's site), it's a poorer and more flimsy version of the "guillotine" I use at work, a measuring part and 3 changeable blades, one straight and two sort of wavy ones, but to be honest it's not a great bit of kit. You can trim things fairly successfully - we've used it to make our bookmarks and a board game, but would probably be better off using scissors or a craft knife as it all feels a bit like it might fall apart whilst you are using it. If you are a serious crafter you are probably going to want a better made trimmer in all honesty, and though we do use the trimmer I could definitely live without it, hence the 4 stars for what is otherwise a 5 star item as far as I am concerned, and I think you can see how flimsy and insubstantial it actually is pretty well in the photo I have included here.
As I said at the start, I am really pleased with this item, given that it comes as a whole pack I think that it is excellent value. I do believe that you can buy the same laminator on its own should you wish to avoid ownership of the trimmer. This is a good item that does what it is designed for well; on that basis I am happy to recommend it - just don't get carried away and try laminating the cat!
NB : The item I have reviewed is the pack available from rymans, I added this to the ciao database and they have listed it here, the laminator itself is widely available by itself, as well as in a value pack form, as per my purchase from rymans
Please ignore some of the criteria which are not relevant.
~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~ special thanks to my 4 year old for the art work used in these photos ~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~****~~~~