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How To Laminate Fabric At Home

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There’s a variety of great sewing projects that require laminated cotton fabric. And laminating fabric at home is now so easy peasy! Learn how to laminate fabric at home with this simple and easy method!

How to laminate fabric

Laminated fabric

I’ve been meaning to make a little reusable snack bag for myself and my daughter for ages but never got to start working on the project because I never find the right vinyl fabric to suit my taste. So I thought I should make my own. In this simple tutorial I’ll show you how to laminate fabric yourself and laminate fabric in the colors and pattern you like and need for your projects.

This tutorial on laminated cotton is super easy and comes together in less than 5 minutes but the results are a gorgeous laminated fabric you could use on lots of projects that require vinyl or water proof fabric. In theory you can laminate any fabric but cotton is the easiest to handle and also sturdier than thin fabric or fabric that has a deep texture. Cotton is the ideal fabric for this project and that’s what I’ve used in this tutorial too.

My daughter is pretty crazy about owls and a while back I purchased some fabric with an owl print to make a little Halloween tote bag for her. I keep using it ever since, it seems like this fabric never ends! I’m left with bits and pieces now, perfect for a snack bag project which is an awesome way to use up fabric scraps.

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For this tutorial on how to laminate fabric I used an iron-on transparent film that can be fixed in place and can then be sewn on any sewing machine. It’s suitable for almost all fabrics, can be wiped off with a damp cloth and is comfortable to iron-on. The finished products are protected from getting dirty and the film is also food safe. To clean, just wipe with a damp cloth, do not wash!

There’s no need to laminate your whole fabric piece and waste the film. Just cut out the pieces for your project and laminate them separately if they have simple shapes. For more intricate shapes, cut out a larger square of fabric and film and cut out the final piece after ironing. This will also keep your fabric from slipping while cutting.

Is laminated cotton waterproof?

Laminated fabrics have a very thin transparent layer of polyurethane film fused with the right side, which is waterproof, durable, more easily cleaned, but still drapes well. Still, it is less flexible than non laminated fabric, so consider choosing a simple pattern with little shaping or pleats.

As laminated fabrics come in very limited print options and they are usually pretty expensive, this was the best thing I could do to make sure I’m using the fabric I want. The great advantage is that I can laminate just how much I need and not spend too much on a large piece of fabric that will stay in my stash. I was also able to use stash fabric, so I didn’t spend a cent on new fabric.

What is laminated fabric used for?

Laminated fabrics, also called oilcloths, are great for using in messy projects, like lunch or makeup bags, baby bib clothes, spill-proof tablecloths or placemats, coasters, chair covers, raincoats, changing pads, shopping bags, electronics pouches, as they are so easily cleaned and you don’t have to worry about the laundry.

Depending on how you want to use the fabric, waxing can be an alternative for laminating. You can use waxed fabric for wrapping food or covering bowls in your fridge. This is done by soaking a piece of fabric in molten wax, or spreading wax evenly over the laid fabric and cooking it in the oven until it melts and distributes evenly.

Laminated cotton fabric

Tips for working with laminated fabrics

  • When sewing with laminated fabric you’re gonna need to treat it like vinyl or leather so you’ll need to use a leather needle and a teflon foot. You might also want to check out these tips for sewing vinyl!
  • When applying the vinyl, only remove about 1 inch of the backing, fix it on the fabric and slowly remove the rest of it to avoid air bubbles forming;
  • Usually, ironing laminated fabrics is not necessary, as it is stiff enough and doesn’t wrinkle. But if you need to iron it, only iron from the wrong side. If you must iron from the right side, always use a backing paper or another piece of cloth. You don’t want to get vinyl on the iron.
  • Clip it instead of pinning it, or pin carefully along the seam line. Holes remaining from the pins will be permanent. Some of them might disappear with ironing or a hair dryer, but it’s not guaranteed;
  • Use a longer stitch length than usual, as shorter stitches can weaken the seams, creating too many holes;
  • The fabric may stick to the presser foot and the feed dogs may not feed it properly. If you don’t have a Teflon foot, you can also use scotch tape or painter’s tape to cover the presser foot for easier sewing;
  • Thanks to the coating, laminated fabrics don’t fray, so there’s no need to finish off the seam. You can just use a rotary cutter to make a nice and straight end which can even be exposed if you like.
  • To avoid wrinkling while storing or transporting, roll the fabric in a tube rather than folding it; creases can damage the coating, but sometimes they can be fixed by ironing carefully;
  • If the finished product wrinkles, you can fix it with a hair dryer. Don’t touch the fabric and use a low setting;
  • Store bags made of laminated fabric with a stuffing inside, to preserve the shape. Also, clothing should be hanged on a thick hanger;

Laminating fabric at home is super fun and affordable!


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about petro


Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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  1. Hi, Your idea of laminating is great for lots of projects. Although not to be a technical textile nerd, cotton is NOT a fabric. It is a fiber that makes up many types of weaves which create fabric. Did you mean a broadcloth works best. Duck is usually cotton, but you say stiff fabric won’t work well. Is a polyester the same weight as a broadcloth not acceptable? This makes a difference in selecting fabric and I just wish people would use the vocabulary correctly.

  2. Thanks for your tutorial. I’m thinking about making some placemats for my grandchildren, but I want them to be waterproof on both sides. Do you think I could use the laminate on both sides of the fabric, or would it be better to laminate two pieces of fabric and sew them together? guess I could use two different fabrics if I did that, couldn’t I! :-)

    1. Hi Sally-Anne! Any version would work but if you want the placemats reversible and more sturdy you’ll need 2 different fabrics laminated.

  3. Hello! Great article, thank you.
    Have you ever tried Modge Podge? Lots of different types… just wondering… Could be a new neat DIY…?
    Louise Campbell

  4. you write a lot about uses, sewing, purposes, etc. but NOTHING about how to actually make laminated cotton. perhaps you should retitle your page.

  5. Hi, Petro,
    Thank you very much your ideas!
    I has made a Blouse from a big Indian shawl. It’s my favourite in Summer because the material’s is very thin and pleasant in heat-wave. My blouse’s colours are light-brown and black, not really Summer colours but I like it.
    Have a nice week!

  6. Great idea! Do you have a source for finding the iron on vinyl that’s wider than 17”? My chair cushions are large and I’m having trouble finding a larger width. Thank you!

  7. Hi Petro. Thank you for this article. I just want to mention something maybe personal. I am an old granny but I couldn’t get over how very attractive you are. Your eyes just shine and you look such a lovely, lovely person. God bless.

    1. Ginny, I never laminated anything pre-made but it might work if the tablemats are cotton & the entire surface is smooth and even.


  9. Hi Petro,
    I am so glad that I came across your site. I read your postings I read and save them. They are right up my alley.