Purple Cows 13" Hot Laminator Kit

New reporter week continues… this is Amanda’s first article for us… show her some love 🙂

Reported By Amanda Talbert

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a couple of the teachers at my kids’ school. We were talking about all of the tools the teachers have access to in the workroom, and one of the teachers said, “The reason I decided to become a teacher was the laminator. I looked forward to laminating all the way through college.” Obviously that’s not really why she decided to become a teacher, but she made a good point. Laminating is cool. You can use a laminating machine to make water- and cupcake frosting-safe recipe cards. You can use a laminating machine to make sure that old picture of you in your husband’s wallet doesn’t make you look old. You can even use a laminator to make fantastic Disney-inspired Mother’s Day gifts. The best part is that you don’t have to get a teaching degree to have access to a laminator!

Purple Cows sells a 13″ Hot Laminator Kit you can use at home. The laminator retails for around $70.00. It’s small and compact, weighing in at 5 lbs., yet large enough to laminate a 12″ x 12″ scrapbook page.

To use the machine you just plug it in and turn it on with a switch on the side. There is a power light on top, and a ready light that becomes lit when the machine is hot enough to laminate. It took less than 3 minutes from plug in to green light. The kit comes with “Hot Pockets” that you sandwich your project between and then insert into the machine. They come in these sizes: 25 business card, 25 letter, 5 luggage, 5 6″x6″, 5 8″x8″, and 5 12″x12″ hot laminating pouches. You can buy refills of the pouches online, at craft stores, and in office supply stores.

The hot pocket will slowly draw into the laminator and when it appears on the other side it will be heat-sealed closed. I timed how long it took for one of my business card-sized hybrid mini album pages to make the journey from cold to hot, and it took 21 seconds.

The laminator is very easy to use, and I have already thought of a million things to use it for. I’ve made two of these mini albums; the first is already being enjoyed by the gift recipient.

I do have two complaints. First, the leading end of the pouch can sometimes come out the other side slightly bent or crimped. Second, a few of my pouches didn’t seal along the sides.

I found a second trip through the machine, perpendicular to the original pass, fixed both of these problems completely. You cannot laminate very thick items like chipboard or 3D embellishments. I didn’t have a problem with this because I wanted to attach these elements after the laminating to give some depth and texture to my project. You can laminate things that are the thickness of several sheets of paper. My project consisted of two sheets of glossy photo paper.

Digital Hybrid template by Melissa Wilson Designs at The Digi Chick.


  • Affordable to the home crafter and scrapbooker
  • Easy to set-up and use
  • Compact and light-weight
  • Refills are easy to find and inexpensive
  • There are a wide range of uses


  • Crimping on one edge of laminated pouch.
  • May take two passes in order to completely close the pouches.
  • Doesn’t laminate 3D items (but would you want it to? They wouldn’t be 3D anymore.)

You can purchase the Purple Cows 13″ Hot Laminator at
Crafts, Etc.
Wizard of Math through

Bottom line, I would buy this again. I love being able to protect my knitting patterns, my paper crafts, and my recipes. I’m not sure I can live without the ability to laminate my photos. Do you have any suggestions for things I can laminate? What would you laminate? I can’t wait to find something new!

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23 Responses to Purple Cows 13" Hot Laminator Kit

  1. Avatar
    Bogner's May 11, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    When in school {like 5th grade} the girls used the school laminater to laminate our paper dolls and their changeable clothing. The dolls lasted a lot longer than they would have being just paper!
    Thanks for a great article. You did a great job on your first!

  2. Avatar
    Amanda May 11, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    Thanks, it’s fun to have my first post on my birthday!

  3. Avatar
    Anonymous May 11, 2009 at 9:02 am #

    I always laminate my favorite recipes. My sister makes fun of it, but my recipes will always look nice and never have to be re-written. I could laminate everything!

  4. Avatar
    Phyllis May 11, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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    Phyllis May 11, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Excellent article! You are right, there are so many uses for laminating. My main use for it is to laminate index sheets for my UM stamps and my Stampin’ Up stamp sets.

    I am curious, though. Is hot laminating better than cold laminating? I have a larger Xyron machine which can do adhesive, laminate, and magnets. So it does a more for a similar price. The maximum width is 9″ compared to this Purple Cows machine goes to 13″

  6. Avatar
    Maureen May 11, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    I love laminating but truthfully, there’s nothing I NEED to laminate. That doesn’t stop me from wanting a laminator!!

  7. Avatar
    Veronica May 11, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    Looks like a fab way to save precious artwork from the kiddos too!

  8. Avatar
    Christine May 11, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    Fantastic review!!! I have been thinking about getting this product and I think that now I will have to. You have shown some great ideas!!! I think the ideas to laminate recipes is a wonderful idea. A laminated recipe card attached to a gift box or jar full of ingredients would be a great gift embellishment too.
    I wonder if laminating little tiny stamped images would make a good bracelet.
    xoxo, Christine

  9. Avatar
    Tamikko May 11, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    wonderful review! and Happy Happy Birthday Amanda!!
    I think I’d put everything through to laminate just because it would be so much fun.
    I would probably do the kids best art and their little paper toys like little cards to make them last. The only other thing I can thing of is doing 12×12 lo’s just so you can hang them on a wall and not worry about aging. Although you somethimes want that to happen to some.
    I agree, I would also do some embellies after so you can have the 3D effect.
    Looks like alot of fun, and in school we never got to use one if one was there at all.

  10. Avatar
    Christina May 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    do you think this can warp your pictures that you pass through the laminator? i was always afraid of my pictures warping in the hot laminators.

  11. Avatar
    Amanda May 11, 2009 at 12:49 pm #


    I tried laminating a picture and it didn’t warp it at all. I really like how it turned out. Also, the mini book was made up of small pieces of glossy photo paper and it worked like a charm.

  12. Avatar
    Chen R. May 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    What a great idea, I really love what came out in the end.

  13. Avatar
    Okispice May 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    I never thought of getting a laminator before. But now … hmmm. You have got me thinking!

  14. Avatar
    Julia Stainton May 12, 2009 at 4:59 am #

    I use a laminator from the office and I love it! Great review! I’d like to add that you should NEVER laminate ultrasounds. I lost a precious pic of my unborn baby years ago thinking I would be preserving it. The heat turned the entire image black. 🙁

  15. Avatar
    Amanda May 12, 2009 at 7:26 am #

    Phyllis, I have done very little cold laminating so it is hard for me to compare. I have a xyron that does adhesive and I love it but it doesn’t laminate. I love the fact that my hot laminator that turns my things into a hard plastic card like a driver’s license. I also really like the shine I get from the lamination. I would love to see something you’ve laminated with your Xyron. Thanks for the comment.

  16. Avatar
    Amanda May 12, 2009 at 7:27 am #

    Oh Christine, Good idea! That would be hard jewelry for my kids to break or get dirty!

  17. Avatar
    Amanda May 12, 2009 at 7:34 am #


    I hadn’t thought of the thermal image issue, but you’re absolutely right, they shouldn’t be run through the laminator. Thank you for bringing that up here so people will see your comment and not lose anything precious.

  18. Avatar
    Nancy May 12, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I, too, have a Xyron which has cartridges to do lamination. I’d love to hear from anyone who has used both the Xyron and the Purple Cow to see what the pros and cons are of each.

  19. Avatar
    Melissa Norris May 12, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    For all the questions on the Hot Laminator vs a Xyron, here is some info for you:

    -Hot lamination features unsticky sleeves that you place your project in, then you run it through the heating element to set the lamination. It results in a hard, plasticy lamination, similar to an ID card.
    -Cold lamination, like that in a Xyron, is actually 2 sticky sheets that you run through a roller of some type. It takes the top sheet and bottom sheet and sticks them to your project. You have to be sure to have enough overhang over your project to create a seal, if your project is the exact same width the paper will be exposed.

    I used to work at a copy center and we had both. I highly recommend hot lamination. There is a much larger margin for error with cold lamination because you can get air bubbles, and if everything isn’t centered perfectly you can ruin a project.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  20. Avatar
    PaperQuilter May 15, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful crafting product, but I would suggest caution for use with photographs, unless you are using copies. Lamination is NOT a good way to preserve precious photos (or any other precious papers), it will damage them in the long term, and cannot be “undone” — but it would be a great way to protect copies and reprints from sticky fingers and other hazards! Thanks for the review and ideas, Amanda.

  21. Avatar
    Dewey Dot May 25, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    this sounds pretty cool – but one question.
    do you have to use Purple Cows brand pouches, or can you buy generic brand pouches at office supply stores or costco, for example, and use them in the Purple Cows machine?
    it seems to me that the PC brand pouches are a lot more expensive. i think i read that they are 3 mil in weight, and i think that most brands are 5 mil, so will the Purple Cows laminator handle the heavier weight or no?
    Thanks for the great review – I am seriously considering adding it to my crafting supply family.

  22. Avatar
    Amanda May 26, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    Dewey Dot, I haven’t tried the laminator with any other brand of hot laminating pouches. I found at my office supply store that the Purple Cow pouches were roughly the same price per pouch as the other manufacturers so I just stick with what I know works. I’ll have to look into whether the others will work or not.

  23. Avatar
    Janine September 29, 2009 at 4:28 am #

    I just recently got into crafting and still in the process of looking into the various products available—gosh, it never ends…lol

    Can you please let me know if you can trim the finished laminating pieces down a bit—or should the laminating paper be trimmed before you run it through the machine? Sorry, I know it’s a stupid question but I’ve never had one of these machines and have no idea. Thanks!!

    Also, I recently discovered Craft Critique through a search on Google—what a great, great, wonderful site!!