What We Do


Laminating and Encapsulating are two similar print finishing processes, but with distinct differences and serving different purposes.   To the layman, encapsulating is often confused with, and frequently (incorrectly) referred to as “laminating”.

Both processes take place after printing/photocopying but before document binding.


Laminating a printed sheet is achieved by applying a very thin (24/27 micron) sheet of clear plastic film, either onto one or both sides of the document. It’s purpose is to give an enhanced finish to the document, whilst protecting it from handling damage.

Laminating is recommended for documents that shall be handled frequently and need the ability to be wiped clean.   Some examples include restaurant menus, training materials, price lists, membership ID cards, etc.

Laminating is carried out after printing but before guillotining, so the laminated finish is edge to edge, often referred to as “full bleed”.   The rolls of laminating film used have a width slightly greater than the finished document, but slightly less than the substrate (generally paper or card).

At a1Sovereign, we digitally print to SRA3 sheets (450mm on the long side x 320mm on the short side).   Laminating film rolls of 315mm width are then used to coat the stock.   Burst laminated sheets are then guillotined from 320mm down to 297mm – the length of an A4 sheet, or width of an A3 sheet, giving the desired edge to edge finishing.   The product then may be creased and folded as required.


Encapsulating is a similar process which applies clear plastic film to a finished document.   The encapsulation process uses pre-formed pouches, available in all popular sizes from A2 down to A7 and ID-card sizes.   A choice of different thicknesses of film are available, to achieve the desired rigidity.    At a1Sovereign, our most popular encapsulation pouches are 150 micron (2 x 75 mic.) and 250 micron (2 x 125 mic.)

The main difference in appearance between a laminated and an encapsulated document is the latter has a sealed plastic edge – generally 3-5mm – all around the document, making it waterproof and increasing its longevity.

Matt, Gloss or Silk Finish?

When considering laminating & encapsulating, there are various films available to depend on the finish you want to achieve.   Each film has its own properties and making the right decision on this aspect of print finishing is key to your project.

Matt lamination gives a soft, natural look and enhances the readability of the print whilst softening the contrast of darker colours, making them less imposing.   The texture is velvety and the surface non reflective.   Matt finish is more susceptible than gloss film to scratching or scuffing if handled regularly.

Gloss lamination gives a highly polished, shiny appearance, enhancing the colour of text and imagery on the printed page.   The surface is reflective, therefore not suitable when the finished project may be placed under direct lighting.   Gloss laminating film provides a stronger, more durable document.   By definition, the vast majority of document encapsulation utilises gloss film, for its inherent properties.

Silk lamination provides a softer exterior and premium finish, however images may appear duller than when using gloss or matt film.   Whilst not shiny, the finish reflects in certain light conditions, similar to matt.

Contact us for advice on your specific project – we can advise on the most appropriate laminating & encapsulating options for you.

A1 Sovereign Ltd – providing a local photocopying/printing servicelaminating/encapsulating and binding to businesses, organisations and individuals throughout Berkshire, Oxfordshire and beyond.   Places we deliver to include Abingdon, Aldermaston, Ascot, Ashampstead, Banbury, Basingstoke, Benson, Bicester, Bracknell, Burghfield, Carterton, Chipping Norton, Cholsey, Cookham, Crowthorne, Didcot, Earley,  Eton, Faringdon, Farnborough, Fleet, Goring, Hampstead Norreys, Henley on Thames, High Wycombe, Hook, Hungerford, Lambourn, Loudwater, Lower Basildon, Maidenhead, Mapledurham, Marlow, Midgham, Mortimer, Nettlebed, Newbury, Oxford, Pangbourne, Purley on Thames, Reading, Sandhurst, Slough, Streatley, Tadley, Taplow, Thame, Thatcham, Tidmarsh, Tilehurst, Upper Basildon, Wallingford, Wantage, Watlington, Whitchurch on Thames, Windsor, Witney, Wokingham, Wooburn Green, Woodcote, Woodley, Woodstock, Yateley… plus all other towns, villages and surrounding areas.