How To Protect Paper Without Laminating?

Some papers are so important you’ll need to protect them in any way possible. Legal documents, certificates, old photographs, vintage maps and paintings, letters and memorabilia – these are the kind of papers everyone needs to be extra careful about.

It is the easiest task in the world to damage or destroy paper; water, dust, dirt, food, liquid, time – about everything can severely damage paper beyond recognition. Therefore, it is very important that you know the correct ways to protect paper. 

The best method to make paper indestructible, damage-proof and durable is to laminate them. This can be done with the help of a laminating machine, or in other ways by using self-adhesive laminating pouches, packing tape or synthetic paper.

Laminating a piece of paper – of any type, material and size – protects it against water spills, food stains, tears, dirt, smears or dust. It;s an easy and affordable process that you can even do at home. 

However, if laminating isn’t possible, there are some other fail-proof ways to make sure your paper is protected from damage. Here are some of the ways you can try at home. 

Different Ways to Protect Paper Without Laminating!

1. Waterproof Spray

These are clear sprays that create a transparent layer on your paper, keeping them safe from water and other liquids. Waterproof sprays can be used on any kind of papers and similar materials to make them secured. You can even emerge paper sprayed with these sprays in water, and the paper will remain intact. 

Waterproof sprays – with each spray – provides a thin layer of acrylic or lacquer on your paper or document. Doing this on both sides makes the piece of paper completely waterproof but doesn’t affect the transparency in any way.

Two to three layers of spray on each piece of paper is recommended for important documents instead of a single one. 

2. Wax 

Using wax on paper makes it waterproof, and you can use any ordinary household wax candle for this process. Any white or transparent wax candle can do the job; you can easily pick them up from your local grocery shop. 

The process is a simple one: cut the candle in a medium-sized piece that you can hold in your hands comfortably. Take the piece of paper you want to keep safe and rub the candle piece all over it, on both sides.

The pressure you need to apply depends on the kind of wax candle you are using. For a hard candle, you have to apply more pressure and for a relatively softer candle, you’ll need to apply a little less pressure. Keep on rubbing until the piece of paper has a waxy feeling to it.

Any writing or image on the paper will still be visible and clear after the wax has been applied on it, but the paper will become waterproof and spill-proof. 

protect paper

3. Alum Water, Natural Soap and Beeswax  

Alum is a kind of powder that is soluble in water; when mixed with water and heated, it turns into a clear liquid. Heating the powder in water for the long time turns it into a liquid you can use for waterproofing paper.

The process is a long one, but has durable results. You also need to add a few pieces of natural soap, i.e. soap made from natural oils, to the liquid. A good example is Castille soap, which is made from all natural oils and ingredients. 

Once both the powder and the soap pieces have completely dissolved into water and the liquid has been heated for at least a few hours, add some beeswax to the liquid. Keep the liquid stirring for a few minutes until all the pieces have dissolved completely and have become liquid. 

Now, you can dip any piece of paper or documents in the liquid. The liquid should be hot at this point, but not simmering. Keep the paper dippen in the liquid for just as long as it needs the paper to be covered in wax. Pull it up when the wax has covered in the liquid and leave it somewhere dry to cool down. Repeat the process with other pieces of paper you want to waterproof

4. Waterproof Paper 

If these are not old photographs or already existing documents that you want to waterproof, you can simply buy waterproof paper for the next time. Waterproof notebooks, paper and special pens and ink – these are all available for purchase at most stationery shops.

You can use them to write, draw or scribble on, or even print on. Using waterproof pens and inks on these papers and notebooks will make the whole thing waterproof and free from damage. 

Waterproof paper is available for use in inkjet and laser printers, as well as for copiers and fax machines. 

5. Aquaseal 

Just like waterproofing spray, Aquaseal is a product that can also protect your paper from water. This product has been designed and manufactured with the sole purpose of waterproofing paper and documents.

Unlike the spray, Aquaseal is a liquid substance; it covers papers, documents and photographs in a clear waterproof layer, just like a transparent coating; this coating makes your paper waterproof. 

Aquaseal can only be used for pages and documents that have been printed professionally; if you use it on pages printed at home with an inkjet or laser printer, the ink will run and damage the paper. 

6. Shellac and Borax 

A combination of pale Shellac, Borax and water can also make your paper waterproof and durable. For this, both the ingredients need to be boiled in water, stirring often until all the materials have dissolved and disappeared.

When the solution is even, it needs to be filtered through a sieve on to a metal tray. Instead of a sieve, a piece of cheesecloth or muslin can also be used. 

The paper(s) that you want to make waterproof needs to be immersed under the liquid, but also taken out quickly. Too long in the liquid can damage your paper beyond use, so it is important that you only keep it immersed under water for a few seconds. Dry the paper in air until it is completely ready. 


The best way to make sure your paper is protected against tears, spills, liquids and stains is to laminate them. But if that’s not an option, there are many other ways that you can waterproof your important documents and papers and save them from water damage. 

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