Why laminating your watercolor painting will RUIN it

Laminating a sheet of paper is often a good way to protect something from damage and liquid. Is this also true for watercolor paintings?

Laminating watercolor paintings will permanently damage your artwork because it is irreversible. A drawer will suffice for storing paintings properly, as long as they’re not exposed to sunlight. If you’re hanging the paintings, make sure to use UV-protected glass in the frames.

What are the benefits of laminating

Laminating watercolor has its time and place. Laminating can be quite helpful when painting smaller things like signs or waypoints, which have been painted in watercolor in order to protect it from water etc.

Paintings such as this would not be intended as works of art, but as a way to indicate a route  or similar. Imagine a child’s birthday party where the way to the “hidden treasure” is revealed.

Basically, it’s just for fun and its primary purpose is to keep it dry and protected from water damage.

Bookmarks are another example. A watercolor bookmark can be designed to match the theme of a book or a series of books.

For instance, you could create a Harry Potter bookmark.

Laminating is quite a good idea for this purpose, since you’d want the bookmark to be stable and not get damaged.

Laminating watercolor paintings: The Best Method

To start with, if you’re going to use it as a painting, don’t laminate it. If it is a real painting that you would like to hang up somewhere, don’t laminate it, as it will permanently damage the painting, since it is irreversible.

Imagine laminating a Picasso. Because of the ruined quality, the price would drop immediately.

If you wish however to laminate a watercolor painting for signs or bookmarks, you can do so.

You should not laminate your work with thermal lamination since it could ruin the colors. Cold lamination is always the best choice.

Go to your local print store if you don’t have a laminator at home.

Is it worth buying your own laminator?

You should definitely invest in a laminater if you often find yourself running to the print shop to have bookmarks or other items laminated. 

If you do this, it will be so much easier for you since you will not have to get it laminated and you won’t have to go to the city to have someone do it for you.

I would not recommend it if you are only going to make a few signs for a birthday party or a couple of bookmarks.

I recommend that you figure out how much you have already spent on it and how much you would need to paint to make this investment worthwhile.

Watercolor art’s biggest threat

Unless you throw your painting into a pool or spray it with water, sunlight will always be the biggest enemy of watercolor artworks.

As long as you keep it out of the sun and don’t let the house burn down, you won’t have to worry about a watercolor painting.

It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hang it up in a room with a window, but you should make sure the sunlight doesn’t directly hit it.

For example, you could hang it next to a window.

However, you should always use a UV-protected glass. Despite not being able to completely withstand direct sunlight, it will certainly reduce its danger.

What you need to know about storing watercolor paintings

I would always suggest keeping your watercolor paintings in a drawer if you plan to keep them or sell them later.

If you just put them on a shelf, they’ll be exposed to the normal dangers, like falling down and getting dirty, as well as the sun.

As I mentioned earlier, if you can avoid it, you should never expose a painting to sunlight.

As you’ll be storing a lot of items in these drawers, I’d recommend putting the paintings in a folder, preferably plastic for better protection.

It would even be worthwhile to store the folders in a plastic container that could be sealed. Thus, the chances of anything damaging your artwork are extremely low.


Most of the time, you shouldn’t laminate watercolor paintings because this will destroy  them forever. However, you can laminate watercolor bookmarks or signs to hang outside. In order to protect your painting from damage, store it in a drawer or box to prevent dust and moisture. Whenever you hang a painting, use UV-resistant glass.