Safety Tag

The workhorse tag: how self-laminating tags work

Safety tags have are widely useful and it’s not unreasonable that you’ll come across the need for a sturdy, water- and element-proof tag.

If you plan to use your safety tags outside very much, you might guess that even sturdiest paper tags might not be the best option. After all, if you need to write anything on your tags, even permanent ink might run if exposed to weather. Cardstock tags might not hold up in places that get a fair amount of abuse, either, like the handle of a chainsaw or on luggage.

For any application where your tags are going to have to go above and beyond, you should consider self-laminating tags. Self-laminating tags let you write your personalized note or details on the tag, then seal your words against further tampering — by humans, or a force as great as mother nature.

Made of waterproof vinyl and with a clear layer of polyester, use is simple.

  • Write your message on the vinyl. Permanent pen works, but this is one occasion where pencil works well, too — the graphite powder that pencil markings are made out of won't have a chance to escape.

  • Remove the paper backing from the clear flap. Do so carefully to ensure that the flap doesn't touch the vinyl writing surface until you mean it to.

  • The sticky-backed flap and the surface with the writing should make a V shape, meeting near the eye for the tie. Starting at the base of the V, carefully line up the edges and start to join the V until it looks like a Y. This must be done gingerly to avoid creating air bubbles. Note that some tags have two flaps, making them W-shaped – for two-flap tags, just repeat the same process on the other side.

  • If you find any air bubbles, you may be able to push them out by sliding the edge of a credit card or similar over the entire tag. If that doesn't work, don't panic — the polyester is still sturdy enough that the tag should last for years!
Self-laminated tags are great for withstanding water, so consider using them to mark tools that take a beating. Just to test out how they stand up, a sign company wrote on one and planted it in a cistern, where it spent a few years covered intermittently with water, dry, then wet, then dry. When it was finally pulled from its erstwhile bath, the tag was as legible as it had been the day it was dropped in.
Self-Laminating Tags
Self-laminating tags can take a beating – whether from vandals, the elements or rough handling.
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