Waterproof Expert

Waterproofing tips & tricks

4 simple methods to waterproof paper [Pros & cons]

In today’s digital-dominated world, there’s something undeniably captivating about the timeless allure of paper. However, its vulnerability to moisture can often be a cause for concern.

In this guide, we will explore 4 methods to make paper waterproof.  From simple household ingredients to specialized sealants, you’ll discover a wide range of methods to get the job done.

How can I make paper waterproof?

1. Laminating sheets

The best way to waterproof paper is to laminate it. Lamination provides complete coverage and seals the paper entirely within a protective layer. The laminating film encapsulates the paper, creating a barrier that prevents water and moisture from reaching the surface.

⇒ Pros


Laminated paper is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear. The laminating film adds strength to the paper, making it more resilient to damage caused by moisture, bending, tearing, or folding.

This durability is particularly beneficial for documents, or frequently handled items that need long-lasting protection.

Lamination is one of the best ways to preserve important documents.

Clarity and visibility

Lamination maintains the clarity and visibility of the printed or written content on the paper. The laminating film is transparent, allowing the text, images, or artwork on the paper to remain visible.

Easy maintenance

Laminated paper is effortless to clean and maintain. It can be wiped with a damp cloth or sponge without the fear of damaging the paper or smudging the ink.


Lamination is suitable for a wide range of paper types and sizes, including documents, photographs, certificates, artwork, and more. It can be easily applied to different paper thicknesses and shapes.

⇒ Cons

Of course, you need access to a thermal laminating machine to laminate paper.

For each sheet of paper, you need two self-adhesive laminating sheets. Carefully place your paper between the laminating sheets or feed it into the laminating machine.

If you don’t have a laminating machine at home, you can find one at your local print shop or library.

2. Wax

You can also use wax to waterproof paper.

Melt wax, such as paraffin, in a heat-safe container placed in hot water. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin layer of melted wax onto both sides of the paper.

Ensure an even coat and allow the wax to cool and solidify. Repeat the process for added protection.

⇒ Pros


Wax waterproofing is a straightforward process that requires minimal materials, equipment, and skills.


Wax is generally an affordable waterproofing option. This makes it a budget-friendly choice.


Wax can be applied to various types and sizes of paper.

⇒ Cons

Limited durability

Wax coatings may not provide long-term protection against water and moisture. Over time, the wax layer may wear off.

Vulnerability to heat

Wax coatings may soften or melt if exposed to high temperatures. This can lead to smudging or damage to the paper.

Wax-coated paper may leave behind some residue or transfer wax onto other surfaces if not fully dried or if exposed to heat.

3. Sealants

Buy a waterproof sealant, such as a silicone sealant or clear acrylic. In a well-ventilated area, lay the paper flat on a protected surface.

Apply the sealant evenly to both sides of the paper. Allow the sealant to dry thoroughly.


Strong waterproofing coating

Silicone sealants and clear acrylics create a strong and effective waterproof barrier.


Once applied and dried, silicone sealants and clear acrylics provide durable waterproofing that can withstand prolonged exposure to moisture.


Silicone sealants and clear acrylics dry to a transparent or clear finish. The text, images, or artwork on the paper remain visible.


Application challenges

Applying silicone sealants or clear acrylics evenly on paper surfaces can be challenging.

Drying time

Silicone sealants and clear acrylics typically require sufficient drying time. This may delay the usability of the waterproofed paper.

Texture alteration

Silicone sealants or clear acrylics can slightly alter the texture of the paper. They’ll make the paper slightly stiffer.

Limited reversibility

Once silicone sealants or clear acrylics are applied to the paper, they generally form a permanent layer. It’s almost impossible to remove the waterproofing without damaging the paper.

4. Clear nail polish

Apply a thin, even layer of clear nail polish onto the paper’s surface. Allow it to dry completely before applying an additional coating s for enhanced waterproofing.

⇒ Pros

Ease of application

Clear nail polish is readily available and easy to apply. It requires no special equipment or techniques.

Quick drying

Nail polish typically dries relatively quickly.


Clear nail polish is an affordable option for waterproofing paper, especially for small-scale projects or occasional use.

⇒ Cons

Limited durability

Nail polish is not a long-lasting solution. Over time, it can chip, peel, or wear off.

Potential yellowing

Some clear nail polishes may yellow over time. This can affect the appearance of the paper.

Reversibility challenges

Removing nail polish from paper can be challenging without damaging the paper or leaving behind residue. It usually requires the use of solvents or chemical cleaners. Most likely, these will affect the paper’s integrity.


The four waterproofing methods discussed in this guide offer varying degrees of waterproofing effectiveness and ease of application.

Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

After considering the advantages and disadvantages, lamination is likely the best choice for most people as it offers complete protection, durability, and easy maintenance.

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