ID Buyers Guide - From Butterfly Pouches to Teslin

We'll Make You A Pro In No Time

In the past most IDs were made using a PVC card printer, typically costing many thousands of dollars. But thanks to advances in software, printers, and plastics technologies you can now make an equivalent card for a fraction of the cost, and in less time.

Because of the simplicity and cost of our products they are now being used by many Fortune 500 companies, small and medium businesses, membership clubs, and government organizations. Our products allow you to make as few as one ID card at a time, and up to hundreds or thousands with minimum investment.

Put simply: to make ID cards using our products you design and print your ID on Teslin Paper, then laminate the printed Teslin paper using one of a variety of our laminates.

Photo-Quality Inkjet or Laser Printer

The first thing you need, you most likely already own: A photo-quality inkjet or laser printer.

In order to create the best ID cards possible, you will want a printer capable of photo-quality printing. Most relatively modern inkjet printers (2005+) are fully capable of photo-quality printing. For a laser printer you will want to be sure you have a color laser printer that it is capable of printing photo-quality images.

Teslin Synthetic Paper

Using normal photo paper or card stock you would not be able to create a solid, borderless card. Teslin is the key to making a solid, borderless card without requring expensive equipment. Teslin is a synthetic paper designed to fully bond to a laminate when laminated and therefore produce a solid, borderless card.
Each sheet of Teslin will make 8 credit card size (3.375" x 2.125") ID cards.

Learn more about Teslin® paper in our Teslin Buyers Guide.

Hot Laminator
Hot Laminator

Thermal/Hot Laminators

The next thing you will need is a hot laminator. Brainstorm ID Supply sells a variety of hot laminators which we have throughly tested to be sure they are of the highest quality and provide the proper amount of heat and pressure. Lower-end laminators can sometimes run too hot (causing bubbles in the laminate) or too cool (causing the laminate to not bond properly to the Teslin), or not provide enough pressure to form a proper bond.

Teslin and Butterfly Pouch

Low Volume/Low Cost Setup

If you only need to make a few IDs, or want the least expensive setup this is for you.

With this setup you will typically make one ID card at a time. You may print up to 8 cards per sheet of Teslin, but you will laminate each card individually.

ID Pouch Laminator

GBC HeatSeal H45 Pouch Laminator ($44.95)
At just $44.95 the GBC HeatSeal H45 is a great value. It will provide ample heat and pressure to laminate any of our Butterfly Pouches.

Akiles ProLam 100 Pouch Laminator ($199.99)
The Akiles ProLam 100 includes adjustable temperature control, 4 rollers and all-metal gears, meaning it is built to last. Rounding out it's feature set are separate Heat/Run switches so you can allow the unit to heat up before running, and stop the rollers between ID cards - this will reduce wear and increase the longevity of the laminator. Can laminate pouches up to 4" wide.

Butterfly Pouches

You will need 1 Butterfly Pouch for each ID you plan to make. To make a card which feels like a typical ID/credit card we recommend using either 7 or 10 mil pouches.

If you want your ID Card to have a glossy/shiny look to it use a Gloss Butterfly Pouch. If you would prefer that it has a more subdued/non-shiny look use a Matte Butterfly Pouch. We have made a video comparing Gloss and Matte laminates for your convenience.

If you are going to need Magnetic stripes, pouches are available in both gloss and matte finish, in 7 mil and 10 mil thicknesses with them.

Learn more about Butterfly Pouches in our Butterfly Pouches Buyers Guide.

Heavy Duty ID Die Cutter
Heavy Duty ID Die Cutter

High Volume/High Quality Setup

If you plan to make many IDs, or simply want the fastest process and the highest quality ID cards, this is your setup.
With this setup you will typically make 8 or more ID cards at a time. You will print an entire sheet (8 cards), and laminate that entire sheet. Then using an ID Die Cutter, you will punch each card out.

Full-Sheet Document Laminator

Akiles ProLam Plus 330 ($249.99)
The Akiles ProLam Plus 330 is a heavy duty laminator that is made for constant operation. It includes adjustable temperature control, 4 silicon rollers, heat plates, and all-metal gears. Rounding out it's feature set are a reverse switch, and separate heat/run switches so you can allow the unit to heat up before running and stop the rollers between ID cards - this will reduce wear and increase the longevity of the laminator. Can laminate documents up to 12.25" wide.

Full Sheet Laminates

You will need 2 Full sheet laminates for each full page (8 ID cards) you make.

We offer full sheet laminate with gloss finish, in 7 mil thickness with and without magentic stripes.

View all of our Full Sheet Laminates

ID Die Cutter

You may be wondering how you will cut your ID cards out once an entire sheet of them is laminated, and this is the answer to that. Using our Heavy Duty ID Die Cutter you stamp the IDs out the solid card sheet with ease. This ID die cutter cuts a credit card size ID out with perfect 1/8" rounded corners.

Heavy Duty ID Die Cutter ($279.95)

MSE-750 Magnetic Stripe Encoder
MSE-750 Magentic Stripe Encoder


If you plan to use magnetic stripes to store additional information on your ID Cards, you are going to need a magnetic stripe encoder to write to them. The MSE-750 magnetic stripe encoder is ideally suited with read/write heads designed to last 1,000,000 card swipes. This encoder is also fully compatible with any MSR-206 software.

MSE-750 Mag Strip Encoder ($394.95)

More Information

We have more information including tutorials, videos, tips and tricks, and template downloads available in our ID Learning Center, be sure to check it out and follow along with our tutorials to make your own IDs.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us.