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Encapsulating Documents

Encapsulation is sandwiching a document between two pieces of clear polyester. Two or more edges of the polyester are then sealed together, often using double-sided tape. 

Encapsulation protects documents from the risks of handling and holds fragile items together. It is completely and easily reversible and avoids the damage caused by the heat or adhesives used in lamination. 

Never laminate an important document. 

DO NOT encapsulate photographs or documents with friable, or easily crumbled, media that might separate from the paper, such as pastels, charcoals, pencil, colored pencil or some types of paints. Instead, store these items in folders made from permanent paper. 

Materials needed

  • Clear polyester encapsulating material such as Mylar or Melinex
  • Clean cotton cloth
  • Cutting mat
  • Utility knife
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Straight edge
  • Double sided tape – preferably ¼ inch
  • Weight bag
  • Corner rounder (optional) 

Read step-by-step instructions on how to encapsulate.

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.