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How to Encapulsate

See a list of materials

To encapsulate:

Step 1

Cut two pieces of polyester 1 ½ to 2 inches larger than each side of the document.  

For example, if your document is 9” x 3” (9” top, 9” bottom, 3” left side, 3” right side), cut your polyester to at least 12” wide x 6” high. 

Step 2

Wipe one piece of polyester with the clean cotton cloth and center the document on top of it.

Step 3

Line the document up with the lines on the cutting mat. Use the lines as guidelines to place double sided tape ¼ inch away from each edge of the document.

You can place a weight bag on the document to prevent sliding while you apply the tape. 

Do not extend the tape past the edges of the document. 

Do not remove the backing from the tape at this time. 

Step 4

Wipe the other piece of polyester with the clean cotton cloth. This will build the static charge that ultimately will hold the document in place. 

Place the cleaned side onto the document Be careful that the document does not lift up due to static charge. 

Step 5

Weight the polyester “sandwich” to keep the layers in place and prevent the document from sticking to the tape once the backing is removed.

Step 6

Roll back one edge of the top piece of polyester, taking care not to crease it. 

Remove the tape backing and use the cotton cloth to smooth the polyester back over the tape.

Step 7

Repeat Step 6 for the other three sides.

Step 8

Next, trim edges close to tape with a straight edge and sharp utility knife. 

A corner rounder (available at scrapbook or art supply stores) or scissors can be used to trim the corners.

To make a 3-sided sleeve, use only three pieces of tape, leaving one of the long sides open. 

Cut one of the pieces of polyester a bit shorter than the other to facilitate opening of the sleeve.

To make a 2-sided, or “L” sleeve, apply tape to the bottom and one side of the polyester.

To enable easy opening at the corner of an L sleeve, cut one layer of polyester with a corner rounder or scissors and leave the other corner square.

Do not try to slide a fragile document out of an open sleeve; instead, slice off the edges of the polyester just inside the tape and lift the top layer to safely remove the item. Be very careful not to cut through the document. 

Here are some options for attaching encapsulations to scrapbooks: 

  • Place two pieces of double-sided tape on the back of the enclosure and tape it to the page. 
  • Leave enclosure corners square and mount using photograph corners. 
  • Sew enclosure to the page using embroidery floss. Use an awl or a leather punch to make sewing holes around the very edges of the enclosure. 
  • Leave a longer untrimmed edge on one side and use a hole punch on that edge to make holes to insert the enclosure into a binder as a page.

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.