This week, I have enjoyed making a number of custom-fitting enclosures for books related to Louisiana history in Special Collections and Archives. Today I created two identical 4-flap enclosures for both volumes of Charles Gayarré’s La Louisiane. The two books lack sturdy covers, and without proper protection the pages are at risk of deterioration on the shelf. I was able to streamline my measuring process since the books were the same size (woohoo!) I use a strip of paper to measure the thickness, height and width of the book(s), which prevents needing to use the actual books as measuring devices. Using simple tools such as an x-acto knife, a straight-edge, a bonefolder, scissors, double-sided tape, and my measuring strip, I cut one vertical component and one horizontal component out of heavy archival folder-stock. Cutting 2 components allows me to fold with the grain-direction of the folder stock, and this gives me clean, crisp folds that stay flat. I then adhere both components together in the center with archival double-sided tape. I like to secure these enclosures by cutting a tab that fits into a slit on the cover – this prevents my from needing any strings or buttons, which can sometimes damage other books on the shelf (and saves materials!)
Stay tuned for future descriptions and tutorials as we await new and exciting preservation/conservation supplies here in Special Collections and Archives! Yay box-making!