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Mylar, Encapsulation and Ink

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Brittany Osborne Shunk Brittany Osborne Shunk 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Profile photo of Laura Mabee
    Laura Mabee

    Hello C2C’ers!
    I have a question regarding the process people undertake when putting an artifact into their collection. At my museum, we are looking to revamp the way we do things, and I thought I would get some opinions.

    When digitizing a new archive, do you digitize it before you encapsulate it in mylar or after? I was thinking before mylar (therefore no glare). Additionally… in order to keep the archival number with the artifact (and not directly on the artifact) — I was thinking of writing the artifact No. on the mylar itself.

    Has anyone had experience with writing on mylar? Do you have any specific pens/inks you use? Mylar is a very plastic product, and I can see most inks just smearing off.

    I truly appreciate your patience and kindness with me!
    Best regards,

    Ps. I have found that our double sided tape doesn’t hold the mylar down for long. Any brand suggestions for a strong adhesion?

    Profile photo of Jane Dalley
    Jane Dalley

    Hi Laura,

    I have photocopied and scanned documents that have been encapsulated, without any problems. You can also photograph encapsulated documents, using a polarizing filter to eliminate the glare.

    I use 3M double-sided tape #415 and have not had any problems with it releasing.

    I have not actually written on polyester but if a Pigma pen doesn’t work, you could put a label in the margin of the encapsulated document (sealed in with another strip of 2x tape).

    Hope this helps,


    Profile photo of Ella Rayburn
    Ella Rayburn

    You can write on polyester using a very fine Sharpie. I happen to use a blue one. It is permanent. Pigma and other pens wipe right off polyester. To test just use a damp cloth or kleenex.
    I want my artifact #s on my artifacts and also on the storage housing.


    I do the same thing as Ella when it comes to labeling mylar. It is really the only time I use a Sharpie or non-archival pen. However, I have also written on an archival sticky label (http://www.gaylord.com/Archival/Conservation-Supplies/Labeling-%26-Marking/Gaylord%26%23174%3B-PermaPlus%26%23153%3B-Paper-5-16-x-1%22-Laser-%26-Inkjet-Multipurpose-Labels-%284%2C550-Pack%29/p/346L25) with an archival pen and then put the label on the upper corner of the mylar sleeve. I have found both methods to work well.

    As far as digitizing while in the mylar sleeve, I have found that when using the scanner it is no problem at all. I actually prefer to have it in the sleeve when scanning because it add stability. That being said, I have not had good lucky photographing a document while in the sleeve because of the glare.

    I use the double sided 3M tape from Gaylord (http://www.gaylord.com/c/3M%26%23153%3B-415-Polyester-Double-Sided-Tape-%2836-yds-%29/p/HYB00644). If you try making the envelope slightly larger than the object, thus allowing for a little wiggle room, it does not come apart. This is especially true if you are putting multiple pages in one sleeve.

    Hope this helps!

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