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Housing Options for Collections: Pre-fabricated Enclosures

Instructions and guidelines for requesting housings from Collections Conservation and Housings

Pre-Fabricated Enclosures

Pre-Fabricated Enclosures:

Pre-fabricated enclosures, or "pre-fab" for short, refer to enclosures that are not custom made in house but rather purchased, usually in bulk, from third party vendors that supply standardized, conservation-grade materials. 

They are:

  • Primarily for housing pamphlets, slim bound books, or documents. 
  • Not suitable for items requiring a more custom housing solution, as well as for items with a spine thickness greater than 1".
  • Cost effective way to house large quantities of collection items. 
  • Available in a variety of sizes.
  • Extremely user-friendly and easy to construct. 

The preservation department makes use of two common types of pre-fab enclosures:

  • Adjustable Four Flaps
  • Envelopes with Slings

Combined use of these two enclosure types provide the much-needed rigidity for shelving, handling and transport. Deciding between adjustable four flaps and envelopes w/ slings often comes down to the fragility and spine thickness of the object. 

Please feel free to contact the CCH team for information about suppliers.

Adjustable Four Flaps:

  • Primarily used for pamphlets and slim bound volumes less than 1" in thickness.
  • Composed of a rigid cover with a cloth spine and an adjustable four-flap inner enclosure. 
  • The four-flap is scored at quarter inch increments along each flap to accommodate items 1/4" to 1" thick.




How to fold the four flap:
After placing the item in the center of the enclosure, fold the flaps following the order below. 
(1) Bottom  (2) Top  (3) Left  (4) Right

Please view video for more instructions -

How to use an Adjustable 4-flap Enclosure

[Improve image quality of video by clicking on Settings > Quality > 1080p HD in the video window]





Envelopes with Slings:

  • Primarily used for pamphlets and documents less than 1/4" in thickness. 
  • Composed of a short-side opening envelope with a sling insert. 
  • Slings are pre-cut to fit standard size envelopes.
  • The sling wraps around an item along the top and bottom edges, providing protection when it is inserted and removed form the envelope. 

Envelope with Sling Construction:

As illustrated below, the object is first centered on the sling. Then flap 1 is folded up around the tail-edge of the item and the shorter flap 2 is wrapped around the top. The sling should be slightly wider than the width of the item so that the edges will not be abraded when slid in and out of the envelope. (Illustrations by Jake Shonborn).

Envelope & sling housing tutorial - please click on this link to view

[Improve image quality of video by clicking on Settings > Quality > 1080p HD in the video window]