For the Jason Bourne in all of us
April 4, 2011 8:01 PM   Subscribe

I have an idea in mind that would be centered around a fake passport-like document taken to specific, fun places around the world. Not something fake enough to break laws, but fake enough to be something fun to carry around, not look cheap, and be durable to carry around and get stamped when requested. Where would I go to get something like this made?

The real passports I have held and thumbed through seem to have a few common characteristics:
  • textured, thick, durable covers
  • cover also has gold-leaf print for country and text information
  • thick page with photograph and personal information, covered in plastic
  • nice paper for, say, 20 or 32 pages of stamps
That's the sort of thing I'm looking to aim for.

Are there companies that make runs of these, say in 500-1000 batches, that could look and feel halfway decent?

I'm thinking that the average print shop probably wouldn't do this, as it is too small for them to be profitable and requires too special a printing process.

I have searched Google and haven't found much. Non-DIY and other suggestions are much appreciated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried contacting organizations that do their own passport programs? One example is the US Lighthouse Society.
posted by cabingirl at 8:11 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

The (US) National Park System has a passport program. Here's where you can order a passport. Maybe someone there can tell you where they have them made?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:35 PM on April 4, 2011

I wanted to get all those stamps. I remember asking the Grenzshutz dudes to stamp mine, "Koennen Sie meine Papieren aufstampen?" And he responded "Es tut mir leide, ich habe kein Stamp."

They don't stamp that much anywhere. They could get a little weird about it too.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:24 PM on April 4, 2011

The National Park one isn't really a passport, though, it's just a little book with pages you can stamp. I don't know where mine is to check, but I think it was comb- or spiral-bound.
posted by bink at 9:44 PM on April 4, 2011

You could mock something like this up pretty easily using a small Moleskine notebook. In fact, it's been done before. Take it to your local print shop to get it embossed with foil, or order it from a company which does custom embossing, like this place. Or do it yourself with a metallic pen, like the first link.

For the portrait page, you could glue your photo to the first page, slip the page inside a laminating pocket, heat it with a warm iron (because you can't put a book through the rollers of a laminating machine) and then cut any excess plastic from the edges. Or, you could seal the page using plastic book film, or one of those adhesive screen protectors.
posted by embrangled at 10:07 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could also try contacting one of the artists listed on Moleskine's Artist Marketplace.
posted by embrangled at 10:09 PM on April 4, 2011

Seconding Moleskine. Those little notebooks have a very similar high-quality feel to that of a passport. The only trick would be figuring out how to get the pages printed as you like.
posted by mekily at 11:45 PM on April 4, 2011

Have you considered the possibility that you might be Japanese? Because what you describe is very common here, a kind of temple passport book called a "shuin-cho" (朱印帳). It has accordion-folded thick pages for stamping and calligraphy by temples and shrines. Video
posted by planetkyoto at 12:43 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Check into camouflage passports.
posted by Harald74 at 4:14 AM on April 5, 2011

Response by poster: • I like the idea of contacting the US Lighthouse Society. It doesn't look like the NPS makes a passport along the lines of what I'm talking about, but it's an interesting idea. If there are other societies that make "hobby" passports like this, please do comment.

• Etsy does not seem to have any kind of "request" or "idea submission" area where people with ideas can submit them, to get a kind of rough RFP process started.

• The Moleskines look beautiful, and are probably a good line to pursue, if there is a way to contact artists.

• The shuin-cho books are absolutely gorgeous. Who makes them?

• Camouflage passports are interesting, but at $400-$1000 per passport, that would be a non-starter for this idea.

Thanks for all the ideas — keep them coming!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:57 PM on April 5, 2011

BP, most of the ones I've seen have solid colored simple paper covers, others have a more decorative image, perhaps a brocade woven cloth cover, but they seem to be available only at the shops at temples and shrines. Inside they are all the same AFAIK, with a single long accordion folded piece of high quality, thick paper (think moleskine). When the shrine office stamps it in red and does the calligraphy, they insert a piece of tissue paper to prevent the ink smearing before it dries. alternatively, I've seen people use them as trip diaries/sketchbooks. The ones I've seen, the one I have, cost about $10. I've found one place that sells them online, but only domestically, and I can walk out my door, go any direction and have one in hand in 10 minutes. Not sure how many you need, but if you like I can take a few pictures of the ones available in my neighborhood.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:13 PM on April 5, 2011

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