Howto: preserve multi-folded 8.5x11" document I carry in pants pocket?
December 28, 2019 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Sure, I could laminate the 8.5x 11" piece of paper I am referring to, which I fold down to about a 2.5" by 2" rectangle - but I want it to fit in my front pants pocket with other stuff. Is there any kind of new-fangled lamination material/device that would allow for this?

There are reasons why I carry this piece of paper with me everywhere - but do not want to put said info on my cell phone. Over time, what I have usually done is just buy a high grade piece of paper, print out said info on it, then fold it down into a small rectangle. Over the course of a month or so, naturally, the folds start to fray and the text wears off. So I reprint it, fold it down, repeat.

Lamination would probably preserve the writing, but I'm pretty sure there's no way I can fold a typically laminated piece of paper into a 2.5" by 2" rectangle, about the size it becomes once i'm done folding.

Suggestions? Yes I could shrink font so the paper has a smaller footprint, but that makes it tougher to read.

thx MeFiters. : )
posted by bitterkitten to Technology (17 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
If you take your document to a high end drafting print house, they can print it on essentially indestructible map fabric.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:06 AM on December 28, 2019 [9 favorites]

Would it be possible to divide the information on to multiple 2.125x1.75" pages? You could then have them laminated individually and spiral-bound. The holes for the binding should go in an extra margin of laminate, rather than punching through the laminated paper, and the other three edges should have approximately 1/8" margins to ensure a good seal, hence the slightly smaller dimensions for the pages.
posted by teremala at 11:09 AM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'd look into printing it on Tyvek. Or cotton; you could have an info sheet hanky!
posted by metasarah at 11:10 AM on December 28, 2019 [9 favorites]

To be clear: the above answers are likely better options, but if you need to do this on a starving college student's budget like I had occasion to, do the following:
  1. Get clear packing tape, in the widest width you can get affordably (the 2" width that you see normally is fine and is what I used)
  2. Lay the paper document on a clean flat surface, like a table.
  3. Press strips of tape onto the paper, overlapping a bit with the previous strip.
  4. Curl the excess tape around to the other side of the paper
  5. Turn the paper over and repeat on the other side
The resulting finish isn't a looker, but if you're careful to avoid wrinkles or air bubbles, it is essentially waterproof, folds well, and should last at least 6 months of heavy use, if not longer.
posted by Aleyn at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

Also, if waterproofing isn't important, you can just cover one side with tape and trim off the excess; that will make it easier to fold and will protect the information on the taped side.
posted by Aleyn at 11:34 AM on December 28, 2019

You could also put the paper into a thin plastic case. On Amazon, look up Metro card case.
posted by islandeady at 11:47 AM on December 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

I haven't ever used it, but you can buy Tyvek sheets; they are popular for origami and kitemaking. Might be worth a try, although they seem to work better with handwritten pen inks than printable ones. If you can copy your information onto the sheet with a fine-point Sharpie, that should be almost indestructible. A typewriter might work well too.

There are also "Rite in the Rain" brand printable sheets that you could use if running it through a printer is a necessity. I've used RitR notebooks before and they hold up pretty well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:48 AM on December 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

Seconding fold your normal piece of paper and put it in a plastic holder, like what you get with a cheap nametag lanyard at a conference.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:53 AM on December 28, 2019

Fabric and Tyvek are great solutions, but another possible track would be to create a small password-gated website that's linked to a QR code, and carry that QR code with a "what this is" and "Password is 'xxxxxx' " heading.

That could all fit on a business card, which could easily be laminated or otherwise protected.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:02 PM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would use freezer paper and print the info onto a piece of light fine grained fabric. Silk would be durable. Here are some instructions.
posted by 6thsense at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

wow, thx for all the suggestions! Got some cool stuff to try. : )
posted by bitterkitten at 12:45 PM on December 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had a foldable map that was laminated and the way they did it was by cutting the paper into smaller rectangles and laminating them all laid out with gaps between each piece. Then you can fold on the gaps.
posted by soelo at 2:09 PM on December 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

The paper is cracking because the folds are more than 180 degrees - regular bookbinding entails folding paper and with a good binding can withstand years of folds . Here's a very simple booklet you can make by folding down a single sheet (this assumes that the content can be segmented). If you like crafting, look up DIY bookbinding, there's tons of interesting things there.
posted by 99_ at 2:24 PM on December 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

A printer like this will allow you to print on fabric or plastic. Pricey for a one-shot deal but may be cheaper in the long run than using a professional printing service.
posted by dobbs at 4:58 PM on December 28, 2019

I own a package of but have never used "National Geographic Adventure Paper"... advertised as waterproof inkjet printing material for maps and special printing projects. It is made of TESLIN. REI no longer offers that but now promotes Waterproof Copier & Laser Paper by Rite in the Rain
posted by tinker at 9:52 PM on December 28, 2019

Memail me if you want me to send you a dozen sheets of laser-printable waterproof paper (free of charge, happy holidays)
posted by dum spiro spero at 10:38 PM on December 28, 2019 [6 favorites]

Thx @dum! Already ordered some online to try out. If that's no good, will progress to other suggestions.
posted by bitterkitten at 7:51 AM on December 29, 2019

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