Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Kyle Wrappers - Wrap books without using fasteners!

We're so excited to introduce Carolee Harrison, Conservation Technician with Portland State University. She has taught the all-day Basic Book Repair for Libraries at several of our Support Staff Division Conferences. This is the first post in what we hope will be a continuing series.

The “Kyle Wrapper” is named for its inventor, conservator and book artist Hedi Kyle.  The design is similar to a phase box, with two pieces of thin board wrapped around the book perpendicular to one another, but here the inner wrapper tucks into the outer wrapper, and the container holds itself closed without the need of ties, magnets or Velcro.

You’ll need:

  • Two pieces of Bristol board or cover stock, long enough to wrap around the book horizontally and vertically
  • A ruler / straightedge
  • An x-acto knife or scalpel
  • A bone folder
  • A jig made of stiff board and/or a triangle
  • A little bit of PVA


  • Height of the book = H
  • Width of the book = W*
  • Thickness of the book = T

*When measuring W, keep in mind that the roundness of the book’s spine will affect your measurement; use a straight jig or triangle (or both) to ensure that a round back is accounted for.
Here, I get a bit fussy and measure the width using a jig and a triangle.

Making the inner (horizontal) wrapper

For the inner wrapper, cut a rectangle of Bristol board the height of the book.  The length of the rectangle should be (2.5x W) + (3x T) – 2 board thicknesses [BTs], but if you’re like me and find that your math never comes out right, you can measure each surface right onto the board as you go and trim away any excess at the end.
The first fold will create the foredge of the wrapper.  Subtract a scant 1/16” (approximately 2 BTs) from the T measurement and mark it on the board, measuring away from the edge.  Score here and crease. 

From that first crease, measure W; mark, score and fold.  Continue measuring from each new crease until your rectangle looks like:

Keep in mind that measuring twice (from top and bottom), marking, and scoring between marks, will give you more accurate results than just using a triangle to obtain a straight line. 

Trim the corners from the (1/2 W) end with a scalpel or scissors.

The outer (vertical) wrapper
For the outer wrapper, cut a rectangle of Bristol board the width of the book.  The length will be (3x H) + 2 BTs + (2x T), but this measurement can also be accomplished as you go.  Make the first crease by measuring  H from one edge.   From the first crease, measure T, score and crease again.  From there, add 2 BTs (a scant 1/16” for medium-weight Bristol board) to H, measure, score and crease; one more thickness, one more H and you’ll have...

Cut a triangle out of the right-hand edge of the center of the vertical wrapper (large enough to get your thumb in).

At this point I usually check the fit by putting the vertical wrapper around the horizontal, putting the book inside and closing it up.

To assemble, put a few dots of PVA (or a strip of double-backed tape) about  ½ “ away from the left-hand edge of the vertical wrapper, and place the horizontal wrapper carefully inside so that the folds meet evenly with its edges.  Please let the glue set before putting the book in (the moisture from the PVA may affect the book).

Close the vertical flaps over the book cover first.  Wrap the horizontal flap all the way around and tuck the end between the inner and outer wrappers.

Shelf ready!

Title, call number, or other labels can be applied to the spine and cover of the wrapper as needed.

Acknowledgements and gratitude:
Hedi Kyle, Head Conservator, American Philosophical Society (retired); Adjunct Professor, University of the Arts, Philadelphia (current)
Andrew Huot, Conservation and Preservation Specialist, Illinois State University, and his workshop on archival enclosures at the Focus on Book Arts conference, 2009.
Jane Greenfield, Books: their care and repair.  New York : H.W. Wilson, 1983.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! PLEASE keep these posts coming!!