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Storage and Handling
4.6 Card Stock Enclosures for Small Books

Many librarians face the problem of boxing large numbers of small, thin, or lightweight books and pamphlets. When drop-spine boxes or phase boxes are not appropriate because of cost or the amount of shelf space they require, folding book boxes or enclosures made of 10- or 20-point lignin-free card stock are a suitable alternative. Several types of enclosures have been made over the years. One frequently used enclosure is known as the tuxedo box (Figure 1), which offers adequate protection for books less than 1/2 inch thick; but it is less practical for thicker volumes. It is easily pushed out of alignment and the corners tend to gape on larger volumes, allowing light and dust to enter the box.

A one-piece folded enclosure with corner flaps solves both problems while providing additional benefits (Figure 2). The corner flaps block out light and dust, prevent fragments from falling out of the enclosure, add firmness at the corners where most shock occurs, and when the enclosure is closed, lock the end flaps in position. The enclosure with corner flaps does not require taping and adds four thicknesses of card stock to the lateral shelf space taken by the book, rather than the six added by the tuxedo box. Both enclosures are easy to make; student workers or trainees can make either without difficulty in about 15 minutes.

The Tuxedo Box

Materials and Tools Needed

  • 10- or 20-point calendered lignin-free card stock. Small pamphlets require the lighter-weight stock; larger materials require the heavier weight.
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • Mat knife
  • Board shear (optional)
  • Straightedge
  • L-shaped ruler, T-square, or large triangle
  • Self-healing cutting mat, or piece of mat board or binder's board on which the card stock can be creased
  • Stable adhesive or double-sided tape


  1. Construct a ruler-template by placing the book on a strip of paper or card and making measurement marks for longest length (L), widest width (W), and greatest thickness (H) (Figure 3).

  1. Select a sheet of card stock from which the inside and outside wrappers can be cut (see Figure 4). Determine the grain direction of the sheet, and cut the wrappers so that the grain is parallel to the expected fold lines of the wrappers. The grain is the direction in which most of the fibers of the stock run. A fold made parallel to the grain folds more easily than one made against (at right angles to) the grain. Cuts should be made completely across the sheet of card stock to leave ample room fro each piece. When using the ruler-template to mark locations of cuts or folds, add card stock thicknesses (T) by sight estimate. For instance, when making a mark H + 4T from the previous mark, make a mark that is four card thicknesses beyond the H mark of the ruler-template.
  1. Now make marks at all fold locations on both pieces of card stock. When you come to the end of each wrapper, trim off the excess card stock. See Figure 4.

    Figure 4
  2. Using an L-shaped ruler, T-square or triangle and a bone folder, crease and fold the wrappers at all marks. Using the point of the bone folder on the surface of the card stock, score the card along the edge of the ruler as if you were drawing a line with a pencil. Press the point of the bone folder into the card and pull it along the edge of the ruler, creating a groove. If you are using 10-point card stock, press lightly to avoid tearing the material. Hold the ruler down firmly to prevent slippage. Without releasing the ruler, reinforce the crease by inserting the bone folder under the card and rubbing it firmly against the ruler to accentuate the crease. See Figure 5.
  3. Using your template, measure, mark, and cut the tongue in flap 4 of the outside wrapper. See Figure 3. Cut the slit in flap 3 slightly wider than the tongue, centered, and at a distance of 1/2 L from the nearest fold. Once again, refer to Figure 3.
  4. Apply double-sided tape to the outside wrapper base, just inside the folds. Place the inside wrapper base on top of it, aligning the outer edges of the wrappers.

One-Piece Enclosure with Corner Flaps

Materials and Tools Needed

  • 20-point calendered lignin-free card stock
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • Mat knife
  • L-shaped ruler, T-square, or large triangle
  • Self-healing cutting mat, or a piece of book board on which the card stock can be creased


  1. Construct a ruler-template by placing the book on a strip of paper or card and making measurement marks as shown in Figure 4. See Figure 6 for an explanation of the letter symbols.

  1. Using your ruler-template, make the appropriate marks on adjoining edges of one of the corners of a large piece of 20-point lignin-free card (Figure 7).

  1. Now cut your measured box area off the larger piece of card.
  2. Using an L-shaped ruler, T-square, or triangle and a bone folder, crease the card at all marks (Figure 8). Make longer creases first and shorter creases second. Refer to step 4 of the tuxedo box construction for use of the bone folder.

  1. Now make all peripheral cuts with scissors. Refer to Figure 6 for the appearance of the finished box before folding. Notice that the corner and end flaps are angled slightly.
  2. Fold the box and insert the book (Figure 9). You are finished.


This preservation leaflet is an update of the 1999 leaflet written by Richard Horton, Conservator, Bridgeport National Bindery, Inc. NEDCC gratefully acknowledges Margaret R. Brown, upon whose 1999 drawings the current illustrations were based.


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