I’ve made many boxes since starting in the Preservation Department back in October 1997, but had never worked with the material Coroplast (R). If you are not familiar with this product, it is a corrugated plastic board, similar to corrugated paperboard. Our stock in the lab are 30” x 40” sheets which are 3mm thick, translucent white, and very smooth.
The item we decided to box in Coroplast was a large (36” x 20”) floppy, spiral-bound music score. It was going to need extra support, but also had to remain lightweight enough to be carried by a single person.
Coroplast is a challenge to bend and since I hadn’t worked with it previously, I got out a few scrap pieces to “play around” with and get a feel for the material. For test samples, I worked with small pieces of Coroplast, cutting it on the boardshear and scoring it on the board crimper so I could bend it. I also tested the strength of Velcro buttons to see how they worked in sticking to the Coroplast and holding the box closed, as I didn’t want to use ribbon ties to keep the box closed.
After being satisfied with my test samples, I was ready to tackle this large box. Double-stick adhesive tape worked great to hold the large pieces together. The final box had two pieces meeting together at a seam down the middle of the front. I did not like that, because if water were to ever leak on to the box, it could seep in down through the crack. I would change my design next time to avoid that.
However, this time I decided to cut one additional sheet and Velcro it over the top of the box, thus protecting it from possible water damage. This box turned out very well, as it gave the book support and protection, but is still easy enough for one person to carry it. I enjoyed working with this material and I recommend others try their hand at working with Coroplast on a future project.