Here is a great way to make your own archival storage pages/sleeves for negatives.
As my film archive grew, I needed a good systematization and quality storage. Unfortunately, analog photography materials and accessories are becoming more and more expensive. Therefore, the ability to reduce the cost of “production” seems a very tempting prospect. Quality archival storage sheets for negatives are not always available in stores. Often, they are non-standard sizes and don’t fit into a regular A4 file holder. There are strips for 5 frames, while most film scanners “eat” the 6 frame strips. And the price is quite high. In this article I’ll describe to you how to make a storage pages for your 35mm or medium format film from simple A4 file punched pockets.
Here is what we’ll need:
1. A4 punched pockets (preferably thick plastic)
2. A piece of thick cardboard (A4 size)
3. Soldering iron
4. Overstitch wheel
5. Wooden or metal ruler
I like to use thick plastic pockets. It seems to me that they provide a more secure storage. But you can use absolutely any of them:
We need to take a piece of cardboard and divide it into five equal parts, as shown in the photo. Also, it is necessary to make one cross line a few centimeters from one of the narrow sides of the sheet. I’ll explain it later:
Here’s a tricky part. You need to take a soldering iron and pull out the tip. Nothing complicated. Then, separate the working part of the overstitch wheel from the handle and insert into the hole of the soldering tip. In my case, all worked out with no additional modifications. I think the photo is pretty self-explanatory:
You can also just use an overstitch wheel itself heating it with an alcohol burner or a candle. The main thing is that the wheel handle must be wooden or metallic. Plastic may melt.
Here is a closer photo:Then turn on the soldering iron and let it heat up. It takes about 10 minutes. Put the file on top of our cardboard template. Presses the ruler at one of the lines and hold a soldering iron, from one cross line, which we made at the beginning (this gap is needed in order for film to be inserted and removed from the sleeves easily). Do not hurry! Move the soldering iron slowly with certain pressure. The plastic should melt. But don’t push too hard. It’s not necessary:Repeat this step four times. At the end we get a nice storage sleeve for our precious film negatives or positives. Everything is neatly and securely:
That’s the simple way you can make a few dozens of storage pages under 15 minutes. The same thing applies to medium-format film. We only need a different template, and in the end it will be necessary to rip the punched pocket from the long side:
I store my film this way. Checkmark applies to strips that have already been scanned. On the white field there is enough space for some technical information (film, location, shooting conditions, camera etc.):
Feel free to experiment! It is possible that you will (or already) know a more efficient way of storing your film archive. If so, let me know. I am happy to add your thoughts to this article!