Saturday, April 13, 2024

Jack’s Business Card Storage Tips

 Vinyl-free.....the way to be!

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The following messages are taken from the IBCC archives and contain helpful information about safe storage of business cards.

Question: Just wondering...I had some cards stored in a small B/C card holder and over time some of the cards have managed to "stick" to the plastic sheets they are in. How and why does this happen? Is it the plastic or the card? Or both? I have some cards I would like to display in the smaller card books (not the 3-ring kind) but am afraid of damage to the cards over time. How can this be prevented?

Jack: The small business card holders are most all made with vinyl plastic. This type of plastic is really bad for storage of just about anything. It is especially bad for other plastic items.

The reason your cards are sticking to the pages is that the thermography process uses plastic pellets which are dusted onto the wet ink during printing. Heat is applied and the pellets melt which creates the raised print. So, your paper business cards become a combination of paper and plastic.

The two plastics react with one another and cause the sticking you describe. There is no way to prevent it that I know of. The people who make the small holders apparently don't see any reason to use polypropylene type plastic. It may be more expensive, that I don't know for sure.

The only type of storage that is worse for business cards is the "magnetic" style photo albums.

Q: I go to Wal-Mart and buy the special plastic sheets made to hold business cards (similar to sheets to hold sports cards) and notebooks.

Jack: I hope that you are not getting the vinyl pages. Our local Wal-Mart only stocks the vinyl type. They are not only bad for cards, but more expensive than the polypropylene type available at office supply stores.

Many modern cards are made with the thermography raised printing process. Tiny plastic beads are used to make the ink puff up to give the raised effect. This plastic in the ink reacts with the vinyl pages and causes them to change color, stick to the sheets and other odd things!

The reason cards stick to plastic sheets is because the ink used in thermography is dusted with a very fine plastic powder while the ink is wet. The cards are then heat treated which causes the powder to mix with the ink and creates the raised printing effect. Thermography was originally created to look like engraved printing. Now, very few people remember engraving. Some types of plastic react when placed in contact. The plastic in thermography ink reacts with vinyl pages. It will not react with polypropylene (or “poly”) pages. If you have a supply of vinyl pages, you can use them with flat printed cards. Regular printing ink doesn't react (in most cases) with vinyl.

NEVER...ever put cards in "peel-up" type albums. These are the type of albums which have the plastic cover page which peels up from the base. They will ruin photos, cards, clippings, etc.  I have seen them with the words "made with archival plastic" on the wrapper. That may be true; however, the base paper and sticky strips are NOT archival.

Q: I would also like to know if anyone knows where to get the plastic sheets to put the cards in. I don't need the books, just the sheets.

Jack: The type of sheet you want is polypropylene plastic, NOT vinyl. My favorite type is made by C-Line products and the stock number is 61217. I ordered my last batch through an office supply store as they didn't have them in stock. I found their site on the web with this info:

Contact your Office Supply Dealer to purchase C-Line products. Specify the C-Line product and product number when ordering. If you cannot obtain C-Line products through your dealer or retail store, contact DIRECTLY YOURS. DIRECTLY YOURS would be happy to take your order over the phone or fax and ship your products directly to you! All products are shipped within 24 hours provided they are in stock. Call 1-888-666-5773 to order C-Line now! Fax: (203) 385-5701

More from Jack on obtaining storage sheets:

I just received an order from Viking Office Products (800-421-1222) for new biz card pages. These are Avery pages, ten to a pack which hold 20 cards per page. They are a bit heavier than the C-Line pages. However, they are still acid free, archival safe and they "won't lift print" states the package. They are some form of polypropylene and definitely not vinyl.
Their web site is

Jack Gurner,

Jack's Business Card Museum


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