How to window-bag your books for SS (with photos!)
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Based on the rash of recent threads talking about grade drops incurred whilst getting books signed, I figured I'd put together a little illustrated post on how to properly protect your books for a Signature Series signing. I realize that there's already a great (and stickied) how-to by Kevin in this forum, but for someone who's never done this before, having a set of photos to accompany the instructions would probably be beneficial.

 

Anyways, onwards and upwards ...

 

Step 1

 

ssprep-1-m.jpg

 

Here's what you'll need:

  • bags and boards (I'm using silver size polybags with matching backing boards in this thread, but feel free to use whatever you have lying around)
  • bags that are slightly larger than the ones above (I'm using silver size Gerber Archives)
  • marker
  • box cutter or utility knife
  • masking tape
  • straight edge or metal ruler

 

Step 2

 

ssprep-2-m.jpg

 

Add a backing board to each bag that you're going to cut - this will help ensure you don't cut all the way through the bag.

 

 

 

Step 3

 

ssprep-3-m.jpg

 

Apply masking tape to each bag, outlining where you'll cut. The bag on the right has a generic, full-size window which I use for sketches - the bag on the left has a book-specific, smaller window which allows me to control where the creator will sign.

 

 

 

Step 4

 

ssprep-4-m.jpg

 

Use the metal ruler, straight edge or your uncanny knifing abilities to cut out a hole inside the masked box. Take care not to cut into the blue masking tape as that will leave a sticky residue.

 

 

 

Step 5

 

ssprep-5-m.jpg

 

Insert at least 2 more backing boards into each bag (3 total is the bare minimum, I prefer 4) and then gently slide the book in the bag. I do this upside-down because it makes it easier to slide the inner bag in & out of the outer bag.

 

 

 

Step 6

 

ssprep-6-m.jpg

 

Finish the window-bag by adding a helpful "sign here" note on the smaller window, and then slide the inner bags into the outer, larger bag.

 

 

 

Step 7

 

ssprep-7-m.jpg

 

Don't forget to add a note on the back with the name of the book, your name and the name of the creator who you want signing the book - if the facilitator doesn't know who the book belongs to or which signature to get, the book will most certainly not get done.

 

 

 

Step 8 (optional)

 

ssprep-8-m.jpg

ssprep-9-m.jpg

 

For an extra layer of protection - which comes in very handy with mail-away signings - cut a backing board slightly smaller than the book itself, and use a strip of tape to anchor it to either the top or bottom of the book, creating a flap. If you put the name of the book and the creator on the flap, the facilitator will worship the ground you walk on.

 

 

 

Step 9

 

ssprep-10-m.jpg

 

Ready to be sent off!

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3,982 posts

I use the thicker plastic top-loaders but this is a very good thread I will refer to this for each of my new opps. Thanks! :applause:

 

Photos always help!

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I've used the toploaders as well, but I'm always worried that the edges of the toploader (because the plastic is so thick) will end up cutting into the book.

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Well the tape would have been a useful tip Looking at the windows I think I was making mine too small as well :) Awesome topic thank you!

 

 

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I use the same process, except I use Mylites4 Gerber (4 mil) sleeves with full backs and Archives with Full backs.

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Nice thread.

 

I disagree with you regarding the tape however. I prefer to use a sharpie marker to outline the windows. Lots of times sticky tape residue of some sort gets on something... either a book will get stuck to another book or the tape will peel up at the bottom.

 

I guess this works if you just have a small laptop bag and 5-15 books to get signed.

 

If you have alot of books in a long box this could become an issue.

 

I am also a big fan of your optional Step 8. and using a flap (board) to cover the front of your comic. I like to write the names of who I need to have sign on that front board then cross them off as I get them done.

 

I am NOT a fan of keeping your books in an additional outer bag while at the signing events.(This can REALLY slow the line down and Complicate things.)I prefer to just have some extra bags and boards and once all the signing is done re-bag.

 

But hey there is definitely an art to it. Thanks for making a great thread and I hope you dont mind me adding my 2c:)

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Be aware that the sharpie marker instead of tape has resulted in instances of bleed through of certain bags which then affects(stains) the book. While it may take the perfect storm of condition to create this issue, I prefer the tape method.

 

 

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there should also be a disclaimer that even this cannot guarantee your book won't drop a grade

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Good point, you can do whatever it takes NOT to prevent damage, like writing "Please Do No Remove" from the label, and guess what..people will still remove it.

 

Nothing is 100%. ;)

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very cool of you to write up! i expect royalties for everyone biting my methods! :baiting:

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Nice thread.

 

I disagree with you regarding the tape however. I prefer to use a sharpie marker to outline the windows. Lots of times sticky tape residue of some sort gets on something... either a book will get stuck to another book or the tape will peel up at the bottom.

 

I guess this works if you just have a small laptop bag and 5-15 books to get signed.

 

If you have alot of books in a long box this could become an issue.

 

I am also a big fan of your optional Step 8. and using a flap (board) to cover the front of your comic. I like to write the names of who I need to have sign on that front board then cross them off as I get them done.

 

I am NOT a fan of keeping your books in an additional outer bag while at the signing events.(This can REALLY slow the line down and Complicate things.)I prefer to just have some extra bags and boards and once all the signing is done re-bag.

 

But hey there is definitely an art to it. Thanks for making a great thread and I hope you dont mind me adding my 2c:)

 

The main reason I prefer tape over a marker outline is that the tape is a lot more visible - I've personally never had any problems with residue from the tape, but I guess it's all dependent on which kind of tape you use. I have, however, seen the marker staining that Andrew also mentioned.

 

Thanks for chiming in :thumbsup:

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If you use good masking tape, there is no danger of any residue unless you cut the tape itself (which I have done a number of times.) Taking care not to cut the tape will eliminate the possibility. I co-opted Michael's techniques immediately upon seeing them in action at one of the Chicago cons in 2008 or 2009 and they work flawlessly. I also have started using the flap to much success.

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Other than serving as an outline to where you cut the bag, is there any purpose to the tape? Is it to point the talent to where they should sign?

 

Also, what appears to be used in Mike's photos is painter's tape. This is important because it is far less likely to stick to something in a damaging way.

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It makes it easier for the creator to see the opening. I have seen creators sign books with windows and no tape and sign part of the bag.

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Other than serving as an outline to where you cut the bag, is there any purpose to the tape? Is it to point the talent to where they should sign?

 

Yes. Although I did have someone ask me one time if he was supposed to sign "on the blue tape." In his defense, he was at least 70, but I still lol'd.

 

Also, what appears to be used in Mike's photos is painter's tape. This is important because it is far less likely to stick to something in a damaging way.

 

Awesome insight. Along the same lines, avoid doublebacked tape.

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Other than serving as an outline to where you cut the bag, is there any purpose to the tape? Is it to point the talent to where they should sign?

 

Also, what appears to be used in Mike's photos is painter's tape. This is important because it is far less likely to stick to something in a damaging way.

 

Good catch, Mike - it is indeed the blue painter's tape (the safe-release kind).

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Thanks to you Mike. Once again, an illustrative thread is particularly helpful. I am in the midst of preparing books for my first mail off.

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Excellent write-up!!!

 

When I do the window cut in Step 4 , I also cut through the board. I then place the board as the front board as in Step 8.

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