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2020 11 20 NH 104.LR

Labelling paper objects

In this training, we demonstrate best practice techniques for applying labels to paper objects.

How to label to a paper object

Wherever possible, label the mount or matboard around the paper object. Where a paper object is without mount or matboard, writing the label directly on the object is required.

First and foremost, it is important to secure the right tools for the job. Labelling most paper is best undertaken with a 2B pencil and quality white eraser. This allows a visible label that will also erase easily with no trace left behind.

In the video below, Collections Technician Kelly Rennie demonstrates how to apply a label using pencil.

Key learning points:

  • Sharpen your 2B pencil to the ideal pencil tip (not too sharp but clear enough for writing)
  • Always assess the type of paper prior to applying your label
  • If applying a label to a glossy paper, like a vinyl record cover, 2B pencil will indent the cover, use a wax pencil instead
  • Apply as little pressure on the paper surface as possible


Pros of labelling with pencil:

  • Easily removable or adjustable
  • Safe for paper objects

Cons of labelling with pencil:

  • The label can fade over time
  • This method doesn’t work on all surfaces

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