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We DesignEngineer and Fabricate many of the products that we offer on our website. The following is a list of the products we make in our factory at 7 Canal St. Rochester, New York.

·   Polyethylene Sleeves, Polyester (Mylar) Sleeves, and Paper Record Sleeves (7”, 10” and 12”).
·   Corrugated Storage Boxes and Acid-free Storage Boxes.
·   Mat boards as well as die-cut the windows.
·   Frames for records, comics, original art, posters and more.
·   Backing Boards made of .024”, .028”, .030” and .040” board, Fome-Cor, Acid-Free Corrugated.
·   Custom Printed Plastic & Paper Bags
·   Custom Printed Vinyl Record Jackets
·   Custom Printed T-Shirts

To do all this, we have on staff - industrial engineers, packaging engineers, graphic designers, mechanics, and machine operators. We have many vendors that supply our raw materials for conversion. We carefully vet our raw material vendors so that we can guarantee the quality of their products. We demand quality consistency, we check for proper thickness, size and in many cases, the actual components are lab tested to be sure the end products meet the specifications we say they do.


To have a sellable finished product, there are substantive steps to take that guarantee the product will function as promised, cause no harm, and meet or exceed the customer’s expectations. This process involves many hours of design work, calculating dimensions, testing various materials, machine calibrations or rebuilds, and finally the actual fabrication of the product. After all of that, the packaging to ship the product must be accurately designed and fitted, so the product arrives safely as well as at the lowest cost possible.

We are exceedingly proud to be manufacturers. Below is a list of the products we make in our factory, when we first inaugurated the product(s), the reason(s) we began fabricating them, and the type of customers that use them.

 

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Bags Unlimited was founded on the Polyethylene Bag. Long before we incorporated in 1976, we were hand sealing comic bags and selling them at comic book conventions. Comic Book Dealers could not get enough of our 3 mil comic bags, and so we bought some machines from a bag company that was going out of business. Fortunate for us! The machines were purchased reasonably and have served us well. We bought them in the early 70s and are still using the same machinery today. They were considered the premier bag makers at the time, and there’s not a machine operator here that would disagree with that statement. 

Why polyethylene? It has some excellent archival qualities if the right grade of material is purchased. We have been using the same Polyethylene manufacturer for nearly 50 years. Our specifications for our poly material was the same then as it is now. We use only high-clarity, 100% virgin material without additives, plasticizers or enhancers. The film width must be +/- 1/16th” tolerance. The mil thickness of the film tolerance is +/- 5%. 

Those are the material specifications, but what about the actual characteristics of the film that make polyethylene bags one of the preferred bags for storing collectible paper products? Polyethylene has some stretch to it which people like when they are sleeving items that are a little wider than the norm. Pressure from a record jacket or backing board will not cause the seam to split, which happens with some other materials. Polyethylene heat seals readily and thoroughly, which complements the attribute of its stretchability. It has excellent contact clarity, which means even though it is not as transparent as polyester or polypropylene, once the product is put in the bag, the clearness of the sleeved item does not disappoint. Use our polyethylene sleeves for long-term storage and know that your collectibles are safe for up to fifty years. 
 

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Mylar® is the word that most people use when speaking of Polyester sleeves for their collectible paper products (comics, posters, trading cards, ephemera, etc.). Mylar D® is a trademarked Polyester (PET) material that was once produced by DuPont. While Dupont no longer makes the Mylar D variant, the name continues to be used as a generic trademark within the archiving and collection industry. Do not worry; there are several equivalent recommended materials out there that have all the desirable properties of Mylar D. One specific film is Melinex® (also made by Dupont) which is the material we use at Bags Unlimited. There are less expensive polyester materials, but the Library of Congress has approved Melinex® as the material to use for indefinite care of paper products (100s of years), and we adhere to their standard when classifying a product as archival.

Why are people willing to pay the price for Polyester Sleeves, when Polyethylene and Polypropylene are equally acid-free and can be used for long-term storage and cost far less? One of the reasons is that it is as crystal-clear as glass and another is the rigidity of the material – especially the 4 mil thickness. The edges and corners of items stored in Polyester sleeves are guaranteed to be safe from crimping, crushing and foldovers. Other significant qualities of Polyester sleeves are that they will never discolor or adhere to items placed inside them. Our Polyester has passed the P.A.T. test, which certifies that there is nothing in the material that will cause deterioration or damage to the products stored in it.

As we developed the diversity of our product line of collection protection, from supplies for comics, records, trading cards and magazines to supplies for newspapers and posters (and many sizes in between), we were not able to purchase all the varied sizes we needed in the polyester material. Through much research, trial and error, engineering and sheer will power we fabricated a semi-automatic Polyester sealing machine. Having this machine vastly increased our ability to efficiently produce very small sleeves (trading card size) to very large polyester sleeves for posters.

Other than our ability to produce many new stock sizes, we were now able to provide custom sizes in small quantities. Our most significant accomplishment, however, was being able to cut down on lead times for our customers. Having rolls of polyester material on hand and the machine to run it on, enabled us to stock fewer purchased sleeves and kept us from making our customers sometimes wait three months for finished products.

Who purchases Polyester sleeves? It varies from individual collectors to auction houses to Museums and Libraries. Individual collectors invest in Polyester sleeves to store their more valuable items. They understand the value of using Polyester because of the excellence of its archival properties as well as from a resale value point of view. Organizations such as auction houses appreciate Polyester for the crystal-clear, nonglare presentation it makes as well as the semi-rigidity that protects the items that are up for auction. Museums and archives put collectible pieces away for permanent storage. Some of the material will never be looked at again. But because they have been stored in Polyester, they need not worry about having to check back in ten years or even a century to see if the paper has experienced any structural decline. It won’t have suffered any damage; it was stored in Polyester.

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We purchased a moth-balled paper sleeve machine in the late 1980s. We had been procuring them for resale until then. We were not happy with the quality of the sleeves we were purchasing, and neither were our customers. 

It took many months of trial and error as we searched for new parts for the machine (some procured, some made), learned how it ran, learned to set-up the dies for the different sizes (7”, 10” and 12”), and discovered it’s secrets for making the perfect sleeve. After setting up the machine, we searched for satisfactory papers from the paper mills and began the process of “owning” the quality of our finished product. We now were able to correct what we found unacceptable in purchased paper record sleeves. 

Our finished sleeves had properly glued sides ( fully glued from top to bottom), center holes that were actually centered, and consistent paper thickness and paper finish (not all paper finishes are alike). We were now proud of our finished vinyl record paper sleeves. Sales soared. 

Our customers for record sleeves are varied - from individual record collectors to Music Libraries at Universities archiving hundreds of thousands of records. We appreciate every single purchase and are honored to be able to provide a unique service – the protection of the surface of vinyl records. 


Corrugated Storage Boxes & Acid-Free Boxes

Corrugated Cardboard Storage Boxes

Most of our Corrugated Storage Boxes are die-cut from cutting dies. The dies consist of very sharp knives that outline the shape of the box and cut through rolls of corrugated sheeting and ultimately produce a cut-out and scored fold-together box. Although these are our box designs, the quantities we have them made in are far higher than the die-cutters we have in-house can run them at costeffectively. The boxes we have manufactured at these corrugators mostly run in the tens of thousand and more (per box design). Also, many of the box dies are very large, such the die for our Long Comic Box.

We make shorter runs of boxes in our factory when the demand for a particular box is not high enough to warrant the larger manufacturers make them. We have what is called a roller die-cutter, and a clamshell die-cutter. We make products like our HD DVD Storage Boxes, our Cassette Mailers, and our Postcard Storage Box to name a few.

Before there is a box to be die-cut, there has to be a design from which the box is made. Many people that are not collectors think a box is a box and a disposable item. Collectors of paper products have an entirely different view on this topic. Collectors of paper products understand the vulnerability of something that is made from wood pulp (or cotton) and water. The enemies are many – sunlight, dust, dirt, human handling, moisture, acid, mold, and vermin are the major ones. Printed matter is the history of the human race and collectors have the drive and passion that it takes to preserve it. They insist on properly sized sleeves, backings and storage boxes to keep their collections safe from as many paper enemies as possible.

The topic at hand is accurately sized storage boxes for collectible paper items such as postcards, trading cards, newspapers, magazines, comics, posters, etc. although many boxes are more or less simple designs that are universally used, some of our boxes took specific engineering and creative design to respond to the collection protection needs of collectors. here are some of the unique concepts we incorporated into our box designs: double walled sides on our mailers so closure flaps can be tucked between the walls and not touch the paper inside them and nick or crimp it (most of our mailers). Diecut box handles holes that are used for carrying (all of our storage boxes) but close for storage purposes. Another design used on almost all our boxes is glued flaps on the outside of the box, so they don’t press against or “catch” when an item is put into a box. Again these seem like minor add-ons but are add-ons that collectors count on to keep their collections safe. One of the more successful and enduring designs created is our XCD100 storage box. It holds 100 CDs or 54 DVD’s and comes in both corrugated cardboard and archival safe plastic corrugated.

We designed two boxes for postcard storage. One box holds 600 postcards and has specially-designed tip out ends and tipping center divider to make postcard viewing easier. The other holds 2500 photos or postcards with tipping center dividers.


We designed our File Cabinets for comics, records, and magazines. Although they may not look like much on their own, they serve a function that usually can only be fulfilled by furniture. Their design allows for the stacking of boxes for comics, records, and magazines up to three high. No more stacking and unstacking boxes to find what you are looking for. Neither the boxes or the content of the boxes risk the chance of being crushed due to the engineering and materials of these File Cabinets.

This Record File Cabinet (above) makes it so these three boxes can be stacked safely one on top of the other.

Acid-Free Storage Boxes

We recently have begun designing and die-cutting boxes for comics, trading cards, and newspapers from Alpha Cellulose material and Archival Corrugated Cardboard. Without a doubt this material is costly. When it is manufactured it has to go through many processes to make it acid-free, lignin-free, and buffered. Why would someone want to pay extra for a storage box? Isn’t it only a box? The answer to that question is no. What exactly does acid-free mean when it comes to defining these two archival materials? The Alpha Cellulose boxes are made from is .040” thick, 100% alpha cellulose board and buffered with calcium carbonate, which keeps the board from breaking down (indefinitely). It is acid-free (alkaline 8.0-9.0), lignin-free, contaminant-free. Suitable for conservation. It has a black top archival paper, coated with UV Gloss Varnish. The inside is archival white paper. The over-all thickness with paper and board is .052” thick. This box material meets the Library of Congress Archival Standards for indefinite storage. The boxes made Blue-Gray Corrugated Cardboard are acid-free and lignin-free blue-gray corrugated cardboard. The boxes are buffered with a 3% calcium carbonate buffer, which prevents acids from reaching the contents.

Who is willing in the collecting communities to spend a few extra dollars for an additional couple of hundreds of years of collection protection?

Click here to see many of our Blue-Gray Corrugated Cardboard Boxes that we design and manufacture.

Click here to see many of the boxes we design and manufacture from Archival Alpha Cellulose material.

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Matting & Framing are two concepts that work together. We originally started matting and framing when we designed our first 12” vinyl record frames in the early 2000s. To get in the business of matting and framing, we bought a mat cutting machine and an assortment of frame constructing tools for assembling both wood and metal frames. Once we started making LP frames, we were hooked! We purchased skids of mat board in white, black and 20 colors. We bought skids of frame sticks in wood as well as metal. It wasn’t long before we were also making frames for 7” records, 10” records, comics, magazines, original comic art, postcards, and trading cards. Early on, we determined that all mat and frames would be made of “Gallery Quality” materials. Shortly after the “collectible” frames were introduced, we found business strong enough, that we decided to go into the general frame making business. This step warranted the purchase of another mat cutting machine. The purchase of more styles of frame sticks was next. Many frame styles have a unique look that lend themselves to showing off the framed print - it was not easy to pick out the frame sticks – it was like being a kid in a candy store: so many styles, colors, sizes, materials to pick from. We chose some solid wood sticks; some painted pressed wood sticks and a smattering of eclectic frame sticks. Each frame style we picked can be purchased in eight stock sizes – from sizes to fit 8 x 10” images up to 24 x 30” images. We also stock appropriately sized frame backings and clear frame fronts. The crystal-clear acrylic frame fronts are available in material that  blocks 98% of UV rays. The wooden frame kits come assembled, and the aluminum frame kits require simple assembly. We have a video on our YouTube channel to help newcomers in choosing their frame styles and mat colors as well as how to assemble them.

Creating your own frame kit that shows off your favorite art, photo or print can be very empowering.

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Backings are an integral part of keeping paper products from being damaged. Besides serving as a stiffener in the poly bag to prevent the stored items from becoming bent or wrinkled, they also protect the corners and edges from crimping or getting dented. As any collector knows, the less physically flawed a collectible is, the more it is worth.

We cut our backings from large sheets of board that we purchase by the ton from paperboard sheeting factories. We have carefully calculated the sizes of our backings to fit in the corresponding sleeves that we also manufacture. The boards are so they are wide enough and long enough to protect the corners and edges of the sleeved item and slip into a bag without putting undue strain on the side seals. We have multiple thicknesses of backing material, and that is also taken into consideration when calculating the sizes. Below is a chart showing the various thickness of the sheets of the board we carry. Also, we have introduced a crystal-clear, acid-free, semi-rigid backing that allows viewing both the front and back of the comic without having to remove it from the protective sleeve.

Not all board is created equally. Material composition matters! Before choosing a backing for your paper collectible, don’t go by price alone. Consider what you hope to achieve by using the backing board. Is it for short-term use while you put your papers in order? Are you planning to archive your items as a retirement investment? Is the article of inestimable value – either personally or monetarily and you want to maintain its value for generations to come? The list below will help you make a knowledgable decision.

We stock three grades of backing boards:
· Short-term Storage – Use for quick-sell items or limited duration. This pH neutral board does contain acid which will cause the breakdown of paper fibers. Economical!
· Long-term Storage – Use for more collections that are going into storage. This board is acid-free but will absorb acids when it comes in contact with acidic matter. Overtime it will lose its acid-free nature. Long-term can mean up to fifty years of acid-free life. Check the board periodically to see if it is still acid-free.
· Indefinite Storage – Use for your more valuable paper items. This board contains no lignin. Therefore acid cannot be created. Also, this board has a 3% calcium carbonate buffer which stops migrating acids from entering a stored item. This board has the longevity of 100’s of years. For indefinite storage, we also carry Fome-Cor, Archival Blue-gray Corrugated and PETG plastic for our InvisiBoard Comic Backings.

We can custom-cut backings in almost all of the materials listed, depending on the size that is required. We will happily quote any request. Depending on the material and size needed we can cut as few as two hundred backings. Contact customer service for a quote: customerservice@bagsunlimited.com.

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One of the more fun jobs we have at Bags Unlimited is our custom printing work. We print on plastic, paper, corrugated, t-shirts, nylon totes, yard signs, and record jackets. Check out our custom printed work examples here.

We started printing on Plastic Bags in our early years (the 1970s). We purchased a used paper press and converted it to print on plastic film. From an outside point of view, custom-printed carry-out bags may have seemed like an odd operation to add to manufacturing bags for collectibles. It was, however, an instant success. Many of our customers operated stores and loved the branding of customprinted bags. The particular style of bags we printed (durable 2 mil polyethylene, flat, opaque, die-cut or reinforced handle) were perfect for the flat, square cornered items they sold in their stores – comics, records, trading cards, postcards, etc. We also printed our own packing bags to brand our more popular sellers – record and comic bags. Companies that participated in tradeshows or conventions also loved us.

Over time, printed Paper Bags have gained in popularity, but we had to job out those orders because we did not have a printing press to print on paper (think converted paper printing press to the plastic printing press in the early days). In 2008 we purchased a 3-station silk-screen printer, and we were in the printed paper bag business. We were screen-printing custom orders at a less than speedy pace, but our skilled operators turned out fantastic work. We had many happy repeat customers. Recently we purchased a paper bag printing press and are very excited to offer some markedly reduced prices on them. Small stores that don’t need 10,000 printed bags at a time, happily purchase our low case quantity of 500 to 1000 bags. Branding your company name, your location, and the website is an excellent business decision for any sized business. Check out our custom printed bags examples here.

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We’ve sold millions of blank record jackets over the years. In 2008 we began getting requests to print on the record jackets. Vinyl was slowly making a resurgence, which was a great boon for us. We of course never stopped selling record supplies, but new business is always welcome. The attraction to our company for printed jackets was our low minimum quantity of 100. Indie Bands and bands just testing the waters are our best customers. We screen-print on white, black or kraft jackets, up to 2 colors/2 sides. The best part – we can we have printed record jackets to you in as few as two weeks as long as you provide us with camera-ready artwork. If you’re in the market for custom printed record jackets, take a look at our quality work here.

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We screen-print personalized t-shirts right here at the Bags Unlimited factory. They are a fun, inexpensive, creative way to share your message with the world. Need t-shirts for your band, team, company, family reunion, church group, convention, school? We have newly reduced prices on custom-printed t-shirts for men, ladies, and youth. They are available in white, black and eight colors. You can purchase as few as ten shirts. Mix ’n’ match color and sizes for pricing discounts. All t-shirts are preshrunk, 100% cotton with double needle collar, sleeves, and hem. That quality construction along with a taped neck and shoulders, guarantee that these t-shirts will retain their shape through a lot of wear and tear. Send us your camera-ready artwork today, and you will have t-shirts in under two weeks. Or for a nominal fee, our on-staff graphic artists will help you formulate your logo or artwork. Check out our custom printed t-shirt examples here.

Again, please don't hesitate to call us (1-800-767-2247) or email us at customerservice@bagsunlimited.comWe’re always here to answer any questions.

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