Question for Printing on file folders

kevin926

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I see folders completed with printing on them. Not the clear label's, but actual print. How are we doing this please.

Thank you in advance

Not my photo, just a reference

5062B2CF-4E8E-4A6C-8D6F-CF4E57A2136C.jpeg
 
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If you're going to do this yourself, you would have to find a printer that can take card stock as well as the length and width of the card stock to create a folder. This is dubious, since the file folder may not even feed due to the paper cut and folds and most inkjets that can handle photos stock paper may not handle something as thick as a file folder.

Since most printers don't handle this except more specialized ones, you would be better off designing the text yourself and then finding a graphic arts printing place that can print this on a file folder. I can pretty well guarantee that it won't be cheap.

Most wide format inkjets are roll fed, and may not be able to feed sheet stock.

I think the best way is to print it on a flatbed printer. Most have vacuum beds that hold the media to the surface. But there possibly could be quite a charge for set up. There are many flatbed versions out there, and those use different inks, so you might not get the finish you're looking for.

I'm not that familiar with screen printers, but from what I know, they usually print runs of thousands and most likely won't design a screen for a one-off.

TazMan2000
 
I work in print in the UK. The largest size we can easily run through our laser printers is 450 x 320mm (SRA3). With some effort it is possible to print slightly longer sheets but the width is limited by the hardware. Larger laser printers are not common.

If I were to reproduce a folder like this through a laser printer I would probably want to print on flat card stock then use a creasing machine afterwards to put the folds in. You can get manual creasing machines that are pretty effective and the end results look more professional than hand creasing.

I have worked with large format printers. Most commonly they work off rolls but they can usually sheet feed too. If you were to tack a flat folder to a carrier sheet you could probably get it through. The issue you'd have here is fudging the alignment. Provided you only wanted a few this should be do-able but there would be quite a few fails. Alternatively you could plug card stock through one of these machines and trim and crease it as above. I don't tend to like working with large format printers for props as ink jet inks are often water soluable and the finish can be delicate.

Screen printing would be fairly easy. You can get the kit online and the hardest part would be making your screen and getting it really clean in the fine detail. You can align it all manually and have a lot more control. It's also pretty cheap. All the other methods you're going to be relying on someone else to set things up and run processes for you on expensive kit... and most print places will charge an arm and a leg for that kind of service. If I were producing folders and I couldn't get the stock through a laser printer this is the method I would go with.

The actual props are probably produced by operations like Earl Hays Press who have worked in the movie industry for years. They specialise in short run creation of assets for film and have a lot of kit. Given their specialist setup they might be running their folders through a litho press and die cutting them properly... or maybe they're just using one of the options listed above with a high degree of skill.
 
I have done literally hundreds if not thousands on HP/Canon and Epson lol...
Just look back on SHIELD and MARVEL threads and I am sure I have detailed the stock I used. Even giving tips on Folders to use and paper.
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"Krats" is 90% right in every thing he says - over a period of time I have cut some down to the maximum width which is allowed by the printer settings, both HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE. Even buying folders in bulk to test the stock running through both household printer and office printers. Currently using 2 cheap printers which allow printing on 260/300GSM card and paper stock.
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It as taken me years to fine tune the process, which can need to be changed when the Manilla Stock folders change at the supplier in china when the main plant burns down, yes you heard that right... that as happened twice in the last 10years. Most paper companies know this happened, but do not admit to it as it meant that most of the paper that was sent out from China changed in quality. Then you have shipping which effects it like some were shipped on huge cargo containers which got stuck in shipping and the paper was held too long in transit and then they still sent it out to UK and American companies as normal even though alot was damp and caused the paper to have a slight roll in it.
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Anyway, over the years I have printed most folders myself on a variety of manilla, or original paper sourced on eBay, Amazon or online. More recently using eBay, though it can take a while as not all Manilla is the same quality when it comes to printing and duplicating FBI files, WWII files, US Army Jacket Dossier, SHIELD DOSSIERS, CIA Files, Police Department files.
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It took me 3 years to find the ones I used to duplicate FBI files and Agents of SHIELD Files, which would go through an household printer, and in most instances, I would hand cut most to the size maximum size accepted by the printer I used at that time. Some print better on the reverse side than the front, and others have embossed or raised seams/lines on them to make them usable in metal filing cabinets, The latter, which when used on certain printers will be grabbed slightly by some printers and cause the ink jets to streak on the first inch and last inch of the folder/card stock. This can ruin most prints, though some of the time depending on the prop made you can cut them down and remove the print streak, other times it may happen in 3 out of every 4/5 prints.
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Alternatively, I have also printed direct from google, I printed a batch of the Marvel Sokovia Accords that way. I found the super hero accords on wiki, then at the bottom it asked if I wanted to save a copy so I did, on the same screen it asked if I wanted to create a book, by chance I selected yes, then I uploaded a front and back cover, and printed a copy of the Accords. I did a batch of 5 as that was the lowest number allowed to print on the screen.
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I currently use an Epson R265 and an Epson SX420 for printing on Dossier Covers, but right now I am only doing Gotham PD, New York PD, FBI Files, and Agents of SHIELD Dossiers.
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The R265 has lasted me nearly 15 years I think, and is also the main ink jet printer I used for printing US War Jackets, ration cards for re-enactment, plus hundreds of photo ID CARDS for Gotham ID's, Agents of SHIELD, X-Files, Walking Dead, Suicide Squad, Batman.
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I have previously uploaded originals to cafepress and had some printed there but stop doing it as they sell your work and design and you do not get commission or any thanks.
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I am currently looking at upgrading to an A3 printer for some larger dossiers, but when I last tested that they would not print on manilla Card Stock. Most will take a single sheet through fine, but not a double, and as most Dossiers and Folders are double sheet, then A3 printers struggle with the paper/card stock.
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I did also contact a few manufacturers on Alibaba and Aliexpress about me sending them my designs and letting them print them for me, but it just was not worth it, far too expensive for my own needs.
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You will notice that much of new files like those in Marvel and DC now are A4 size or smaller, possibly as it takes a long time to make paper props and they don't want the pain of making the process longer unless they really have to. This can be seen when you look at the early original Marvel SHIELD and STARK INDUSTRIES Dossiers, they were a little larger, but as the MCU and movies progressed future movies started to produce smaller files of A4.
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Many of the larger dossiers, cases, files, and wallets were more than likely rubber stamped, lazer/UV stamped, or vinyl, and decals used as that was quicker and looked better, since most vinyl and decals printed commercially would not fade, which happens with even the best of ink.
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By the way, if you want more insight... then I think I put tips on Marvel Wanda Vision and Marvel Peter Parker threads, as well as captain America First Avenger.
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I did do some files, and use a creasing board for a while too, specifically for Agent Carter bereavement card, WWII ration packs, and some early CIA photo dossiers.
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The above FBI files I used to do on an Epson printer, but can not remember at this moment which model, plus if you look closely at the FOLDER/Dossier front cover you posted above, there are imperfections on that image, so would more than likely not be done on a large commercial set-up. Those lines on the bottom of the folder are so the folder can be expanded when the file gets larger, and most professional printers doing a large run would not print text over those lines, which they have on those files. I am pretty OCD when making my props and even I try to avoid that error.
Plus those raised tabbed areas on your image they have used white labels with printed text. That reminds me of a smaller set-up too.
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One of my past roles was working in the British Government working with confidential files, We rarely used printed text on labels, we always used stick on labels with written text, or written labels inserted into a small plastic window attached to the top tab. This may be different for the FBI, but I highly doubt it, because if you look at different files on different tv shows - they use such a wide variety there is lack of conformity. Although, must say a props department may use printed labels as it looks more professional on screen.
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Out of all the dossiers and folders I hand made the FBI raised tab type are the biggest pain to reproduce, mainly because most shows have no conformity. Some are printed on the front raised tab, some are printed on the reverse (probably a prop error..lol), and some are hand written on the inner raised tab, whilst others are printed on sticky labels like the one shown.
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I think if that was printed by a commercial printing company on a long term contract with the movie company and for a show it could have been printed on something larger like "Krat" as stated.. litho printer maybe which handles better paper stock, however it may have been rushed, or not quality controlled as highly due to the text running over those expansion lines.
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Would post samples of mine, but not allowed, as last time I did that I was issued with a warning by RPF for self promotion, even though I was giving advice on how to make them!
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(POST EDIT) Looking at those files above again. I also think they are new type files/folders, since Government Stock as more room on the inside, if you look at your image mor3 closely - that FBI folder type looks like it holds A4 quite tightly and would not expand correctly when using A4 sheets. When opened up as in the image shown, look how close the A4 sheets are together, that is screen used props inauthenticity as the actual items used by the government would be slightly larger, and their folders allowing more expansion room. Although, most people using the props and seeing them may not identify that :)
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So, you may actually be lucky and drop on identifying the type of folder they used to produce those FBI files for reproduction as they look smaller than government issue and more like newer standard A4 folder stock, which is actually better for prop making and reproduction! Usually identifying a decent sized folder for printing on A4 is one of the hardest logistics for props/reproductions, since not all folders go through all printers. Hence, why when you have stock that goes through a specific printer you tend to use that stock on that specific printer and set-up a long time.
 
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UPDATE:
I had these professionally printed out. Still have a few spares.
Did you end up finding a place that could do these?

Have also been pondering doing some folders and looking at options/techniques. So far the best option has been printing onto a clear sticker sheet and then layering that onto the folder. Printing sounds much better if it's possible.
 
Did you end up finding a place that could do these?

Have also been pondering doing some folders and looking at options/techniques. So far the best option has been printing onto a clear sticker sheet and then layering that onto the folder. Printing sounds much better if it's possible.

I posted them here.
 
I did my first one the other day, but yeah I did use a clear label sticker sheet. Only other option i could think of with doing it at home would be to cut a template out on a cricut and then roll ink over it. I didn't plan on doing more then 1 so the clear sticker sheet worked for me.
 

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OasisSupernova looks great nice case file too, :) I made a copy of the Spalko folder not perfect but not to shabby, but here in the UK, there aren't many choices for tab folders you have pictured, they cost a small fortune to get delivered here, would like to ask where you got that style and colour of folder from?
 

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OasisSupernova looks great nice case file too, :) I made a copy of the Spalko folder not perfect but not to shabby, but here in the UK, there aren't many choices for tab folders you have pictured, they cost a small fortune to get delivered here, would like to ask where you got that style and colour of folder from?
Thanks. Ordered them from Amazon. Maybe $13 for like 18 of them. Original idea was to do the spalko file. I still might.
 
OasisSupernova looks great nice case file too, :) I made a copy of the Spalko folder not perfect but not to shabby, but here in the UK, there aren't many choices for tab folders you have pictured, they cost a small fortune to get delivered here, would like to ask where you got that style and colour of folder from?
Here's what I ordered.
 

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Here's what I ordered.

OasisSupernova looks great nice case file too, :) I made a copy of the Spalko folder not perfect but not to shabby, but here in the UK, there aren't many choices for tab folders you have pictured, they cost a small fortune to get delivered here, would like to ask where you got that style and colour of folder from?
 

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