What's Mylar


Jun 4, 2005
Llanwrtyd Wells
I've just bought Kistler's Conservation Framing. Great book. On page 46 it describes encapsulation using Mylar or Melinex.

I'd like to try it but can't find anything like Mylar or Melinex in the UK. Any ideas (apart from moving to the US)?

Mylar and Melinex are trade names for polyester film (Plastic Fantastic stuff). Chemical name is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). It is resistant to many chemicals, has high tensile strength and is inert, so it is great for protecting art and documents. It is commonly used in food packaging (film over TV and microwave dinners) and PET is the plastic soda bottles are made of.

Aren't you glad you asked?

You probably will not find Mylar, as that family of products has not been manufactured since 2001. Melinex 516 is the current equivalent to Mylar-D.

Hostaphan 43-SM is another similar product, made in Germany as I recall, which might also be available in your part of the world. The US Library of Congress has tested it and found it equal to Melinex 516 for their purposes.
Many thanks to all those who replied.

Thanks, Dermot, for the reference to the PEL website.

I'll be placing an order for a roll. I'm not sure what thickness I should go for, though. I'll be using it for encapsulating documents before framing them. In most cases, I imagine, I'll use a sheet of polyester front and back sealed with polyester tape and sandwiched between a backing and window mount.

Which thickness would you suggest would be the most useful?

Mike, I've used 2 and 5 mil for unrelated projects. The 2 is a bit thin and the 5 is rather stiff. I'd say 2.5 or 3 mil.