It’s here! They’re finally here! After years of countless requests, tweaking, adjusting and improving, we are so proud to present our crystal clear “Blake Sleeve” outer album sleeves. Trust us when we say this, but we think they are the best way to not only protect your records, but give them a fresh lease of life with the ultra-clear style.
Why this material?
Have you ever been in a record shop and they use the ultra heavy, thick PVC record sleeves? These have traditionally been the choice of record collectors. However, PVC-based products can cause contamination and serious damage to your records. As your records are also made from PVC, the two items can merge given the wrong climate. The result is a misting effect on the record, which is audible as hiss. Not great for a product designed to protect your music, no?
For a long time, we tinkered with polyethylene sleeves. These were much lighter, didn’t have the same ability to damage your albums, but that misty look it gave your stunning album art just left us feeling underwhelmed.
So when we discovered crystal clear polypropylene OPP, we knew we had found our winner. Acid free, super clear and firm to protect your albums- it really does give your albums a fresh lease of life.
Hey, wheres the seal?
Longtime subscribers of ours will know that for a long time our sleeves had a re-sealable flap, which we loved because it made the second-hand records we were sending feel like more of a finished product with a seal to open. However, over time- and experience, we found that actually using the seal reduced the long-term usability of the sleeves, and we got feedback of customers switching away because of sleeves or albums sticking to the seal when being used.
Again, we began our journey into solving this problem, and discovered the blake sleeve. Now if someone had told us this years before it would have made life easier, but what is business if not a constant problem solving machine? Blake Sleeves were made of OPP or BOPP, they had no sleeve, and were designed for a super clean tight fit, ready to be used with our without an inner record sleeve.
We’ve found that since ditching the seal, listening to records has become substantially easier whilst retaining the sleek feel and protection the OPP sleeves bring.
With Inner Sleeves
We send out all of our albums to customers (unless sealed) complete with rice paper inner sleeves. They provide a beautiful anti-static finish and make listening to an album as quick as pulling it out from your storage and grabbing the LP.
With these sleeves, we will have the sleeve opening facing upwards. This prevents the record/inner goodies from falling out when in storage.being moved We will then have the inner sleeve holding the LP behind the album cover, with the opening again facing upwards. As long as your record storage has protection from above (eg KALLAX from IKEA) we believe this is the optimal way to store, and more importantly listen to your records, making listening a genuine breeze and a quality of life upgrade to any frequent record listener.
Without Inner Sleeves
If this is your first foray into upgrading your records or are not a fan of inner sleeves, blake sleeves can still be a beautiful protective way of storing your albums/EP’s. For this, we recommend you have the sleeve opening on whichever side the inner sleeve placed inside the album is facing. Original inner sleeves can contain beautiful artwork, photos or lyrics, so we always keep these within the album where possible. With this approach, you may sometimes have a record or inner slide out, but you still have the protection, sleek look and usability of blake sleeves.
Which size should I get?
90% of the records we send out from the 50s to the 80s fit perfectly within the regular sleeve. These are measured at 32x32cm and provide a great tight fit for most of your vintage albums. Even some of your old gatefolds might just fit in here, but we would recommend a size up.
These come in a smidge bigger, but not enough to make your gatefolds feel like they are in a baggy sleeve. At 32.9×32.9cm, we recommend these for big 2nd hand doublers (think ‘Wings Over America’ big) and most new releases on thicker card. I tested the latest ABBA, Killers and Bruce Springsteen re-issues, and by the time we had the albums in the rice paper inner sleeves, the gatefolds were our preferred option.
If you are looking for a Party Pack mix containing a cocktail of at least 100 of both of the regular and gatefold sleeves, you can use the coupon code partysleevespack for 15% off your order. Enjoy upgrading your albums!