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Background

At school, I receive a lot of thick paper packets that are 40 or more pages long. Our printer automatically can staple packets of up to around 150 sheets, so the packets are stapled nicely together.

However, after a few days of using the paper packet, the front page begins to tear off, which makes it very annoying to use. I can staple the front sheet back on with a normal stapler, but our staplers only staple around 25 papers, so it doesn't go all the way through, and falls off after another day.

Question

Is there any simple way to reattach the front page of a stapled paper packet without stapling all the way to the back page?

  • can you tape it back on? – Dragonrage Feb 27 '16 at 1:39
  • I've tried that, but it's hard to keep it from falling off. Plus, it doesn't attach the paper very well. – AMACB Feb 27 '16 at 2:16
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Don't try to staple it all the way through the packet.

First, reinforce the torn corner. I usually use post-it notes and tape, which do not last long-term if it gets a lot of use. If you need to use these packets for a while, you might want to use paper tape.

Second, staple the front sheet to the next set of sheets, anywhere from 5 to fifteen pages. Either staple it as close to the original staple as you can, or along a natural fold point if that's not practical. Preferably use more than one staple in more than one position - moving the paper around while attached to as single staple is what caused the problem in the first place. So if the original staple was in the top corner, either place two parallel staples a little farther "in", or two to three staples across the top or along the side. It's not a great long-term solution, but it should last a few weeks if you're careful.

Proactively, when you first get the packet reinforce the first page across the staple with something that flexes well (such as duct tape), and over the crease lines at the edge of the paper. If it's a top corner staple, for example, take a piece of duct tape a little over an inch square and put it over the paper and staple, then wrap the edges over the sides of the paper (you can cut a small bit off the corner of the tape to prevent overlap).

  • @AMACB - Glad it helped! – Kaine Mar 10 '16 at 12:59
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  1. Loosen the staple a bit by unbending the staple's 'feet' on the back of the packet. (Needle-nose pliers if needed)
  2. Work the staple slightly upward through the packet to give some headspace between the top of the stack and the strap of the staple.
  3. On the cover sheet, slide the 'tongue' of paper (where the staple tore out) into the new headspace between the posts of the staple. Line up the cover sheet with the rest of the stack.
  4. Bonus: If you can, cut a thin strip of tape and slide that between the posts as well. Either way, place a bit of tape over that paper tongue.
  5. Press each side of the staple firmly back down in the stack.
  6. Tighten the staple by re-bending the feet. Press them firmly in place.
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It sounds like the problem is pressure (force divided by area). The top sheet can move when you're turning pages, or it can even move laterally slightly. When this happens, consider the lateral force exerted - all you have are the two little staple legs holding everything together. The top bar of the staple might also help if it's pressed into the stack, but even that is quite small.

Try putting a binder clip over the staple when you get the package. This should spread the force over a larger surface area and help the package last a little longer.

If you need to use the package over a long period, though, consider punching holes and binding the package with file folder fasteners.

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If you can stand the inconsistency, there's nothing stopping you from using a different corner (one of the three remaining) of the first page and stapling it to the second page.

When issued a new packet as described in the OP, reinforce the stapled corner with tape to prevent this from occurring all together.

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How about creating two packets of 20 instead of one packet of 40 papers. That way you can use tape to strengthen the ripped paper and reattach it with your stapler. See it as part 1 and part 2 of your book. It also lighten you load carrying less weight.

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Add a sheet of index stock to the printer receiving tray, so when the first sheet is stapled, it isn't the first sheet of the packet you received, but the index sheet you placed down. That should be much less likely to tear. If you are repairing an already torn packet, then restaple through the index stock sheet, so it will be less likely to tear in the future.

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