Boxed! Orphaned film reels get a home

That’s how you know them.
Lonely, small film reels.
Sometimes cut, or still completely untouched, sometimes half-full with scenes that have fallen victim to editing, sometimes even completely empty. With a retainer ring or without.
And they accumulate and multiply.
And then look like this … or like this:

Two stacks of 50ft film spools

Stacks that can fall over, then roll around uncontrollably on the table or floor, unwind, just cause trouble.
Fortunately, there are many remedies.
One of them is to pack all the loose, individual reels into small boxes.
Either in the ones that come out of the lab (if they do),

Lab boxes

or you buy new ones.
cardboard boxes.
Consisting of a lid and a bottom part.
Made of cardboard.
Googling “folding boxes” will find all sorts of links to manufacturers of boxes for every purpose. For hobbyists, for artists, for jewelers, for makers of homemade teas or scented soaps.
I got stuck with one manufacturer because they offered square folding boxes perfectly suited for almost any size film spool. (Links to this at the bottom).

The boxes are always sold in sets of 10, which always includes 10 lid parts and 10 bottom parts. The individual sheets of cardboard are pre-folded, but not folded and assembled.
So a little bit of tinkering is required.
This is not very difficult and did not require any extra instructions.
In a few seconds, it becomes …

Folding cardboard sheets for 50ft film boxes

then …

and as you can see, a 15m film spool fits perfectly into this small box, even with a cover ring.

You can also print on the boxes (with an inkjet printer), or you can print out the covers for these boxes, cut them to size and cover them with a wide adhesive film to protect them from fingerprints, abrasion, fading, scratches and other damage.
The normal adhesive films in stores are only about 2″ wide, but if you search a bit, you can also get transparent adhesive rolls with 4″ and 6″ width. (Link to it at the bottom).

The finished result might then look like this:

50ft Super 8 reel box with printed cover

It should not be concealed that there are, of course, dozens of other handsome, practical ways to get your film reel collection back under control.
Starting with the blank CD spindle, a 15 m film reel drawer, a film reel box for 10 of these small reels and even more processes.

Super 8 small reel drawer
Screw sleeve for film spools
Revue film spool box for 10 spools á 50ft

I am particularly delighted with the round covers designed by Klaus Schreier, which are laid together with the spool and secured by a throw-over (or slip-over) ring.

Round cover for 15 m spools

Even though there are many other neat solutions for larger spools such as 200ft and more, it should be noted that the folding carton manufacturer just described also has a solution for these spool sizes. Thereby each size is available in white, brown or black.

For 15, 30, 120 and 180m spools, this manufacturer of universal boxes happens to offer a really perfect solution and for 60m (200ft) spools a near perfect solution.

Film boxes size 15, 30, 60, 90, 120m (50, 100, 200, 300 and 400ft)

The 200ft spool fits a bit tight in the box, but still goes just so:

Stocko reels sit a little tight

Only 300ft reels are a little tricky. The boxes, which are suitable for 300ft spools, unfortunately do not fit 300ft spools of any manufacturer.
The reason: There are at least two standard sizes for the 300ft reels.
Some reel manufacturers have given this reel size a still relatively small reel core, which also means that the outer diameter is not so large (just under 15 cm).
However, other manufacturers have given this spool size a slightly thicker spool core, resulting in the 300ft portion of film in a larger film wrap, which requires a larger outer diameter of the spool (just under 16cm).
And for these 300ft spools in XXL, the boxes of edge length 155mm (outside dimension, inside approx. 153mm) are unfortunately about 10mm too small.
But you can get the small 300ft reels (15 cm diameter) in these boxes and also the 80m reels that Piccolofilm and partly also UFA used for Super 8 magnetic sound recordings with 65m length. Films like The Jungle Book, Snow White, 101 Dalmatians, Robin Hood, etc. were probably all delivered on these 80m reels.

80m lab reel from Kodak

90m spools from other manufacturers also fit in this box.

90m film spools from Schneider, Kodak, Kahl and Wittner

Definitely not suitable are spools from Stocko, PLAWA. Possibly other manufacturers. It is best to measure your coils beforehand. Diameter up to 15cm fit into the box. Larger not.

300ft film spools from Stocko and Plawa

16mm reels

Some of the boxes are even so spacious and high inside that they can also accommodate 16mm film spools.
This is definitely true of the box for 100ft spools.
And on the for 600ft spools.
I am not one hundred percent sure about the carton for 400ft.
50, 300 and 300ft I exclude. The boxes are not high enough inside for 16mm reels. At most for 16mm film on core. But who stores their home-made material on core.



15m reel
8 x 8 x 2 cm
20201512 white:
20201483 black:
20222136 brown:

30m reel (also suitable for 16mm)
10.4 x 10.4 x 2.5 cm
20201514 white:
20211657 black:
20222123 brown:

60m reel (sits a bit tight in the box)
12.8 x 12.8 x 2.0 cm
1304110287 white:
1309150478 black:
20222125 brown:

90m reel (only certain manufacturers / up to 15cm diameter)
15.6 x 15.6 x 2.5 cm
20211663 white:
20201321 black:
20222124 brown:

120m reel
20.5 x 20.5 x 2.5 cm
20222307 white:
20211728 black:
20222131 brown:

180m reel (also suitable for 16 mm)
22 x 22 x 3 cm
1302111578 white:
13141136 black:
20222126 brown:

Of course, there are other manufacturers of boxes, for example:

ADHESIVE TAPE (to seal the cover):

15 cm width:,p-as150,l-google-prd,pd-b2c.html

Bernhard Plank

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