Jun 2, 2008

Acid-Free Albums

Acid and photographs don’t mix. Photographs already have acid in them from processing. When those acids are combined with other acids from paper, stickers, adhesives, and page protectors a chemical reaction occurs. Over time, this causes your pictures to become discolored and brittle.

Remember the old photo albums that had sticky pages. You’d peel back a piece of clear plastic and then stick your photo to the page. Acid free? Guess again. Mom and Grandma just thought their photos were getting ‘old’. Little did they know the album they were using was causing premature aging of their precious photos.

You would expect paper that you buy in your local scrapbooking store to be acid-free, but that is not always the case. Make sure you look for the words acid-free on all supplies you purchase. Often white and pastel papers will be acid-free while darker papers may not be. Paper dies often affect the acidity level. A pH-testing pen is a great investment for every scrapbooker. Be sure to follow the instructions on the pen, as the results are presented differently for different brands.

High levels of acid in ink, newspaper clippings, and other memorablia can make your scrapbook pages unsafe. Be sure that any paper touching the actual photographs is acid-free. There are sprays, such as Archiver’s Mist, which can be sprayed on memorabilia to neutralize acid in them. Another option is to copy memorabilia onto acid-free cardstock.

One other thing to consider is your hands. Hands are naturally acidic. There are products you can purchase such as the lotion, Hands Off. Once used, it provides about two hours of acid-free protection. If you don’t want to go this far, just be sure to touch your photos as little as possible.

While it would be nice to make sure all of your products are acid-free, sometimes that gets expensive. The most important items to purchase acid-free are the paper, adhesive, and sheet protectors. These are all items that will be directly touching your photographs, so make sure you buy something that will protect them.

After all, why go to all the trouble, and hours of work preserving your precious memories, only to have them deteriorate. A little bit of effort goes a long way when it comes to making sure your products are acid-free.

Return to the Neighborhood.


Keith Fisher said...

wonderful advice. I have one of those old sticky page things. makes the pictures look like they were taken in the fifties. You sure do a great job with this blog.

Kim Thompson said...

Thanks, Keith!

Nichole Giles said...

Wow, my high school scrapbook is done entirely in one of those sticky books. Maybe I should redo it someday?

Or not. Maybe I'll just try to catch up all the other books I need to do?

Thanks for the great info.


C.L. Beck said...

Great advice! Photos are too precious to have ruined. I have one of those old "sticky" books from years past, and the photo quality is declining.

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