By Christina VanGinkel
When choosing supplies and embellishments to use with your photographs in scrapbooks and photo albums, be sure you use only those listed as acid free. This simple declaration can mean the difference between an album whose photos are holding up decades from now, and those whose quality is becoming compromised by the embellishment, such as stickers and journaling, that was placed along with those photographs.
I once met a young women who had done some very beautiful pages of her family and friends that she was kind enough to share with me. A few years later, I ran into this same women and she told me how she had used whatever adhesives were in the house when she first started scrap booking, and that some of her first pages were actually deteriorating already. When I asked her what she had used, her quick rely was some small tubes of industrial strength glue her husband had brought home from work. Apparently, they were as far away from acid free and archival quality as one could be, as her pages were literally crumbling wherever the glue had been applied.
Some products that have proven themselves through the years to be safe include Memory Mount by api's Crafter's Pick. It is acid free, archival quality (it will keep photographs that it is applied to looking the same as the day you applied it), repositionable, and it dries clear.
Delta archival quality, acid free, photo-safe glue is another adhesive that will keep your photographs in your albums looking, as they should. No yellowing and it will not wrinkle and curl your photographs when applied correctly.
Elmer's, a name synonymous with the glue industry, has created a complete line of Craft Bond glues and adhesives that are acid free and archival quality. Each product has specific guidelines on the package for recommended uses.
Sakura of America produces archival quality inks in a variety of pens that will allow you to journal safely wherever you want to in your scrapbooks. They are waterproof, fade-resistant, ph neutral, permanent, archival quality pigments.
Besides adhesives and inks, be sure that any products that have secondary adhesives, such as stickers, are also manufactured acid free. Papers and albums many assume will also be acid free, but surprisingly, many are not. The best way to be sure that your album and all your work will still be looking new many years from now is to be diligent in reading labels for any product that you intend to use. Acid free, archival qualities are your main concerns.
For those times when you want to include an item that is not acid free, such as a newspaper clipping, be sure to treat it with a product such as Krylon's Make It Acid Free spray. It works by neutralizing the acid and raising the paper's ph level. By applying to news clippings, artwork, and other items created on regular paper, you can safely include them in your scrapbooks without worry that they will become brittle and deteriorate. A product such as this works well, but we warned that it must be applied as directed, and you will need a very well ventilated area to apply it properly.