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The Ultimate Guide To Acid Free Scrapbooking!

I still cringe every time I look through old family photo albums and see the tape stained corners of the photos.  Who knew back then that the type of tape being used would leave permanent yellow marks on the photos?

The same came be said of today's scrapbooks.  If you're not using acid free supplies, you are risking having layouts that eventually will show discoloration or stains.  But no worries!  The following provides everything you need to know about acid free scrapbooking!

Understanding what acid free means.

When scrapbooking first made its debut, the need to use acid free supplies wasn't really known.  But when scrap bookers began to realize that certain items in a layout, such as newspaper clippings or photos, were beginning to yellow or deteriorate, a change was needed.  That change was a need to switch to acid free supplies.

Acid free means that on a scale of 0 to 14, the item has a pH level of 7 or higher.  With this level of pH, layouts stand a much better chance of staying intact and not aging.

It all begins with the paper!

Since cardstock, background paper and scrapbook paper will make up the bulk of your layout, it's important to use acid free paper.

Much of what is available on the market today is considered to be acid free.  However, you need to read the labels to make sure that the paper is indeed acid free.

By starting with an acid free background, it will help protect your photos, embellishments and other items that you adhere to the paper.

Because acid free paper is more expensive than regular paper, you might want to look for good deals.  Joann Fabrics frequently has 10 sheets for a dollar and the large pads of scrapbook paper are often on sale for 40% off at the beginning of each season.  Walmart also offers great deals on scrapbook paper.

The American Crafts ph Tester Pen

So what if you already have a big stash of paper and you're not sure if its acid free or not?  Well there's a great tool that can help you find out by detecting acid!

The American Crafts ph Tester Pen, such as the one that Amazon sells, contains a specially formulated solution to measure pH levels.  You simply draw a short line on the paper and if the line appears blue or lavender then the paper contains a desirable acidity level.  However, if the line is yellow or colorless, then the paper shouldn't be used for scrapbooking.  This pen is especially handy if you have an older scrapbook, or even a photo album, and you want to find out whether or not your photos are safe from yellowing or deteriorating.

The American Crafts ph Tester Pen

What about acid free adhesives?

When adhering your items to your layout you want to use acid free adhesives, such as sprays, glue sticks, photo corners and scrapbooking tape.  Again, you need to check the labels.  If the package doesn't say acid free or photo safe, then there's a high chance that it isn't.  By skimping and using cheap adhesives, you're risking damaging your photos.  So what are some of the best acid free adhesives?  Check these out:
• Acid-free spray. To help preserve items that aren't made from acid free paper, using a spray, such as Krylon's Make It Acid-Free Spray, is a good investment. By applying one application onto newspaper clippings, a message from a greeting card, a school report card, an important document, etc., the spray will instantly neutralize acid by raising the paper's pH level. You won't have to worry about yellowing, brittleness or deterioration. I love this product and use it a lot!!

•Acid-free glue sticks. Companies such as Scotch and Elmer's now offer acid-free glue sticks. These are good to use when adhering paper to paper. Although these glue sticks could be used for photos, it's not recommended. Sometimes the glue is lumpy and will cause little bumps behind the photos.

•Acid-free photo corners. To safely adhere photos to your layout, use a product such as Scotch or Lineco photo corners. The photo corners can be placed on two or all four corners of a photo and then adhered to the layout with the self-sticking backs. One nice thing about using photo corners is it allows you to remove a photo if you ever needed to make a copy of it.

• Acid-free tape. Using a tape glider, such as 3M, will allow you to apply a thin, strong line of acid free adhesive that will bond instantly with the materials that it's in contact with. You can also purchase tape squares, but you want to be careful not to handle the sticky part of the squares too much.

• Acid-free scrappy glue. When gluing mixed media, such as glitter, jewels, sequins, buttons, etc., scrappy glue is a super-strong acid free glue. The glue will dry clear which makes it one of the best scrapbooking supplies to keep on hand.

Krylon’s Make It Acid-Free Spray!
Krylon's Make It Acid-Free Spray!
In addition to acid free paper and adhesives, you'll want to use acid-free markers. Otherwise, your journaling can fade over time.

As you know from experience, putting together a cherished scrapbook involves a lot of time, effort and love. By using acid free materials, your scrapbooks will be able to be passed from one generation to the next, without worrying about yellowing, deteriorating, or brittle pages.

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