Photo Safety

One of the most important things to know when scrapbooking is how to keep your photos safe. Who wants to put all that effort into making a beautiful page if it will ruin your photo in 5 years – so I have put together the info you need to know to ensure your photos last a lifetime:

  • photos are produced by a chemical reaction so having them in heat, light, moisture or dust will speed up deterioration
  • make sure products are archival safe (see next dot point) especially if they comes in contact with your photo e.g. adhesives, mats, paper etc. Don’t assume it’s safe just because it’s sold in a scrapbooking shop – make sure you read all the packaging
  • archival safe – the following definitions are from Creative Memories website:
    • acid free – acid damages photographs, memorabilia, and artwork. Acid-free materials have a lab-tested pH between 7.0 and 9.5
    • pH – a numerical measurement of acidity and alkalinity, zero being very acidic, 14 being very alkaline, and seven being neutral
    • lignin free – lignin is a naturally occurring component of wood pulp that causes paper to turn brown and become brittle with age. Photo-safe, lignin-free paper products have the lignin content reduced to less than one percent
    • polyethylene – photo-safe plastic
    • polypropylene – photo-safe plastic
    • PVC – polyvinyl chloride (PVC): A common plastic that is not photo safe and should not be used in photo albums. PVC contains plasticizers (or softening agents) that can migrate out of the vinyl and cause photographs to fade or become discolored. PVC is characterized by a strong “plastic” smell
    • magnetic album: an album with pages that have pre-applied adhesive and a hinged plastic sheet that covers the page. The pages in these albums tend to be acidic and will damage photographs over time
    • buffered – buffered materials resist the effects of acids in the environment or in memorabilia. Photo-safe buffered material has an alkaline reserve of at least two percent calcium carbonate
    • photo safe – material that is acid-free, lignin-free, buffered, bleed-resistant and meets other „International Organization for Standardization 18902‟requirements, so that it won‟ accelerate the natural ageing of photographs. Photo-safe is frequently misused to describe materials that only meet acid-free or Photographic Activity Test requirements
  • lastly don’t write on your photos with a pen – you can get a special photo pencil. This will stop the indents in your photo and the ink running (over time)

I hope this has been helpful.



Filed under: Scrapbooking Storage

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