Acid Free Scrapbooking

The Issue of Acid and Lignin

Anything that touches your photos should be acid free and lignin free, including paper, glue, markers and stickers. Why? Otherwise your photos will discolor and disintegrate more quickly than they would naturally. Products that are photo-safe will be labeled. They may say photo safe, acid-free, lignin-free, or archival quality.

What Is Acid-Free?

Acid-free scrapbooking products nave a neutral or basic pH (7 or greater). During production, these products are treated with a mild base (or buffering agent) to neutralize the naturally occurring acids. Acid-free products have been used by historians and archaeologists for years to help prevent the deterioration of old documents.

What’s Lignin?

Lignin is the natural bonding element which holds wood fibers together. Newsprint contains lignin—you’ll notice how brittle and yellowed a newspaper becomes after just a few days. Like acid, lignin can be removed during processing to make scrapbooking paper safe.

Why Acid-Free Scrapbooking?

Acid causes paper and photos to disintegrate. This aging process is slowed significantly in acid free products (especially paper). Not all scrapbooking materials are photo-safe, so be sure your paper, glue and markers are labeled acid-free or archival-quality before you purchase them.

Buying products that are acid-free or photo safe will help ensure that your memories last for generations. Occasionally, you may find that you want to use an item in your scrapbook that is not acid free (newspaper clippings, greeting cards, travel brochures, ticket stubs, programs, etc.) If you want to include these items, you have a few options.

  1. You can photocopy them onto acid-free, lignin-free paper. Copy newspaper clippings onto an off-white paper that resembles newsprint for an authentic look.

  2. You can treat the items with a spray neutralizer. The spray coats the items and neutralizes the acid content - similar to the buffering process used in creating acid free products.


Make-It-Acid Free Spray-3 Ounces

Make-It-Acid Free Spray-6 Ounce Acid Neutralizer

Archival Mist 5.3 Ounces Aerosol-


Learn all about the acid free scrapbook supplies you'll need and want.
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