Scrapbooks have become a beloved and often used means of saving photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, documents, and the other assorted items which document the interests and activities of individuals, families, and organizations. While each item in a scrapbook is unique all scrapbooks share many common characteristics which can cause problems.
One of the major challenges facing scrappers is how to preserve their scrapbooks after putting so much work into them. Preservation is important since you can literally extend the life of your scrapbook but there is an overwhelming amount of information about how to preserve your scrapbook. And all of the terms can be confusing when trying to decide the best products to use for preservation. So if you are looking for ways to preserve your hard work here are scrapbooking tips for preservation-
•Many experts state that scrapbookers should be cautious when buying products marketed with words like acid-free. For example-Glue sticks are acid-free. But over time the glue can run and create chemical bonds that discolor or fail. Some experts feel that the only term with any objective meaning is pH-neutral, which denotes a product is neither acidic nor alkaline.
•Handmade and mulberry papers are also problematic. But even pH-neutral papers, photos and embellishments will absorb some of the acid of products they touch, which is why preservation experts recommend the use of buffered papers. These are pages which are treated with alkaline to neutralize acid and slow the aging process. Look for products that have passed the Photo Activity Test, a process that predicts whether harmful chemical reactions between scrapbook products and photographs will occur.
•In addition be very careful about the type of adhesive you choose to use for your scrapbooking. Many preservation experts recommend the use of starch paste or methyl cellulose which can be very hard to find.
•You also need to consider how you store your scrapbooks. An archival quality storage box provides a high quality storage enclosure for scrapbooks. These can usually be obtained from any archival supply source. Scrapbooks should always be stored spine down or flat in the box, depending on box design and scrapbook size. In addition if you shelve small and medium-sized scrapbooks on open book shelves between books of similar size this will help to prevent warp and distortion of the scrapbooks. Scrapbooks that have loose or detached covers can be tied up (package style), preferably with flat cotton tape, to reduce damage. Just be sure to place the bow knot at the foredge of the scrapbook to prevent pressure indentations on the covers. Wrapping loosely bound or damaged scrapbooks with acid-free paper can also provide better protection than just tying, and this is helpful even if the item will be boxed.
•If you are lucky enough to have inherited scrapbooks there are also several preservation rules that apply. Some of these are: touch carefully since bindings and brittle pages can break and scrapbook contents can easily become detached or torn. If you choose to make a photocopy, be very cautious about applying pressure that could break the binding of the scrapbook. Generally it is usually wiser to leave the scrapbook as you inherited it rather than to try to improve on its construction methods. Just attend to storage and handling and contact a conservator if you want to address repair problems.
The bottom line is that true preservation can be difficult to achieve for the average scrapbooker since most are crafters and not curators. But creativity and preservation should not be mutually exclusive and manufacturers are rushing to fill the gap with more preservation worthy products.