Acids and Photos
Acids and photographs don't mix. Photos have acid in them from processing. When those acids are combined with acidic paper, adhesives, memorabilia and page protectors a chemical reaction occurs. Over time the acid silently migrates within your album leaving you with discolored, brittle or deteriorated photos and layouts.
Our mothers and grandmothers had limited knowledge and products when it came to scrapbooking. The knowledge that acid is an enemy to photos and paper was limited to individuals who worked in places where preservation was imperative, such as national, state and private archives and libraries.
When grandma or mom needed an album to put their photos into, they probably went to a dime store to find one. There they found albums containing black or cream construction paper pages, magnetic albums, rubber cement, and lick-and-stick photo corners. I know, it makes you cringe, but that's because you've been educated and recognize the telltale signs of acidic deterioration. Grandma and mom just thought their photos were getting "old".
Scrapbookers don't want acids in their albums, and will go to great lengths to keep them out. We look for the words "Acid-free", "pH neutral", "Archival Safe" or the "CK OK" seal on product labels before we consider purchasing them. The "CK OK" symbol means that the product has been tested by Creating Keepsakes and has passed acidic-safety tests, thus earning their seal of approval. Companies pay for the CK testing.
The Right Adhesives for the Job
There are two types of adhesives: wet and dry.
Additionally, adhesives can be permanent, repositionable or temporary; which means they can be permanently stuck to your layouts or temporarily adhered--until you know exactly where you want an item.
The following charts are a general guideline for where and when I recommend using different types of adhesives:
I'm not a big fan of putting adhesives on the backs of photos. I prefer photo corners because I want my scrapbooks to be archival which means I can remove any photo as needed from their safe environment. Technology makes it possible for us to copy, repair and produce photos so the need to have photos removable isn't as important as it has been in the past. If you don't mind your photos being stuck to your layouts, refer to the check marked adhesives under "Photos" in the charts above. If you want your scrapbooks to be archival, use photo corners.
You may find it necessary to remove adhesive from a layout or other project. The following products can help:
UnDu - a liquid that safely removes adhesive backed paper and stickers from places you don't want them anymore.
Making Memories Glue Eraser - a hard rubber based eraser that safely removes unwanted adhesive overflow and adhesive mistakes. If used on liquids let them dry first. It also works well on excess Xyron adhesive.
Spotting Poor Adhesives
To identify wet adhesives you don't want in your scrapbooks, watch for liquid adhesives that don't dry clear. Glues for general purpose bonding, like those for home, office and school, may have colors added and may not be safe for scrapbooks. Always read product labels.
Suggestions for Avoiding Acidic Adhesives
Scrapbook product manufacturers are doing an awesome job providing us with specialized adhesives for most of our projects and I'm sure they will continue to do so. I've had the surprising experience of opening an album and finding page elements floating freely at the bottom of page protectors . Even Arizona heat has affected the adhesives I'd used. But that doesn't have to happen to you. Get educated and get stuck on the right adhesives.
© 2004 Jill Davis