The scientific side of keeping your photographs safe goes far beyond just keeping your photos away from water, dirt, high temperatures and making sure not to leave fingerprints and scratches. Although those are important, there are some more scientific things to be aware of.
Most scrapbookers have heard the word acidic and the words lignin free. Perhaps you’ve even heard of buffered. But what does all this mean to a scrapbooker and how do you take proper precautions to make sure that the supplies you are using won’t damage your photographs?
The first rule is always to look for supplies that are listed as acid-free. Consider it step one, if you will.
In addition, when purchasing scrapbook paper it is also important to research if it is buffered or lignin free. Buffered paper helps to reduce the acid migration. What this means to you, is that it keeps a product you might use that is questionable, or might have lignin from migrating (or moving) its way over to your precious photograph to cause damage.
The best advice I can give, which is generally step two, is to avoid using a product that you have any questions about. For some scrapbookers, they really want to use the product anyway, and this is ok too. Be sure you either have a duplicate photo, the negative or keep the photograph away from the questionable supply when placing it on the layout.
Beyond keeping your photographs safe, you want to keep your layouts safe too. So when you are purchasing page protectors for your albums, either purchase scrapbook exclusive protectors, or read the box and be sure the page protectors are polypropylene and PVC free. This is important to not only protect your photographs, but also your layouts.
The other supply that is a concern for many, is adhesive. Look for adhesives that say acid-free or photo-safe on them. Never use rubber cement or scotch tape or any other type of regular tape. Double sided photo tape or squares are still best. If you shop in the scrapbook aisle of your local craft store, or stick to shopping at your local scrapbook store, you shouldn’t need to be worried about the safety of their products.
Read labels. Best advice out there!