I have found myself inundated with hundreds of newspaper clippings that I’d love to include in my scrapbooks. Some are from so long ago, that I’m not even sure of the dates or time period, and some are from recently, like when my cousin was in the paper with his professional soccer team, or when my son was born and my mother in law submitted his photo to her local newspaper.
Regardless of what I want, placing newspaper clippings in my albums is extremely unsafe. The amount of acid in those clippings is absolutely crazy. A newspaper utilizes the most cost-effective way to get tens of thousands of papers published everyday. This means using recycled papers and papers high in acid content.
Just look at a newspaper clipping that is even just five or ten years old. Typically you should see yellowing around the edges, or the entire piece might have turned yellow. The reason for this is that paper is made from wood, and that wood is made up of almost all white cellulose. Wood also has lignin along with the cellulose. When the lignin is exposed to air and sunlight, it turns the paper yellows.
But there is hope for me, and others who wish to preserve these memories.
Here are a few options:
Archival Mist and Krylon
There is a product called Archival Mist. And a newer one by Krylon called “Make It Acid Free”, found at paint stores. Most scrapbookers swear by these sprays, but they can be an expensive option. If you don’t have a lot of newspaper clippings this product might work well for you, because it will last a long time. You will be able to save it for future newspaper clippings. The solutions in these products neutralize the acid in the paper, stopping it from becoming yellow and brittle.
This is probably the easiest way to do it. Just scan your newspaper clipping into the computer and print. The best part of this is that you can adjust the coloring, crop out any unwanted print, resize and generally change many aspects of your scan. Then just print it out on acid-free paper and you can trim and adhere to your layout. If you don’t have a scanner, just take it to Kinko’s or another print shop and they can do it for you. You might need to provide the paper though.
You can actually make your own de-acidification solution. Many genealogists swear by this method and it’s probably more cost-effective than using the marketed spray products.
Start by mixing milk of magnesia with soda water in a shallow container. Let the mixture stand for about 12 hours or overnight. Do not place anything into the mixture at this point. After the 12 hours, place newspaper clippings into the solution and allow to soak for one hour. Very carefully remove it after the hour and place on a clean, flat surface. I recommend placing it on paper towels to help absorb the moisture from beneath. Very carefully pat the clipping with a paper towel, and whatever you do, do not rub it – this will rub the surface ink and paper off and you will wind up with a ruined clipping. Leave it to dry on it’s own for several hours. You might wish to place a paper towel on top and then several heavy books to keep the clipping flat as it begins to dry. Then test with an acid-free pen. It should work great and is an easy alternative to those expensive sprays.
You should now have several great methods for preserving those clips and adding them to your albums safely.