Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stop Acid From Eating Your Scrapbook

In scrapbooking, there is one word that you will need to keep in mind at all times: "acid-free."

You can put anything on your scrapbook; but if the pages start turning yellow or forming holes, then something may be wrong. Paper made from wood pulp contains lignin, a polymer most prevalent in cell walls of plants and algae. Lignin causes the paper to turn yellow and degrade over time, even faster when exposed to light.

This could mean bad news for your scrapbook if you want to add newspaper clippings, as the lignin content of newspaper materials can affect the scrapbook paper. Lamination is an effective way to prevent the acid on the newspaper from eating through the scrapbook pages. However, lamination isn't always a practical solution in scrapbooking, especially for snippets and other entries that might need folding to fit a page.

To address this concern, paper manufacturers have created acid-free paper. While it's impossible for lignin to be extracted out of the pulp, manufacturers can neutralize it with a basic substance like calcium or magnesium bicarbonate. Lignin is a strong acid, requiring an alkaline solution above a pH level of 10 to make it soluble.

Acid-free paper is symbolized by the infinity sign. While scrapbook stores sell acid-free paper, not all of the paper they offer has this property. You therefore need to check for the infinity sign, or inquire with store representatives to make sure the paper you get is acid-free.

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