Tidbits on Stamping Bliss #3

Here is a great article that I received about all the terms we hear about when scrapbooking. Acid-free, lignon-free, cropping, etc. but what do they all mean? Here are the definitions of those terms. Click on the author's name to see more of her articles and scrapbooking information. She is a great resource.

Definition Of Terms
by LeNae Gerig

The Issue of Acid and Lignin
Anything that touches your photos should be acid-free and lignin-free, including paper, glue, markers and stickers. Why? Otherwise your photos will discolor and disintegrate more quickly than they would naturally.

What Is Acid-Free—and Why Does It Matter?
Acid causes paper and photos to disintegrate. This aging process is slowed significantly when acid is removed from paper during the manufacturing process. Not all scrapbooking materials are photo-safe, so be sure your paper, glue and markers are labeled acid-free or archival-quality before you purchase them.

What’s Lignin?
Lignin is the natural bonding element which holds wood fibers together. Newsprint contains lignin—you’ll notice how brittle and yellowed a newspaper becomes after just a few days. Like acid, lignin can be removed during processing to make scrapbooking paper safe.
If you want to include newspaper articles or announcements in your memory album, photocopy them onto acid-free, lignin-free paper. Copy onto an off-white paper that resembles newsprint for an authentic look.

Archival quality
This is a term used to indicate materials which have undergone laboratory analysis to determine their acidic and buffered content is within safe levels.

Buffered paper
During manufacturing, a buffering agent such as calcium carbonate or magnesium bicarbonate can be added to paper to neutralize acid contaminants. Such papers have a pH of 8.5.

pH Factor
This refers to the acidity of a paper. The pH scale is the standard for measurement of acidity and alkalinity. It runs from 1 to 14 with each number representing a ten-fold increase; pH neutral is 7. Acid-free products have a pH factor of 7 or above. Special pH tester pens are available to help you determine the acidity of products..

Photo safe
This is a term similar to archival quality but more specific to materials used with photographs. Acid-free is the determining factor for a product to be labeled photo-safe.

Sheet protectors
These are made of plastic to slip over a finished album page, They can be side loading or top loading and fit 5”x7”, 81/2”x11” or 12”x12” pages. It is important that they be acid-free; those that are will be labeled as such on the box they come in or the album they come with.

To “crop” a photo means to cut the photo. Most of the time, you’ll do this to trim out excess background like sky and grass to better focus on the main subject of the picture. When scrapbooking first started, I often cut our photos into shapes like hearts and stars. Sure, you can do this—but you’ll get a cleaner, more classic effect if you keep your photos in a square or rectangle shape. I do warn you though: Don’t get overzealous with cropping—you might inadvertently cut out something like a car or house that will have personal, historical or sentimental meaning later on. And please, please don’t crop those one-of-a-kind heritage photos! If you really want to, make a color copy of the photo (yes, make color copies of black and white pictures too) and then crop the copy. But save the original! I like to use the Kodak Picture Maker

I hope this helps you as you work on your own scrapbooks and other projects you want to save for a long time. I hope that this will make it easier the next time you are purchasing your scrapbook supplies! Look for information on my upcoming scrapbook classes and Scrap With Me nights!!

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