Tips for Preserving Your Scrapbooks
Nothing lasts forever, but you can help preserve your scrapbooks by making them with high quality materials and storing them properly to minimize chemical reactions and wear and tear. Remember, your scrapbook is only as strong as its weakest part; begin with a solid foundation and you'll be off to a good start.
If you're a serious scrapper (I know it might sound a little silly) invest in a good pair of white cotton gloves and a pair of tweezers. The less you touch your book, pictures and embellishments, the less oils and dirt they can pick up from your skin. These accelerate the aging of your book.
Make sure the components going into your book are acid and lignin free. Lignin is a natural component found in wood. As it breaks down it becomes acidic -- the acid will cause your pictures or fade and become brittle. This fall we’ll be addressing what to do if the memorabilia you’re adding to your book isn't acid free, so stay tuned!
Do you print your own printables/embellishments? Nowadays most ink jet ink is perfectly safe to use in scrapbooking. The big question still in debate is the longevity of ink. Typically black inks last longer, often several decades. Printing an embellishment with black ink and coloring it in with archival quality pens, color pencils, etc will technically last the longest; however, with proper storage and protection, color images will last a long time as well. (For specifics, you'll want to check with the manufacturer of the printer/ink you use.) Always check your printer settings to make sure they’re set for the type of paper you are using.
Make sure that anyone who views your book only touches it with clean hands, and keep it out of the path of potential spills – even a small spill can ruin an entire album in seconds, so don't risk it! Enjoy your scrapbooks, but when you're not using them, store them in a location free from humidity, harmful lighting (especially ultraviolet!) and changes in temperature. Having a HEPA air filter, a dehumidifyer and a temperature of around 65 degrees is ideal. Even the bookcase you store them in, if not coated in an acid free sealer,can discolor your pages and make your book's spine more brittle. For long term storage, think about storing them flat, in a box -- you can find many archival safe box options that are acid and lignin free and pH neutral at your local craft store.
You may need to do a little maintenance and upkeep from time to time, but if you take proper care, your scrapbooks will last for generations to enjoy!