What challenges, damage or affect does acid and lignin present for scrapbooker’s?
Scrappers put in a great deal of time creating masterpieces of scrapbook pages and books. The last thing these crafters want is to have this effort spoiled over time by the effects of chemical reactions (acids) on their handy work. While there is sensitivity given to this problem by scrapbook product manufactures and providers, the problem does exist. Perhaps one of the biggest culprits has to do with using “around the house” items for embellishment.
Scrappers need to be aware of the harmful affect acid can have on the long term preservation problem they can create. Photographs, in particular, are very sensitive to acid. So, scrapbook crafters should be wary of using items that they aren’t sure are acid free or neutralized. By failing to pay attention to this warning, over time, wonderful works of scrapbook art will be accosted by the effects of this issue on their pages, and in their books.
Fortunately, this is a concern not overlooked by most scrapbook supply manufactures. They have, and continue to be very aggressive at minimizing or eliminating this dreaded problem from the products they produce.
The “Acid-free” and “Lignin-free” Issue
Acid is the chemical reaction brought by the inter-action of factors present in things. Oxidation is one of the prime culprits in this chemical fight. Acid, or the lack of it, is measured by what is called pH. The chart shows the pH level for various items. The range is from acid to neutral to alkaline. Both ends of the spectrum can be damaging to scrapbookers work, but the acid issue comes more from the paper we use. That is why we talk about lignin.
Lignin is generally found between the cells in all vascular plants. Lignin is what makes vegetables firm and crunchy. Lignin in essence is the fiber we need in our diet–so it’s not all bad; an essential part of healthy plant life. Nature provides us with a menagerie of plants with differing amounts of lignin; paper is one of them. Lignin is not an acid, but in the inner-action in the deteriorating process it gives off acids. Thus, we want to use lignin free papers to reduce or eliminate this destructive process which could cause damage to our photographs. (Although some photographs like Polaroid photos carry destructive chemicals with them.)
Using neutral (acid free and lignin free) paper is the best answer for scrappers. Paper is neutralized by bleaching. Other elements such as embellishments should be kept from touching items, photos mostly, that would be affected by acid deterioration. These items can be enclosed in neutral sleeves or covered with neutral coverings.
Most of us won’t be overly affected by acid issues if we use items produced or manufactured by scrapbook products providers. They have take care of the issue. Those papers or embellishments not marked as acid or lignin free should raise a flag about their use–especially those things we use from around the house.
As they say, “fore warned is fore armed.”
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