Do you worry about Archival-ness in your scrapbooking?

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Posted 2/22/2013 by OhSnapPea in General Scrappin'


PeaNut 194,578
March 2005
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Posted: 2/22/2013 11:31:38 AM
There are so many great products out there that I want to use in my scrapbooking but I am so afraid of things fading or ruining my photos.

Take the washi tape craze for instance. Is it all acid free? Most of the tapes I have bought don't list whether it is or not. What about wood veneers? Can they be glued onto pictures without affecting the photo quality after a while?

And the mists...and this is what I'd really like to know about...there are some awesome techniques that I'd like to try out. But are they fade resistant or archival? Nobody lists it on their labels. Why would I go through all the trouble of creating a page (and spending all that money) only to have it disappear. I've emailed 3 different manufacturers (Heidi Swapp Color Shine, Studio Calico Mister Huey's and Tsukineko's Fireworks) asking if their products are archival and fade resistant. Only one replied and it was a very lame answer that still has me questioning it.

Am I the only one worried about this?!!??


PeaNut 264,910
June 2006
Posts: 4,882
Layouts: 99
Loc: Arizona

Posted: 2/22/2013 11:35:03 AM
Now that our photos are digital it's my opinion that the thing to worry about is backing up the photo files. The photos we use on our scrapbooks are just printed versions of our photos and they can be reprinted. They're not originals anymore.


PeaNut 264,910
June 2006
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Loc: Arizona

Posted: 2/22/2013 11:36:10 AM
So no, I don't worry about acid-free unless I'm using an original that doesn't scan well.


PeaNut 113,955
October 2003
Posts: 2,099
Layouts: 29

Posted: 2/22/2013 11:38:13 AM
I'm not concerned about it at all. I think most of the things in my albums are acid free or archival safe but I don't really care if the page elements don't last beyond my lifetime. The writing will still be there and as Noell mentions, the digital files will still be there (provided they are protected and updated as technology evolves).


PeaNut 427,211
June 2009
Posts: 3,068
Layouts: 53
Loc: in my scraproom in PA

Posted: 2/22/2013 11:51:15 AM
I don't worry about it all. I agree with Noell - with the digital age of printing and cameras and all the technology available, there is no need to worry. If my mother's photos that are housed either in a box or one of those sticky photo albums are still around (yes some a bit yellowed but still in okay condition), than I figure my photos that are captured by a high pixel digital or SLR camera, printed on the best photo paper after being manipulated in some way, will definitely stand the test of time. I use ALL SORTS of items on my pages, even non-acid free things.(except newprints).


PeaNut 431,787
July 2009
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Loc: craft room, Minnesota

Posted: 2/22/2013 11:58:49 AM
I posted the same question awhile ago. Consnsus seemed to be that pics are digital now so no need to worry. But, I still do! Seems like such a waste to spend this much time and effort on my pages for my grandchildren and have them fall apart before they have kids of their own! Yes, many of the pictures can be recreated, but is that really what I want to have happen? Don't know what to do about it either! I am old and having some trouble adjusting to the digital age! LOL

Helen *Mc
Gone Walkabout

PeaNut 4,068
April 2000
Posts: 10,438
Layouts: 214
Loc: Aussie in SC. USA

Posted: 2/22/2013 12:00:41 PM
The things I worry about most are adhesive and paper. As long as those larger items are archival, the other little areas won't matter as much.

Most good companies do create acid free still. I think years ago it got to the point where everyone knew stuff would be acid/lignin free, so they stopped marking it on packaging.

The wood veneer will have lignin, but its more of a concern in paper because lignin is a 'glue' that breaks down. In paper, that means the paper will eventually fall apart. So using wood veneer as an embellishment isn't really a huge concern.

Real japanese washi is acid and lignin free. From other posts here in the past, the bigger name companies do create acid and lignin free washi.

I agree with the digital images, I think people are kinda forgetting that a lot of us still have dark room/processed photos that can't be replaced.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 395,153
October 2008
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Layouts: 139
Loc: Here

Posted: 2/22/2013 12:11:43 PM
Not so much as I used to, but I still want them to last for a while. All of my photos are digital (although I am not good about backing them up). I am making albums for myself and my own enjoyment, not for future generations to have. If things break down while I'm still alive I can re-do a LO (fine with me, I don't have that many photos to scrap as it is). I won't feel like I wasted money on LOs that break down because I got a lot of pleasure out of making the page and looking at it for at least five-six years.

That said, I do try to look for acid free just out of habit. I had a moment when I found out washi mostly is not acid-free after I bought a few rolls and used it on pages. I'd like to know more about the wood veneers too - so it seems that they won't make my pages all yellow, the wood pieces themselves could just break down because of the lignan?

Pea with a Pen

PeaNut 70,644
February 2003
Posts: 19,346
Layouts: 785
Loc: Southern California

Posted: 2/22/2013 12:47:57 PM
I stopped worrying about it about 10 years ago when I wanted to start using brads. I've been scrapbooking for just over 11 years, and everything's still fine.


PeaNut 110,802
October 2003
Posts: 934
Layouts: 85
Loc: Germany

Posted: 2/22/2013 1:46:48 PM
Yes, I do!
Last year I took a photoshop class. We got talking about how to store digital images and the teacher told us:"If you want to make sure, you have a picture for decades, get it processed in superior quality. CDs and DVDs go bad, online backup companies go out of business, tecnical standards get changed but you'll still have that pic in your album." Wow, that got me thinking!
Nevertheless, my main focus are archival paper and glue. I don't fret over small embellishments or memorabilia as long as they don't touch the pictures. As for ink and paint, I always try to buy artist quality cause they want their work to last at least as long as our scrapbooks


PeaNut 425,828
June 2009
Posts: 799
Layouts: 68
Loc: hanging out in me too land

Posted: 2/22/2013 1:52:36 PM
If you are still concerned after everyone's replies, you could get an acid testing pen. Does CM sell one?

Way back when, I used masking and Scotch tape to attach things, the results some 30 years later are not good. Strongly recommend testing! Of course, if they are purely decorative it probably wouldn't matter. I don't let them touch anything important.

I haven't tested wood but I have a hard time believing anything wood is acid free. Again, I make sure none are directly in contact with my pictures with insulating layers of pretty, safe paper and embellishments.

Mists, well, I like them too much. Many inks are fade resistant so I'm willing to take the chance. Worst case, they fade or turn odd colors after a few years. It will give a distressed look which is fine with me as long as I'm not writing my journaling in them.

Just my opinions. Sorry I don't know more.


PeaNut 331,372
August 2007
Posts: 1,263
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Loc: Netherlands

Posted: 2/22/2013 1:56:58 PM
I never worry. I scrapbook for the fun, not really to preserve the memories.


PeaNut 574,604
December 2012
Posts: 3,746
Layouts: 0

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:09:40 PM
What I worry about most is the adhesive. Last year I opened an album I'd done about two years before and every single item fell off -- the adhesive had dried up. The album was stored in a secure location that's dark and temperature controlled, so the causal factor was not environmental. And I'd used a bunch of different brands of paper and many different kinds of embellishments. The only commonality was the type of adhesive. It makes me worry about what's going to happen 10 years from now -- will everything in all of my albums fall off?


PeaNut 123,540
January 2004
Posts: 3,182
Layouts: 0
Loc: San Jose, California

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:20:27 PM

CDs and DVDs go bad, online backup companies go out of business, tecnical standards get changed but you'll still have that pic in your album."


But, I only worry so much. Many of my pictures are travel and things that nobody will care about after I am gone and as for the rest of them, I only buy quality adhesive and papers and I don't worry too much about the rest. Hopefully if they start to go bad 50 years from now somebody will rescue them!


PeaNut 273,602
August 2006
Posts: 3,993
Layouts: 99
Loc: Phoenix, AZ area

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:28:33 PM
nope, I don't worry about it a bit. Well, a bit, I suppose, but not obsessively- plus, I don't use *most* things right up against or on my photos. That's because my albums are not being made to 'pass down' to generations of children (no kids) or end up in a historical museum... I'm making them for us to enjoy, and for me to enjoy the process of making them.

ETA: I posted before reading-- VERY good point, Noell! (and one I am trying to get better at, backing up my 1000s of photos on a regular basis.)

7 years to get here... So now what?

PeaNut 251,919
March 2006
Posts: 5,411
Layouts: 19
Loc: Toronto, Ontario

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:29:10 PM
Nope. Never have.

CDs and DVDs go bad, online backup companies go out of business, tecnical standards get changed but you'll still have that pic in your album."

I actually had a CD go bad. I took it to a company that was able to save all of the photos on the disc - and it didn't cost an arm and a leg. I think it may have been about $20. Well worth the cost. However, since then I invested in an external hard drive where all of my photos are stored and I constantly check my DVDs and even reburn them just to make sure that I always have my photos. I suppose that if you are that worried about your photos, you'd print all and keep an "original" of them rather than just save them on a DVD or hard drive or online backup business because once printed, its easy to have them rescanned should something happen to your digital copy.


PeaNut 556,456
June 2012
Posts: 1,015
Layouts: 2

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:29:25 PM
I am another one who uses acid free adhesive and papers and I don't put washi and non acid free embellishments on top of my photos... Mostly . To some degree, I have a few albums of photos from my entire childhood and that is awesome. My kids are going to have a hundred! And if a photo here or there isn't perfect I am ok with that.

It is more about capturing the memories for ME honestly, and the creative outlet. I do keep a lot of my photos in divided page protectors, in embellished with journaling cards in other pockets though.
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PeaNut 194,578
March 2005
Posts: 928
Layouts: 18

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:39:32 PM
Hmm...lots for me to think about. I appreciate everyone's point of views.


PeaNut 389,367
August 2008
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Layouts: 6
Loc: Westerville, OH

Posted: 2/22/2013 2:43:46 PM
I don't worry about acid free/archival safe, and I never have. I don't care about archiving my memories for posterity. To me, it's all about having fun here and now! Of course, digital photos do make it all easier now. Like Noell Hyman said, I do worry about making sure I back-up all my digital photos in multiple places. Your hardrive should not be the only place to store them!


PeaNut 426,629
June 2009
Posts: 1,278
Layouts: 13
Loc: Kenosha, WI

Posted: 2/22/2013 3:10:22 PM
The only things I am really careful about is paper and adhesive. I don't tend to put anything directly on my photos.

I'm not as concerned though about things like washi and wood veneers because I scrapbook for me and to preserve my memories to look at throughout my life. DH and I don't have kids at this point so that may change if we do have a family someday.


PeaNut 426,629
June 2009
Posts: 1,278
Layouts: 13
Loc: Kenosha, WI

Posted: 2/22/2013 3:10:44 PM
The only things I am really careful about is paper and adhesive. I don't tend to put anything directly on my photos.

I'm not as concerned though about things like washi and wood veneers because I scrapbook for me and to preserve my memories to look at throughout my life. DH and I don't have kids at this point so that may change if we do have a family someday.


PeaNut 122,801
January 2004
Posts: 4,901
Layouts: 288
Loc: Ontario Canada

Posted: 2/22/2013 4:02:34 PM
Nope. Especially since all my carefully created acid/lignin free LOs from 2001 are falling apart because the adhesives were sh*t, so what's the point there exactly?

With truly historic/vintage photos, I scan and scrap those.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 35,782
April 2002
Posts: 5,098
Layouts: 1

Posted: 2/22/2013 5:49:48 PM
Yes, it is still a concern of mine. I first learned about acid free/lignin free and the importance of using archival materials in college when I was studying photography-this was way back in 1982! So when I discovered scrapbooking in 1998 through Creative Memories I knew that what the CM consultant was teaching was accurate information and not just made up stuff meant to sell their product.

My first album that I made in 1998 still looks brand new and isn't falling apart. Since then I believe in using quality materials and have been careful about trying to use archival products. I didn't stick with all CM products but branched out like a lot of us did.

I don't assume anything is acid free unless it says so on the package. I won't use wood veneers and I won't store my paper in wood drawers. I have been known to use a brad or two

I know that now that our photos are digital it's easy to print another copy but for me that was true back in the days of film too-just get the negative, write down the number and size I wanted and send it off to the lab.

The point I guess for me is that I'm doing this for two reasons-one is certainly for the creative outlet, but the other is to preserve my photos and the stories behind them. I have one child, a son who's 23 and he has absolutely no interest in inheriting my scrapbooks. That's fine. I do this for me. My scrapbooks don't need to last 100 years, but it would be nice if they lasted another 50 without falling apart.

Debbie in MD.


PeaNut 544,018
February 2012
Posts: 2,407
Layouts: 1

Posted: 2/22/2013 5:52:14 PM
I don't worry about it. I don't think anyone will care about my photos after I die, and I just like to scrapbook for my own enjoyment.


PeaNut 12,112
March 2001
Posts: 3,680
Layouts: 19
Loc: Iowa

Posted: 2/22/2013 7:03:10 PM
I've been told that photos are bad as far as archivally safe items go.

What are you looking at?

PeaNut 477,798
August 2010
Posts: 1,590
Layouts: 49

Posted: 2/22/2013 8:43:16 PM
I don't at all. I did for the first year or two when I started scrapbooking, then realized my main reasons for scrapping are for the creative outlet, stress relief, and to document my life for ME for now. Also, this comes into play

because my albums are not being made to 'pass down' to generations of children (no kids) or end up in a historical museum... I'm making them for us to enjoy, and for me to enjoy the process of making them.

I'm really careful about backing up and having printed copies of all my photos, though. I back them up to an EHD, Dropbox, and three photo sites at least once a week. I have printed copies of all my photos in photo boxes, and I get extras printed that I know I want to scrap. I also have a box of CDs of photos in someone else's home, so I'm pretty well covered. When I got film developed back in the day, I always paid extra for doubles, one set for my photo boxes and one for my scrapbooks.


PeaNut 512,808
June 2011
Posts: 173
Layouts: 2

Posted: 2/22/2013 10:12:06 PM
I too, had been sucked in during the "old days" when we we warned about only using acid/ligin free EVERYTHING....then I read an article, then several more articles that explained that most of that worrying is pretty pointless. For one thing, the items we put on our pages (photos and other mementos not to mention embellies) are rarely if ever free of these items, and neither are everything we touch, and breathe on, and expose to the air in our now contaminated. Now, if you are wearing a clean pair of surgical gloves in a completely disinfected room when you scrap(yes this is sarcasm)....THEN worry...otherwise, use what you want/like/have, and be happy. In other words, i think you can safely get on the washi wagon with the rest of us.

Perfectionist Pea

PeaNut 23,809
October 2001
Posts: 17,028
Layouts: 386
Loc: Just a short drive from Nashville, TN! (Yee-Haw Ya'll!)

Posted: 2/22/2013 11:03:49 PM
Nope. I don't give a whickety-whack as long as I have a backup of my photos.

I've only ever had one thing turn yellow on me. It was micro-beads that I glued with terrifically tacky tape all around a photo to make a border. You can see the yellowing on the opposite side of the cardstock, however, the picture remained okay. So I just don't worry about it. After 11 years scrapping - everything is fine!


PeaNut 407,397
January 2009
Posts: 1,520
Layouts: 614
Loc: Sunny Florida

Posted: 2/23/2013 12:10:20 AM
Only when I use original older photos.
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Resident Smart Ass

PeaNut 294,429
January 2007
Posts: 12,858
Layouts: 7
Loc: Indiana

Posted: 2/23/2013 12:16:35 AM
Nope. I scrapbook for my own enjoyment. Archival means it will last more than a hundred years.

Well, I won't and I'm fully aware that 90% of this stuff will hit a trash can when I'm gone. It doesn't bother me or stop me from creating.

But it does mean archival isn't a selling point with me. If I think I'll enjoy the process of misting or washi tape or sewing, stamping, inking, etc., I go with it.



PeaNut 412,905
February 2009
Posts: 1,708
Layouts: 5

Posted: 2/23/2013 1:21:21 AM
I scrap for preservation, I don't want to spend all that money and time on pages that won't last. I never use anything on my pages that I know will do damage such as brads, staples, wooden stuff, washi tape etc. But I'm a simple scrapper, so the minimilist look suits me perfectly. If I want embellishments, I make my own.

Yes, there are contaminants and nothing we can do will make it totally safe. But I do the best I can to enure my pages are as safe as possible - to me it's worth the effort.


PeaNut 18,334
July 2001
Posts: 38,143
Layouts: 15
Loc: State of cultural confusion. Yeehaw and Aloha have collided!

Posted: 2/23/2013 1:32:54 AM
My level of archival concern is directly related to the rarity and perceived value of the photos.

One of a kind, turn of the century print I am very careful with. My heritage album also holds formal mile stone portraits (like one wedding portrait or a 50th anniversary portrait) I am very careful with this album.

Other albums, like my childhood snapshots and my kids childhood snapshots are handled a bit less carefully.

And then there is stuff I shoot specifically for mixed media art projects. I do what feels right creatively without concern about longevity.


PeaNut 128,766
February 2004
Posts: 3,584
Layouts: 41
Loc: in my scrapbooking room

Posted: 2/23/2013 2:33:58 AM
Not really as much as I use to. With the day and age of digital, I can always reprint.


PeaNut 508,466
May 2011
Posts: 1,449
Layouts: 188
Loc: Sweden

Posted: 2/23/2013 3:03:51 AM
I don't worry about it at all. I scrap for me alone - for the craft and the process of it. My albums will not be going to children nor likely any relatives. It's all about the here and now and what makes me happy to create so I use what I like.

And as many have said, with photos being digital these days, it's not a concern for most. In fact, I discovered recently that one of the photos on one of my first LOs has some strange sticky stuff stuck to it so I'm about to go rip it off and replace it with a newly printed version.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 160,610
August 2004
Posts: 6,482
Layouts: 90

Posted: 2/23/2013 6:28:11 AM
Yes, I do I still have a tester pen to test the ph level in things ( I will admit I rarely pull it out though, because I check for archival safe labels), I want my ds to have the photos for as long as they mean something to him and future generations. I do recognize that everything will not be saved though because of the amount that I scrap, but what fun its going to be for him to decide what he'll keep and go through books page by page, Each page says " I love you" and it will be a final hug I can give him. So, yes I care but all I can do is backup photos, use archival items, seal my wood veneer pieces etc...


PeaNut 3,602
April 2000
Posts: 14,291
Layouts: 376
Loc: Massachusetts

Posted: 2/23/2013 6:50:03 AM
No, archival doesn't worry me. My grandmother's albums with newspaper clippings, corsages and programs with the pictures still looks great. And they were stored in cardboard boxes in the attic for decades - with no page protectors.

The only thing I worry about is the 70s/80s terrible color prints that faded and changed color because of the paper and process. But I guess today's kids will just think we had Instagram back then.
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PeaNut 58,996
December 2002
Posts: 801
Layouts: 12
Loc: The City That Never Sleeps

Posted: 2/23/2013 8:34:23 AM
I still make sure that my adhesives and paper, and anything that will touch the photos, is acid-free. There are enough acid-free products available to make this easy for me. Although I have back-ups several times over for my photos, who knows if these will be available to my children in the future? I have floppy disks full of photos from when my son was very little that can't be read anymore, and I'm glad that the printed photos are in good shape. In any case, it costs money to print my photos, and I put a lot of love and feeling into my pages, and I don't want them falling apart or deteriorating in 10 years. That happened to the photos in my "magnetic" albums, and I never want to go through that again. I think it all depends on what you are expecting from your scrapbooks. I expect mine to last a very long time. And if, for some reason they don't, at least I know that I tried.


PeaNut 147,333
May 2004
Posts: 1,077
Layouts: 77

Posted: 2/23/2013 8:49:43 AM
I don't worry as much as I did 12 years ago. I still do the same concept out of habbit where I don't allow adhesive or metal to touch on top or overlap my pictures.


PeaNut 412,905
February 2009
Posts: 1,708
Layouts: 5

Posted: 2/23/2013 2:11:55 PM
Just adding that next month on my birthday I'm starting my first album using pocket pages (a year in the life), and I'm really looking forward to it. I figure that I can add some "unsafe" things like brads, newspaper clippings etc, because they will be in their own pocket and won't come in contact with the photos, so potential future damage won't happen.

I'm excited!


PeaNut 515,147
July 2011
Posts: 739
Layouts: 0
Loc: MS

Posted: 2/23/2013 3:32:48 PM
Not like I used to. I also use acid free card stock and adhesive. I don't let anything questionable touch my photos. I am using the WRMK divided page protectors in my daughter's first year album so that I can safely include other items that might not be acid free.


PeaNut 267,237
July 2006
Posts: 722
Layouts: 0
Loc: Easton, Massachusetts

Posted: 2/23/2013 10:08:55 PM
I am concerned too
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PeaNut 405,405
December 2008
Posts: 442
Layouts: 1
Loc: Burpengary, Queensland, Australia

Posted: 2/24/2013 2:35:33 AM
I'm not so worried about it. The amount of pages I've done for my kids I don't think it matters. They already have more photos taken and printed out than I had for my whole life and my mum was a photographer. I'm more interested in getting the stories told.
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Stuck In The Bucket

PeaNut 494,372
January 2011
Posts: 703
Layouts: 173
Loc: Wisconsin

Posted: 2/24/2013 2:38:36 PM
I used to be much more concerned about it. I kind of got sucked into what the market had to offer about 5 yrs ago and out of the CM products as much. I know CM's are acid free, lignin free, and papers are buffered to absorb any acid from other items to keep them away from your photos. But then, they test everything before releasing them. I really should pay more closer attention to all of that. I agree with what someone else that said about it is such a waste of time if our books and pics aren't going to last.


PeaNut 264,910
June 2006
Posts: 4,882
Layouts: 99
Loc: Arizona

Posted: 2/25/2013 10:26:09 AM
RE: CD's going bad -- I do not recommend backing up by copying photos onto CD's.

You can get a couple external hard drives. Back up regularly onto one. You can tell when they crash so if you're regular with it it's not a problem. You can also back up a little less often on a 2nd one and keep it at a family or friend's home. And then you can back up to an online company in addition to that. Sure -- one of those might fail, but I highly doubt you'll lose your computer, both hard drives, AND the online company will fail.

When technology changes, you just change your backup system along with it. It's not a big deal. And guess what? If my house is on fire, I might be able to grab my lap top or hard drive, which also hold pictures of my layouts. But I won't be able to grab my dozens and dozens of scrapbooks.


PeaNut 427,211
June 2009
Posts: 3,068
Layouts: 53
Loc: in my scraproom in PA

Posted: 2/25/2013 10:44:25 AM
Nope - only adhesive and paper other than that I have fun with no worries. These albums will out live me, my children and probably their children. If in fact, they keep them that long and pass them down. It really not that serious for me.

[insert clever title here]

PeaNut 246,022
January 2006
Posts: 6,564
Layouts: 98
Loc: New Jersey

Posted: 2/25/2013 8:49:38 PM
I pay attention to whether items are acid free but I don't worry too much. If the washi tape or brads cause problems in the future, on most layouts, they are not touching the photos. And I don't used those types of items on every layout. If some layouts don't stand the test of time, there are many more that will. But with that said, I do try to use products intended for scrapbooking and most of those that I buy are acid free.
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