What is all the buzz about using "acid-free" products for scrap booking, journaling and card making? What does "acid-free" refer to, and is it important?
When scrap-booking enthusiasts speak of acid-free products, they are referring to the pH level in the product, 7.0 and above being virtually acid free. In order for a product to be labeled "acid-free", the active acids that are present have to be removed during the manufacturing process. When you see an old newspaper or book that is yellowed and brittle, you are witnessing the destruction that acid causes over time. Can you see the value in using acid-free products for scrap booking, journaling, and other paper crafts that are meant to last? If you want those memories to be preserved for years to come, you must use products that will stand the test of time without discoloring, fading, and becoming brittle.
Because of the booming scrap booking industry, it is very easy to find acid free products. They are readily available in any craft store -- BUT can we trust ANY product that says it is acid free? Well, maybe, but if you are unsure, there are other ways to be sure your paper or ink is safe for your project.
One way is to buy a pH tester pen (available at craft stores). Just make a mark with the pen on the item in question, and it will turn a certain color of acid is present, or another color if the item is virtually acid free.
Another great product you can buy is KRYLON "Make it Acid-Free" (Nope, they are not paying me to say this!). Apply the spray to BOTH sides of any item for your journal or scrapbook, and it neutralizes any acid content, and also protects the item from becoming brittle. A definite lifesaver, if you are in doubt!
If you are planning to use an ink-jet printer for scrap booking or journaling, most ink is acid free. The down side is that printer ink is not water-fast or permanent, so it will not hold up to heavy use or moisture. However, if you still want to print graphics from your computer, the old black and white is the best way to go because it generally holds up longer than color print. To add color to your graphics, use acid-free pens and pencils.
There is something about us humans that we love to preserve our memories for the coming generations. With the abundance of acid-free products on the market today, you will have a better chance of having your projects stand the test of time.