Sunday, November 1, 2009

What Constitutes a "Scrapbook" Album?

Hi everyone

I started scrapbooking only a few years ago, so I'm relatively new to all this.
When I began puchasing all my scrapbook supplies I was told it was important to use ALL ACID FREE PRODUCTS as this would protect the life of your precious photos and albums. So that's the rule I apply to all my photo projects.

I have also been told that it's safe to use non-acid free items if they're not actually touching the photos, but even so, the non-acid free products will deteriorate through time.

YouTube and other web sites provide a vast source of information and tutorials from very helpful and some very artistic scrappers. This information is viewed by a very large number of people. The projects, hints and techniques are used by many. Quite a few are selling their scrapbook mini album kits. This is a valuable source to many scrappers who are not as confident with their ability to put together a mini album with co-ordinating supplies.

However, there are many scrappers out there who assume that all the products supplied in these kits are ACID FREE. What about all the young scrappers out there? What are we teaching them? Maybe we're naive, or just too trusting, to think that all the bits and pieces in the kits are photo-safe. Mostly they are, however there have been quite a few lately that I've seen using paper bags, old book pages, cereal packaging for chipboard, corrugated cardboard, used envelopes, pictures printed using non-laser printers, etc. What about giving these mini albums as gifts? Does the recipient know exactly what has been used in the making of these minis?

What I cannot understand is why we are paying a lot of money for our scrapping supplies (papers, inks, chipboard, embellishments) and then we go and use non-acid free items in the project! Why don't we just use cheaper paper? Non-acid free glues and tapes?

So what is scrapbooking?

The Oxford dictionary defines the word scrapbook as "a book of blank pages for sticking cuttings, drawings, or pictures in". So technically you can use any medium you prefer on your albums.

Confused? I still am. Are there no rules at all? Each to their own? I would like to know however, that for any kits I may want to purchase, whether or not they are 100% acid free. So all you talented scrappers out there selling kits - pleeeeeeeaaaaaaaaase let us know if there are any non-acid free items in the kits, then it will be up to us individually as to what we do with the items if we purchase the kits.

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts :)


  1. Jen - Before puchasing kits, you should send an inquiry to the seller. If the kit contents are not to your standards, don't purchase the kits. Even commercial scrapbooking products often don't state whether they're acid free or non-acid free (Color Box Chalk Inkpads, Heidi Grace Stickers, 7 Gypsies Rub On Stickers, as an example.)I have these products in my craft cave and nowhere on these products is there a reference to the acidity. So it would up to the discretion of the purchaser as to whether to purchase and use them. If you have a question about the acidity of the project, simply ask. The mini I created for you contains materials that are not acid free. Feel free to pass it on to someone who will appreciate it and use it.
    TTFN - LL & P,

  2. Thank you very much!!
    I'm a new scrapper of only a few months and have wondered and asked (without answer) the very same thing. I started with all acid/ lignin free papers and then fell in love with the minis out of paper bags and tissue rolls. Is there any way to use these other than to spray them with Archivers Mist? Thanks for any help you can give me.

  3. Hi Leslie
    When I first found scrapbooking on YouTube I thought I had died and gone to heaven! Then I saw mini albums and fell in love with them. I, like you, was confused about the fact that no-one seemed to care about the mini albums not being totally acid free. Until I posted this on and saw the comments posted in response to my post. Then I realised that the mini albums are just that - mini versions of our 12x12 layouts - but which can be placed on show for all to pick up and flick through like a coffee table magazine - Oily hands touching the photos and being out amidst all the dust. These mini albums were meant to be looked through and touched in the "here and now", not meant for a long life - but to enjoy today. Nowadays we can print our own photos whenever we want, they're all safe and sound digitally anyway. If we want an album to last for generations then we use the 12x12 albums with the sleeves. Once I realised this I so started to enjoy the freedom that the minis gave me creatively. I can practice layouts on my minis and incorporate them on a larger scale in my 12x12's.
    I have a YouTube tutorial on acid free paper bag albums if you wanted to make your own. You can see it at:
    Thanks again for commenting
    Happy scrappin'!