What does acid and lignin free mean?

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 Here is a simple explanation for some commonly used scrapbooking terms that will help us keep our special memories safe!


When Scrapbooking, anything that touches your photos should be acid and lignin free, including paper, glue, pens/markers and stickers. The presence of acid and/or lignin would cause the photos to discolour and disintegrate quicker than they would naturally.
Acid-free, Lignin free and photo safe products will usually be labelled as such.

Acid causes paper and photos to disintegrate. This aging process is significantly slowed when the acid is removed from paper during the manufacturing process. Not all scrapbooking items are photo-safe so be sure to check before you but that your desired items are acid-free or archival quality

Lignin free?
Lignin is the natural bonding element which holds wood fibres together. Newspaper contains lignin - you will have noticed that newspaper can become brittle and discoloured with age! So, if you want to include Newspaper articles, pictures or announcements in your scrapbook, first photocopy or print on acid and lignin free paper (use off-white paper for an authentic feel!)
Like acid, lignin can be removed during the manufacturing process so suitable products should be labelled lignin free or archival quality.


This term is only applied to products which have been specially tested to measure their acidic and buffered content and it has been shown to fall within acceptable parameters/safe levels.

Buffered Paper
During manufacturing, a buffering agent such as calcium carbonate can be added to paper to neutralize acid contaminants. Such papers usually have a pH of about 8.5

pH Factor
This refers to the acidity level. the pH scales is the standard for measurement of alkalinity and acidity. It runs from 1 to 14 with each number representing a ten-fold increase - pH neutral is 7.
Acid-free products have a pH of 7 or above and pH tester pens are available to check acidity, however, acid-free products will be labelled accordingly.


This is a term similar to Archival quality but specific to materials used with photographs. Photo safe products are acid-free.

Hope this helps!

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