You spend a lot of time and money preserving your memories and your family heritage in a scrapbook. The last thing you want is for them to be damaged because of the way they were stored! Take the time to store them properly and you'll be sure they'll stay nice for generations.
- Keep them safe in between the pages, first! When creating any type of scrapbook, be sure to use photo-safe adhesives, papers and embellishments. Most scrapbooking adhesives are photo-safe (they'll say it on the package), but not all double-sided tapes are. Check the packaging to be sure. Also make sure any papers you use are acid-free, lignin-free and are photo safe. Acid from papers can eat away at your photos or can fade after only a couple of years. If you are using newspaper, construction paper, or any other type of non-photo-safe paper in your book, use an archival spray, such as Archival Mist. This is a permanent treatment that absorbs the acid from the paper and prevents it from spreading to other elements on the page, such as your precious photos. Finally, use page protectors over each page to ensure the quality of the page and to prevent natural oils from viewers' fingers from affecting your papers or photos.
- Keep them upright! When storing scrapbooks in a public place, such as a bookshelf, keep a few tips in mind. Try not to have them at a level where children or pets could get at them easily and without supervision. This could only heighten the risk of damage. Any amount of protection within the book will go out the window if the dog has chewed the cover off! It's best to keep your scrapbooks up and out of the way. You'll also want to keep them standing on end, as opposed to laying them down and stacking them. Embellishments on one page could easily leave imprints on surrounding pages if the books are putting weight on each other. Keep them standing up so each page is independent of the others.
- Protect them from the elements! Although direct sunlight wouldn't likely do any immediate damage to your books, the chance of prolonged exposure is a bit higher. It's best to keep your books out of direct sunlight so they're best protected. You might also consider investing in a fireproof and waterproof safe to store your books. As appealing as it is to have your creations out for display, one tragedy could sweep away all the work you did to preserve those precious memories. Having them in safe storage ensures that you are in control of their protection. You can pull them out when you want to show them off or continue adding to them. A safe will cost anywhere from $50 - $300, depending on the quality and size. When shopping around, be sure that the safe you're choosing has an interior size big enough for the total size of your scrapbook. Then be sure that your safe is locked and stored safely, according to the manufacturer's directions.
Taking a few moments to think about the long-term effects of your work and the storage of your books will save you from the disappointment of having your photos and memorabilia ruined. We cannot control every circumstance that arises in our lives, but we can be sure that our photos last as long as our memories (if not longer!).