Embellishments That Can Ruin Your Scrapbooks

Embellishments That Can Ruin Your Scrapbooks

Scrapbooks are some of your family's most precious treasures. They are a legacy for generations to come. Did you know that some of the most widely used hand embellishments can ruin your favorite scrapbook forever?

What you need

By Wes Waddell


Luckily, with just a little knowledge and some simple preparations, you can ensure that your scrapbooks look just as good generations from now as they do today.

Most all of us know to avoid paper that is not acid and lignin-free. You’ve probably heard that many times before, and it is true. Lignin is a stiff component of plants and trees that quite literally holds it all together. Although lignin is necessary in plants and trees, you don’t want anything to do with it! After a very short while, lignin will cause photos, fabrics and other scrapbook elements that touch it to turn brown.

Now, knowing that, is there anything you can think of that’s plant related that you see in scrapbooks on a regular basis…?

How about dried flowers and leaves? You see them mixed with kids and first love themes all the time.

I’m not saying that you can’t use them at all any more, I’m just saying that since lignin is a major component in their make-up, that you will need to take some precautions if you want to use them in your memory scrapbooks.

You’ll need to make sure that no fabric or photo can come in contact with them, especially when the scrapbook is closed. You’ll also want to make sure that they are kept in as dry an environment as possible and not closed up in any sealed containers with no circulation. That is unless they are sealed up on their own so as not to contaminate the rest of your scrapbook pages. Vacuum sealing them or encasing them in a spray or other sealer before using them is something I would highly recommend.

Let’s move on to fabric elements and embellishments used in most every traditional hand scrapped book I’ve ever seen. Did you think that all fabric was safe for preserving your scrapbooks?

Unfortunately, fabric is often one of the most overlooked dangers to your scrapbooks life. Many people assume that all fabrics are acid-free. I’m here to tell you… they aren’t!

Silk actually goes through an acid bath during the manufacturing process, as well as many of your tie-dyed and multi colored fabrics. This isn’t to discourage you from using fabric for your scrapbook layouts and covers. Just try to make sure that no photos directly come in contact with any fabric you are not sure is acid free, and if you do need them to overlap a potentially unsafe fabric, just make sure there is a layer of paper or sealant between the two.

Then, like the flowers and leaves above, make sure that the finished scrapbook isn’t sealed up where the acid fumes could degrade any of the other scrapbook elements.

Another consideration when using fabric scrapbook embellishments is if the color will bleed off onto your page and other photo elements touching it. To test for this, I would suggest that you cut a small sample piece off and soak it in a small glass of water over night. If there is no color bleeding from it the next day, then there isn’t any real risk to your scrapbook.

But if you do see color in the water, or collecting at the bottom of the glass, then I would suggest to you that you don’t use that fabric in your scrapbook at all. It’s not worth the risk that it will spread with humidity and normal temperature changes.

Another common scrapbook embellishment that can damage your scrapbook if not treated with respect is Glitter. When using glitter, be sure there is a heavy top layer of spray sealant/adhesive to lock them down, or better yet, you can use special glitter glue where the glitter is mixed right in with the clear adhesive.

If the glitter is not encased in something to keep it in place for the long term… it will slowly come loose, fall off, and that loose glitter means scratched photos and other scrapbook elements. It will get into everything over time and that means a lot of possible damage.

As you can see, just a little knowledge in the right areas can go a long way in helping to extend the life of your scrapbooks into many future generations. But, remember, these are just a few simple things you can do to ensure that your scrapbooks tell their stories well into the future. New items are always coming along… never stop learning and questioning how they might affect your story of a lifetime scrapbooks.

Wes and Kathy Waddell are the proud owners of “www.ScrapbookKitsnBits.com” one of the leading sites in digital scrapbook kits and element designs. Instant access to hi-resolution digital scrapbook templates is only minutes away at: ScrapbookKitsnBits.com Compatible with almost all scrapbook and photo editing software!

Image Source: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by nate steiner


  1. whoa, thanks so much for these warnings. i’m starting out on my very first scrapbook and i’m using some photos that i would die if i ruined. i wrote all of this down and will surely avoid ruining my scrapbook. thanks again!

  2. Sound advice. And remember that some sticky tapes or transparent coverings can turn yellow over time. And that glue can turn brittle and flake off.

  3. This article was very inlightening,as I like fabric and had hoped to include itin my scrapbooking

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