Archival Quality Elements in an Altered Book


Are you confused about archival quality and its pertinence to altered books? is one of the best places to purchase acid-free and lignon-free craft supplies. The prices are great and they have a large selection. Ships to US only.

Light Impressions specializes in heritage supplies, and has a great selection as well. They ship internationally.

The term refers to an element that is chemically stable and has a stronger protection from environmental factors. Archival issues, once the primary domain of archivists and librarians, have become pertinent to altered book artists and scrapbookers.

altered bookImportant: Your book is not acid free. Therefore, you can take steps that will increase your project's longevity, but it will not last forever.

Some altered book artists strive to make their project as safe as they possibly can; others say, "The heck with it," and use anything that strikes their fancy.

The environment is your altered book's enemy. Heat, sun, light, dust, smog, and acidic content in the book's elements will damage your book over time.

Consider the factors below.


All organic substances (paper, feathers, seashells, dried flowers, seeds, wood, etc.) contain acid, unless the acid has been removed through a special process. Acid content is measured on a pH scale. If a material has a pH value of 7.1 or more, it is said to be acid free. Any number below that is considered acidic. A reading of 7.0 is neutral.

Acid will destroy your photographs, pages and other sensitive elements.

If you have one acidic element on a page, the acid in it will transfer to surrounding photographs or other items. The acidic substance does not need to be in direct contact with other elements to do the damage. This is called acid migration.


Lignon is an organic substance found in wood fibre. It is acidic and will damage your papers. Many craft products available have had the lignon removed and are marked lignon free.


Buffered paper is paper containing a calcium carbonate equivalant of 2% or higher. Buffered paper will slow down deterioration, but deterioration will eventually occur.

Fugitive dyes are dyes that bleed when wet. This bleeding can occur in humid climates; the paper does not need to be in direct contact with water. You can test for fugitive dyes by wetting a piece of your paper, and placing it over a wet paper to dry. After, check to see if any dye has come through to the white paper.

Archival Quality Products

Many manufacturers are creating acid-free and lignon-free papers, stickers, albums, glues, embellishments and other items used in making altered books.

Archival Mist You can get products such as Archival Paper Bright and Archival Mist at Joanns. These sprays deacidifcy paper and promote long life for your artwork.

Return to Altered Book Home Page when you are finished reading about archival quality.