Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Care for Old Photos

When I was transforming my grandparents photo albums into pocket page scrapbooks. (You can read about that project HERE.) I was concerned about how I was going to take care of these priceless photos that are irreplaceable. I knew vintage photos needed special care so I started researching how to care for old photos. There wasn't a ton of information out there but I did find a few helpful tips along the way.
How to care for old photos by @jbckadams

In preparation for my class "Gifts from the Past: Scrapbooking Heritage photos" I thought I'd share with you a few things I learned about how to care for old photos.
  1. Remove photos from albums that are not of archival quality. To safely do that I personally recommend removing photos from the adhesive by carefully placing a piece of dental floss under one corner of the photo, then, with a gentle sawing motion loosen the photo away from the adhesive backed page. You can find some alternative methods including using Un-Du Adhesive Remover in THIS article.
  2. Store photos in a cool dry place (specifically away from light and humidity).
  3. Spray documents and newspaper clippings with a spray that neutralizes the acidity such as Archival Mist or Krylon Make It Acid-Free.
  4. Don't use adhesive directly on irreplaceable photos and documents, always use photo corners. I prefer self adhesive photo corners. My favorite photo corners are manufactured by Canson. They come in a few different colors (Black , Transparent, and Gold ).
Now, lets talk a little bit about what NOT to do with your photos (vintage or current).
  1. Never write on the back (or the front for that matter) of a photo. The pen will eventually bleed through to the front of the photo. If you MUST write on the photo write the information on an archival quality label with archival quality pens. American Crafts Precision Pens are my absolute favorite.
  2. Never crop a Polaroid photo. If you do, the image will disappear over time. Also, never write on a Polaroid photo. The ink will bleed into your photo. 
How to care for old photos by @jbckadams

One final note, remember, ALWAYS scan those priceless photos before you put them into new albums. The scanner I use has been discontinued by the manufacturer. I found the Kodak P570 Personal Photo Scanner that is very similar and has great reviews. You can always take photos of your photos.

I hope I've shared with you something you can use about how to care for old photos. Thanks for stopping by today. 


  1. Hi Becki - I found my way here from Lain Ehman's scrapinar. Now I am inspired to start doing something with the photos I have. One thing I wanted to share - I have used dental floss and a hair dryer to remove more stubborn photos from those magnetic pages. It takes 2 people but it's worth the time. One person uses the dental floss and the other directs the stream of air under the photo. I like this method better than the microwave (eeeeek!) because you can control the heat and length of exposure time to the heat. It has worked fairly well for me. Glad I found you blog.....lots of good stuff here:) Kendra