Sometimes scrapbook products and items can get rather pricey. I have been a scrapbooker for 10 years. I have seen the prices really high.
And while the price of these neat and "I want that" things are so high, the budgets we have for scrapbooking supplies usually doesn't increase. And those that scrapbook ALOT or have several albums going ( I always had at least 4) or (like I did) scrap every single photo ever taken of you children, these extra things tend to be to expensive for our budgets. I know there is a spray can of a acid protector solution - you spray on your papers. But it is out of my budget because I do so much that I just couldn't afford to buy that stuff for every page. Granted, it you can buy a can and use it sparingly or only on certain things like newspaper clippings, but what about the rest of the scrapbook embellishments? We still want to preserve and keep our albums from damage. But you can think about what you are doing and economize and still have well preserved albums.
Always use acid free cardstock or background papers. That is a must, as we all know. You can't scrimp on this. The cardstock, back ground, pattern papers are the backbone of the layout. Somethings you just can't economize on. HOWEVER... watch for sales! I know that Walmart has several options of reams of cardstock for a reasonable price. I get the ream of 500 white cardstock for $4.97. A penny a piece - doesn't get any cheaper than that! So what if the background of every page is white - utilize the other pattern papers for the color and embellishments. Also you can color up the white cardstock with inks and chalks! But this is your foundation - you can't economize on the foundation - just find ways to make it work for you!! Joanns' Crafts OFTEN has the pattern papers on sale. STOCK UP!!! Beautiful patterns, designs, characters, pretty much, you name it, they got it! I found a 12x12 sheet for each of the Disney Pricnesses - 6 for 96¢ so I got one of each of the Princess for my grand daughters Disney scrapbook. I browsed a scrapbook store one day and saw the same papers were 75¢ EACH!!!!
Matte your photos - at least once, but 2 or 3 times also creates a wonderful layout. Lots of color, and lots of acid free!
Even if you do 8x10, buy 12x12. This gives you 2 layouts for the price of one sheet of 12x12. First, cut out the 8x10 piece. That is your background paper of the first layout that you enhance with solid paper. The piece leftover - that is now the embellishment for the second layout - which has a solid back ground! Great for double page spreads!
SAVE YOUR SCRAPS! I mean it. Save them! You will be surprised at how often you just need a small piece of something and hate to cut that 8x10 or 12x12 just to get that small piece. I have one of those 3 drawer plastic storages. The first drawer is labled SOLID, middle drawer is PATTERN and the last drawer is OTHER. Anytime I have scraps I throw them in the proper drawer. Next time I need a small piece - for like die cuts or letters, I just flip through the drawer! The OTHER drawer is for like velum, or speciality papers. This has saved me so much money!!
And since not all scraps are 2'"2" - some are larger! Take several of the larger pieces and construct them for the background and you've made your background from scraps.
The only other thing that I would suggest you absolutely HAVE TO HAVE ACID FREE is the photo adhesive. Photo squares (which are my favorite) or that cool little runner tool thing - MUST HAVES. You shouldn't glue a photo. Even if the glue stick says acid free, you shouldn't use it on photos. Use the acid free glue sticks on other paper embellishments, but NOT ON YOUR PHOTOS. Loosing the embellishment you made is one thing, but loosing that photo - there goes the memory. You can replace the embellishment, you can't replace the photo.
But you want to put other things on your layouts. Brads, buttons, washers, envelopes, anything that you think of. Are these things acid free? There is a pen that you can buy that will tell on paper, but other things, wood, metal, etc, how do you tell? I don't know. So I use this theory. WHERE on the layout am I going to be putting the item? Think about it. I have this small bottle cap with a photo in it. Is the cap acid free? I dont' know. Am I worried that it will mess things up if it is not - well, no not really. Why? Well, first because it is metal. Metal doesnt' fade. Maybe the writting on it fades. but since I am putting a photo in it, what difference does it make. It won't get wet or rust. So why worry? Remember, you can only do so much. Nothing is guarenteed even though they say "lasts for 100 years". Just use your common sense.
Where are you putting the item? I have these little envelopes I got at an office supply store, I have no idea if they are acid free. But I use them. They are laying on acid free cardstock, they are decorated with acid free papers, and the card inside is acid free, and the entire layout page is in an acid free page protector. Other than 100% guarentee, this is a close as it gets. And if the envelope does fade, what damage will it do? It will probably take several decades to fade in the first place and what have you lost? Just the envelope. Again, no 100% guarentee, but pretty darn close.
So just look at what you are doing. Think about it with your common sense, and make your decision from there.
I welcome any comments you might like to leave or if you have any suggestions about acid- free....