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Is Archival Paper Necessary?: 6 Things To Know About It

The conservation of art is a significant concern for collectors and artists alike. With all the buzzwords such as “archival,” “alkaline,” and “acid-free,” you might get confuse as to the suitable material or what type of paper to use for the prints. We’ve compiled the following list of 6 items you need to know to help you understand this. About archival paper and archival prints.

  1. Most papers are acid-free.

Although there is a lot of issue with obtaining acid-free papers for making artwork, the majority of papers available are acid-free today. Acidic papers were of great concern because the organic polymers, lignin found in paper, degraded as time passed, turning brown and hard. Factors like heat and light could contribute to this, speeding up the destruction of that paper. Now, thanks to modifications within the chemical composition of papers, most papers are acid-free. The papers we provide are acid-free.

  1. Alkaline is a different word that means “base.”

There is a possibility that the paper has to refer to as alkaline-free in addition to being acid-free. This means this paper’s pH is neutral. If it is at a 7-pH level, the paper is consider as a “basic” or “alkaline,” and if it falls below 7, it’s acidic.

  1. Naturally acidic, the paper has a pH

Paper made of wood pulp contains a natural acidity. To preserve the paper longer, an alkaline reserve like calcium carbonate (chalk) is added while the paper is creating. This helps protect against the acidity of aging papers and acidity resulting from environmental pollution.

  1. The term “archival” is a loose term for papers.

International standards exist for “archival paper” However, the standards pertain specifically to publications and documents; fine art is not include in that. Following ISO International Organization for Standardization (ISO),

Archival paper is used primarily for public and documents which is intend to preserve for a long time due to their historical, legal or other important value. Archival paper is intend for particular reasons, not intend for general usage. The word “archival paper” doesn’t mean all documents kept in archives can be describe as “archival documents.” “

While there’s no global standard, These are the main characteristics of archival papers for fine artwork:

  • Acid-free
  • Free of artificial brighteners
  • There is no wood-pulp

The archive fine art paper is made up of 100 100% cotton pulp. Since cotton fibers are more extended than wood fibers, they’re more robust and durable over the long term.

  1. Materials and the environment are equally important!

Alongside the paper, “archival” can also reference to the materials and the employe that how artwork should stored. Anything that comes in contact with the paper may impact the paper. Here are some crucial points to be aware of:

  • Qualitative of the Materials The quality of your oils, paints or other substances that are in contact with the paper may impact its longevity.
  • Matting Mats that contain acid could harm artwork, just as acidic materials. Mats are sold similarly in acid-free and archival versions.
  • Light direct sunlight can alter vibrant colors and make your paper brittle with time. Without adequate protection, even lighting from indoors can be harmful to artwork.
  • Environmental: If your artwork is hung in an area that is in a humid or hot environment, it could cause damage or mold. Colder temperatures are ideal but not too cold that they can become rigid. Ideally, the humidity and temperature should stay the same so much that it stresses the material.
  1. Archival can be use to describe the frame.

Archival framing, also called conservation framing, refers to framing materials and methods that limit any external damage to the artwork. Some artist can frame their work with cheap materials to move their artwork to the customer and let the customer think about the frame; however, your frame can be consider as conservation-minded but not museum quality.

Archival framing can have several advantages:

  1. Its glass shields against Ultra-violet light (UV)
  2. All mats and mounting materials are acid-free or slightly alkaline.
  3. The frame can be reverse without creating damage.

Archivalizing your work is a process that goes far beyond the materials you use. It can affect the frame which is place to hung. You can make your reproductions archival, too.