Many scrapbookers opt to keep original documents and photos in acid-free archival boxes, rather than expose them to potentially harmful elements. Seemingly benign items, like newspaper clippings, can cause damage to other treasures over time with their ink and acidity. Instead, use high-quality copies and be sure to store scans digitally for safekeeping. Plus, original documents can be quickly ruined by an errant glass of water or curious toddler. "Scrapbooks are meant to be shared, put out on the coffee table for family and friends to enjoy," says genealogy expert Kramer. So create them in a way that won't totally stress you out when people start thumbing through them.
On the upside, scanning and reproducing documents allows you to manipulate size to include more information than you otherwise could have on a traditionally sized scrapbook page. It also pays to take simple extra steps to preserve the authentic look of your heritage documents and photos. Verish encourages scrapbookers to mimic the look and feel of original photo documents as much as possible. "There are high-quality cotton-based photo papers, or even canvas that work well with older photos," Verish says. "A high-gloss photo of a turn-of-the-century portrait will look out of place in your scrapbook."