What is Archival Paper?

Paper was originally made from hemp, wood, bamboo fibres and water, according to the Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking. Now, it’s made from a wood pulp and water mixture, with some bleach to turn it white.

A chemical compound within wood called lignin, mixed with the bleach from the refining process, will turn to hydrochloric acid as the paper ages. The acid will break down the chemical compounds within the paper, resulting in what is commonly seen as yellow and brittle newspaper clippings.

While yellow newspaper clippings and letters can be charming, yellowing prints and canvasses are not. This damage can be avoided by using acid-free archival paper, mat materials, and framing supplies.

For example, not using acid-free glue when framing could yellow the back of a canvas, which will affect the value of the piece. “Any framing you have around the artwork should be archival, meaning acid-free papers, mounts, and glues,” explains Derek Smith, President of AXIS Fine Art Installation. An expert in framing, he stressed the importance of using acid-free materials to prevent visible aging.

Archival paper is made of cotton fibres and has a lifespan of more than 100 years. Before the early 19th century, paper in the United States was always made from cotton fibres, which is one of the ways we have protected valuable documents. According to the Library of Congress, acidic paper ages exponentially, meaning as the rate of acid in the paper increases, so does the speed of the ageing process.

At Annastrophe.com, all A4 and A3 prints are printed on Archival, acid-free Fine Art paper. You can be sure that the prints you purchase from this site will last you for more than a decade.