How to Scrap and Preserve Polaroid Photos

By Elizabeth (Lisa)Thompson
Polaroid photographs can present a challenge to scrapbook.

Scrapbooking offers a way for crafters to creatively preserve photos in an archival, safe environment. Some photographs are difficult to scrapbook because they are fragile and can easily deteriorate. Polaroid photos fall into this category and present a special challenge to scrapbook because the colors and dyes used in them are not as stable as those used in traditional prints. By following a few simple steps, you can safely scrap and preserve Polaroid pictures.

Have any Polaroids which are cracked or curled professionally restored. Overhandling of the Polaroid can cause further tears and rips. Scanning photographs that are too decomposed can result in poor-quality reproductions or even further damage. A professional can restore the photo through humidifying it slowly, a little at a time. This will make it pliable as they uncurl the picture and flatten it. The process may need to be repeated several times before it is effective.

Scan the photo yourself or professionally at high resolution so it can be digitally restored.

Digitally retouch the photo to remove scratches or tears and apply any needed color corrections to adjust the tones of the photograph.

Print the final version of the photo.

Organize the Polaroids on the card stock or patterned paper as desired. Use extra caution when handling the original Polaroids so you do not get fingerprints on them.

Use an adhesive such as acid-free, double-sided tape or photo tabs. Polaroid photos can be heavier and thicker than other photos, so you may need extra adhesive. Use at least eight photo tabs per picture.

Add more embellishments as desired, taking care that you do not overwhelm the page or photograph with all types of add-ons. Polaroids tend to be more fragile than other pictures, especially if you use originals and not scanned copies. Select embellishments with care and use them sparingly.

Tip

Scanning Polaroids, even if they are not damaged, ensures you have a good quality copy of the original that won't deteriorate due to later possible chemical leakage.

Warning

Do not attempt to cut or trim Polaroid photographs. The chemicals can leak out, cause accelerated aging, and the pictures may fall apart. If needed, scan the photographs and then crop them as desired.