Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is it a bad idea to laminate photographs?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42442points) October 11th, 2015

I have a very old, and very beautiful photo of my aunt. Can I laminate it to protect it?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

josie's avatar

Yes it is.. Back it with acid free board and put glass over the picure. Seal the edges.
Chemicals in the plastic laminating film will attack the photo.

Judi's avatar

Why don’t you have it professionally copied then laminate the copy. That way you will still have the unspoiled original but be able to preserve the copy in the more hardy form, that may not last as long, but can be handled more.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Laminate paper only, plastics and photos will react to glue and heat in lamination process.

Cruiser's avatar

@Judi has a solid suggestion as plastic/polymer overlays look awesome day one but many of the chemistry of their backbone is in question. Archiving historical pictures and items is something that plagues many of my customers and have learned that Styrene, Isoscyanate, essentially solvent free coatings will have the least detrimental effect upon archived items.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks guys.

The problem I’m looking at is I borrowed a few hundred pictures from my cousin to scan and save for her, of her family. My cousin has a good heart but she’s very disorganized and scattered (OK, drugs fried her brains over the years.) The picture I showed in the details was just tacked to her bedroom wall. I was picking other pictures up off the floor, in her bedroom and in the living room. She had a LARGE suitcase and a box full of pictures, among junk, like old bills, that I hauled home. I don’t know how that one pic survived as well as it did all of these years.
Glass would surely break at some point when in her care and scratch the hell out of the picture and do other damage. But I have to give it back…..

@Judi what is the difference between “professionally copied,” and just scanning it? Ragingloli could touch it up for me.

Judi's avatar

@Dutchess_III , Maybe now a ays there’s not much of a difference, but at one point, professional equipment was better than home equipment. Maybe if you scan it and send it to a professional printer it will last longer?
@Cruiser , I was saying to preserve the original however you pros say to do it and then it wouldn’t really matter if the laminated copy didn’t last long. Even the grand children could play with it. I have grandkids who don’t get to see my husband and I often so we give them laminated pictures of us that they can play with. :-)

ibstubro's avatar

For the original paper photos you can buy 3 ring binders for pennies (we throw them away at the auction), then order a selection of Photo Archival Storage Binder Pages (or similar).
The biggest thing to remember is that if you can’t or don’t ID the who and why of the picture, you just as well leave it in a box.

Our local history museum isn’t really interested in owning a lot of original pictures. If I give them the opportunity to scan before we sell paper memorabilia, they’re more than happy with that. Just make sure you have more than one digital copy and that you keep the technology that the images are stored on current.

msh's avatar

Please call or go to a professional who works extensively with this type of photography. After working with some at a historical society, please be careful what you choose to do. So many things cause damage to photos! Call or research for someone to ask what would be a safe way to accomplish what you wish.
Good luck~

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro I have been working with 5 generations of pictures of my family over the last week. I’m well aware that if there is nothing noted on the back, it’s a crap shoot. Just have to scan it and put it out there on our family page to see if anyone has a clue.
I scanned 71 pictures just yesterday for a cousin, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, laminating is a terrible idea.

The beauty of scanning, @Dutchess_III, is that it’s all but free. By all means, scan the unknown family members, but there’s not much incentive to spend money preserving the original.
You might want to consider the Archival Storage Binder pages for the more priceless (family wise) photos.

Dutchess_III's avatar

God. I scanned 190 pictures this morning, and managed to LOSE them before saving them. Shit shitty shit shit. Had to start all over, beginning with comparing every single picture in the box she gave me, with the ones I actually had scanned and saved to the photobucket account I made for her.

ibstubro's avatar

Why don’t you save them to a file on your computer or an external drive, @Dutchess_III, then add to Photobucket?
Other family members might appreciate having their own copy of the pix?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro, I appreciate your suggestions, but I do have them saved on my computer. Where else would I have saved them? What else would I have done with them after I scanned them?

Above I mentioned that I started a Photobucket account I made for my cousin. I’m loading all of her pictures into that.

Last week started a family group on Facebook. I, and another cousin in Washington, have been working our butts off to start albums, and organized, and get various pictures loaded, and identified, and sent to the right album.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m also building an interactive excel spread sheet, a modern version of a family tree. It starts with my grandparents who emigrated from Holland in 1929. When I’m finished I can send each family member a copy of it.

ibstubro's avatar

If you saved them to a file on your computer, I didn’t see how you lost 190?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I lost them before I had a chance to save them.

ibstubro's avatar

Save more often.
Even if they’re big files, you can scan 50–100 to a folder, then set it to save while you work on a new folder?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro You think I didn’t figure that out?

ibstubro's avatar

900 is quite a lot.

ibstubro's avatar

190, oops.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t understand why you are giving me all of these tips and suggestions @ibstubro.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t understand why you keep responding to them?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Everyone of my responses was designed to help you understand that I didn’t really need your advice on what I needed to do with the pictures, where I should save them, or who else should see them, or how to organize my files, or how to make sure I didn’t accidentally lose a million pictures again.

ibstubro's avatar


“I do have them saved on my computer. Where else would I have saved them? What else would I have done with them after I scanned them?”
“If you saved them to a file on your computer, I didn’t see how you lost 190?”
“I lost them before I had a chance to save them.”
“I don’t understand why you are giving me all of these tips and suggestions @ibstubro.”

Yes, I see your point, Alice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I had about 150 others already saved. That 190 that I lost was a second batch.

My question was, and still remains, why did you feel the need to tell where to save them? What did you think I was doing with them, if not saving them? Printing them off and putting them in a shoe box?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Maybe this will make it clearer. When I scan a picture it sends it to column on the scanner like this. At the lower left I have, circled in red, the notation of 1/1.
So then I scan the next set of pictures, and this is what I get next. 2/2.

It doesn’t save it to my computer until I hit the save button, circled in the second scan.

Well, that number read “61/61,” so with anywhere from one large picture to as many as 6 smaller ones, that was about 200 pictures. And my computer freaked out about something (probably the number I had batched,) and I lost them before I could save them.

So, I had to rescan them all.

Here is what each scan involved:

~Say I’m working with scan of 4 pictures.

~I scan the 4 then save them to her folder on the computer.

~Then I crop each picture out, and rotate it or whatever else needs to be done with it.

~Then I save the individual picture under it’s own name.

~After I have cropped and copied all 4 pictures, I move the original scan that has the 4 pictures batched, into a folder marked “Cropped.”

~Then I go back to the individual pictures. If it is vintage, and it has writing on the back, I load it into our family FB page in the appropriate album along with a description.

~If there is nothing noted, I load it into a special album I made on our FB page called, “Need Identification.”

~Then, back in my computer file, I move the picture into a file that is marked, “Sent to Family page.”

~90% of the pictures were not vintage, however, and those I just loaded enmass to the photobucket account I made for her.

~ Then I move all of those pictures into a folder marked “Sent to Photobucket.”

~ When I am completely done, I’ll be dumping the whole mess onto a disc for her and get the shit off of my computer!

I have been doing this since Sunday, and I’m about beat. That’s part of the reason I got so testy about your assistance. I was tired, and cranky, and in light of what I’ve been doing for 4 days it was SO unnecessary and it just annoyed me.

Not your fault and I apologize.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And my name’s not Alice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OMG I’M DONE!!!!! 369 pictures and miscellaneous stuff scanned and filed and saved. I am exhausted. Just a few more lose ends. Have to get blank CD’s. Also, I found 5 of those throw-away 35mm cameras in her stuff. Want to get those developed for her, but at least I won’t have to scan them.
Also, need to find some plastic covering for 3 of the pictures. I’ll figure it out tomorrow.

Time for a drink! A chocolate milk shake would sure hit the spot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

YES! What ever that mean, @Tropical_Willie.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, she had 4 originals that need to be preserved. Three of them fit neatly into a zip lock bag, and that’s just going to have to do.

I need to find something, some plastic like that, for the picture of her mother. It’s quite a bit bigger than the standard 8 X 10. And then I’m going to check Goodwill to see if they have a frame that size, and frame it for her, plastic and all.

At least it’s now all organized and sorted, not just thrown into a giant suitcase along with old bills dating back 10 years.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Check it out! Before and After.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Update. I went looking for a frame for the picture. Found exactly what I needed at Goodwill for $1.99. Best of all, it’s covered by plexiglass, not glass.

Well, I presented it to my cousin. I set it on the floor, in front of her entertainment system to get a picture and so we could look at it. I assumed she’d hang it up later. However, on facebook she said, “Thank you so much! I I left it right where you put it!”.......I suggested she hang it up, or prop it up on a table.

And that is why I wanted plexiglass and not glass.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther