Preserving Memories: Scrapbook Supplies, Scherenschnitte and Acid-Free

By Anne Wilbur Premium

Guten Tag!

As you research your German ancestry, you’ll want to preserve all those documents, photos and stories in a heritage album. We did some detective work and found these European-themed stickers for you:

The Sticko Destination Germany sticker sheet ($1.19) includes a bier barrel and flag, castles, cottages and a cuckoo clock. The Germany title sticker (99 cents) has clear borders, so it looks nice on any color background. You’ll find these stickers at your favorite scrapbooking store.

Mrs. Grossman’s Paper Co.’s Germany sticker sheet (about $1.80) features a beer stein, German flag and exquisitely detailed laser-cut castle and monument. (800) 429-4549, <>

If your ancestors hailed from more than one European country, consider Creative Memories’ Sightseeing Europe Stickers. The $5.50 pack has sticker sheets for seven countries in a classic, handpainted look that works well for heritage albums. Call (800) 341-5275 or go to <> for a local sales consultant.

Jolee’s Boutique Destination collage stickers add dimension to your pages. The Germany package ($3.99) includes a flag, castle, keg and a miniature dress made with real fabric and ribbon. For stores that carry the stickers, visit <>.

Make the Cut

Remember grade school, when you used to cut paper chains of little girls holding hands? That’s a form of scherenschnitte (share-en-shnit-uh), or paper-cutting — an ancient art that’s migrated to scrapbooking. Paper-cut embellishments are nearly as easy to create as those paper chains — and much more elegant.

Paper-cutting originated in China almost 2,000 years ago and spread throughout the world, with many cultures developing variations. Japanese kirigami began in the 11th century when nobles designed simple, circular motifs to represent family names. During the Middle Ages, German scherenschnitte adorned New Year’s wishes, love letters and official certificates. German immigrants continued that tradition in America. The Polish have used sheep shears to create wycinanki (vee-chee-non-kee) since the early 1800s. All that history makes paper-cutting perfect for your heritage album pages — just follow these tips:

Choose simple designs that reflect your family’s cultural background. For ideas, visit the Web site Paper Cuttings by Alison <> and borrow library books on the subject. One to try: Traditional Paper-cutting: The Art of Scherenschnitte by Susanne Schlapfer-Geiser (Lark Books).

Use a photocopier to copy and resize designs. Draw the motif on acid-free, lignin-free paper, or just tape the pattern to your paper and cut through both sheets at once.

Start with simple, foldless designs such as leaves or vines. Then graduate to single-fold hearts or trees, accordion folds or snowflake-style circular folds. Leave areas along the fold uncut to connect the design sections.

Cut minute details first with small embroidery or manicure scissors, then switch to a larger pair for bigger cuts.

Flatten cuttings overnight under heavy books, or press them between two sheets of paper with a warm, dry iron. Use photo-safe tape to mount the embellishments in your scrapbook.

Laser Looks

Love the look of traditional paper-cutting but don’t feel crafty? Gina Bear makes laser-cut paper embellishments, including borders, nameplates and frames, in contemporary and heritage themes. Prices start at 79 cents for two nameplates; most products cost less than $10. Choose from vellum or colored paper, with or without a peel-and-stick option that makes page assembly even easier. (406) 652-6610, <>

Scrap Speak: acid-free

Acid-free materials measure seven or higher on the pH scale (seven is neutral, one to six is acidic and eight to 14 is alkaline. Stick with acid-free scrapbooking products — acid causes paper and photographs to deteriorate, discolor and fade. Since there’s no legal standard for using the term acid-free on product labels, purchase your supplies from reputable manufacturers.
From the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine.