Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Preserve Vintage Newsprint for Collage


When remodeling my house I found perfectly preserved newspapers from 1920s under the flooring.

I want to wallpaper a wall with these papers but am concerned the backside will bleed through to the front when I paste them on the wall or when I apply a protective coating over the top.

Any suggestions?

James

Polyurethane Laser Toner Image TransferHi James,

I'm amazed that they’re perfectly preserved. What a find! Are they still supple? Have they yellowed or cracked at all? ...

Now that you've uncovered the newspapers and removed them from their dark airless "tomb", time is of the essence. Newsprint, manila paper, and construction papers are highly acidic.

Light causes the acidic lignin to react ...

READ MORE

[The image used in the mixed media Polyurethane Transfer Collage above is a public domain copyright-free photo of famous singer and socialite, Lily Langtree, taken in 1885. Learn more about sources of copyright-free images.]

6 comments:

ACreativeDreamer said...

What a wonderful find for your reader Eileen, and what great questions to ask on your part too...I'm curious about their condition too. Another thing James might want to consider, check to see if his local print shop can print on news print paper. (If they don't have it, check with the closest newspaper company, they often have end rolls of newsprint they will give or sell for VERY reasonable cost) You'd get a lovely, newspaper-ish copy, with printing only on one side and thus eliminate the problem with the bleed through from the back. As for adhesive... good old wallpaper past would probably be an even better way to adhere them to the wall, and far less expensive than glue or gel medium!

I hope you'll send Eileen a photo to share when you get finished with the wall James, it sounds like a great project!

Tina Speece said...

I feel so educated right now...absolutely adore your blog for precisely this reason!

James said...

Thanks for your reply.

For the record, all the newspapers were the Spokane Review of Spokane WA. All the papers were from 1927 and many featured front page coverage of Charles Lindburghs famous NY to Paris flight. One paper was an "all color" edition for the Spokane Autoshow that year.

Though many were pristine, some were damaged from the linoleum rubbing whenever floor boards sagged under loads. Some had minor water damage.

You're correct on one main account, I uncovered them about 5 years ago and put them away for "future use", since that time they have degraded quite a bit and are yellowing. Since these newspapers are part of the house's history, I wanted to preserve them in a way that they would always be part of the house in a more permanent way.

Reproducing them in my opinion just doesn't accomplish that. If it were somehow possible to treat the paper on both sides and apply a coat of Varathane over the top without the bleed through issues I think they would survive longer than the house will.

Eileen Bergen said...

Wow! I wish you'd written sooner.

You can put Varathane on top after the gel medium cures (a couple of weeks to be safe).

Rather than Archival Mist, you might want to treat the more damaged pages in an alkaline bath, which will penetrate all the fibers.

Mix 2 T. milk of magnesia with one quart club soda. Refrigerate overnight.

Pour mixture into a non-aluminum shallow pan or sink. Lay one page at a time in the liquid. Let soak 1 hour.

Remove the page to a smooth absorbent surface (layers of paper towel, chamois cloth, or Sham-Wow).

Pat with another absorbent cloth to remove as much moisture as possible.

Carefully hang to dry or lay flat on a nonstick surface.

Eileen Bergen said...

You "adore" my blog, Tina? Thank you so much. I think I'm blushing.

ACreativeDreamer said...

Just another idea... what about creating a "fake wall", just something James (or someone) could build to go in front of the real one, put the papers on it, and at some point, donate them to a museum... fake wall and all. It's an incredible piece of history, would be such a lovely thing to share!

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