How to Keep Construction Paper From Fading

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A staple in schools and art studios around the world, construction paper is a heavy-weight matte paper made from coarsely ground wood pulp. Construction paper is inexpensive and is available in a variety of colors, from pastels to brightly saturated rainbow shades. Unfortunately, a primary weakness of construction paper is its tendency to fade quickly, especially when it is exposed to sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Acid-free, lignin-free construction paper
  • Neutral pH paperboard
  • Acid-free spray adhesive
  • Acid-free spray varnish

When purchasing construction paper, look for words such as "light stable" or "fade resistant." Acid-free papers will also hold their color longer, as well as lignin-free papers. It's not just the paper itself that can cause fading -- supplies such as pens, paints and adhesives can also speed up the aging process, so choose acid-free, archival art supplies.

Keep construction paper out of direct sunlight. Construction paper gets its bright colors from dyes and other chemical compounds. When sunlight hits the dyes, the chemicals in the paper react by changing into other chemicals that do not reflect color the same way, causing the paper's color to change or fade. Lignin in the paper can yellow in sunlight, further causing changes to the paper's dyes and color reflecting properties.

Handle the paper as little as possible. To protect the delicate edges, mount the artwork on sturdy, neutral pH paperboard with an acid-free spray adhesive.

Coat the paper in an acid-free varnish and store it in a dark, dry place.

References

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