When applying alum to paper, how long can it be kept? I've seen comments that vary hugely, and even suggest opposites conditions:
- alumed papers can can be kept indefinitely,
- alumed papers can be kept indefinitely as long as they are dry and stored in low humidity,
- the alum should be applied, then dried completely, then used, say, the following day,
- the alum should be applied, then allowed to dry until the paper is not running, but still damp and 'soft',
- they should be used immediately after application of alum.
So... how do you treat your paper, and when do you use it?
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I apply alum, dry, and iron the paper. Have used these papers up to a couple of months later. However, I have noticed that papers which have alum applied several weeks previously tend to get brittle. I assume the paper is breaking down. Alum will degrade cellulose over time. This is very noticeable with cotton fabric. I do not know why the alum acts so quickly on cotton fabric. The fabric can degrade very quickly, in just a few days. It is best to marble fabric the next day, or as soon as the alum is dry, and rinse thoroughly. Also, on fabric, ironing can quickly cause the alum to brown and break up. This can also happen on paper, but it takes much higher temperature of the iron. I try to use papers with alum on them within a week or two.
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