Acrylic albums in various shapes and forms are one of the most unique and interesting materials for crafters and scrapbookers these days. Yet, despite the wide-spread availability of this clear non-porous material, very little is known about the characteristics of acrylic materials and what makes different types of acrylic better for different types of craft.There are three different manufacturing processes for acrylic and each has their good and bad points.
The least expensive material made is called extruded acrylic. It is produced by an automated method that involves die blocks and rollers. The downside is that it is quite a soft acrylic. Comparatively, it exhibits the least clarity but it is easily manipulated by punches, embossing machines and cutters. This product is more susceptible to scratching and cloudiness.
The second most expensive process is called continuous cast. It is also an automated process but employs stainless steel belts. This process is also used to produce large quantities of material but it is of better quality and clarity than extruded acrylic.
Accent Scrapbooking uses only cell cast acrylic. This is a “handmade” process that involves pouring acrylic materials into a mold which are then placed into curing tanks and ovens. The downside to this material is that it’s the most expensive process. The upside is that it has the greatest optical clarity and has greater surface hardness than acrylic manufactured by the other methods. Cell cast acrylic will resist scratching better because of this hardness. It is considered archival quality and some of the common uses for this product are aquariums, picture frame “glass” and museum displays. We at Accent feel that you will achieve better and longer lasting results with this material. Because of the hardness of our product, you will not be able to punch holes or use any of the binding machines that are on the market. If you are able to punch holes in your current acrylic albums, it is likely to be extruded acrylic.For more information on acrylics you can go to most manufacturers’ websites. The information for this article was taken from www.acrilex.com.