Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Stabilo All

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum Labeling photographs in an "archivally friendly" way is a real challenge with more recent photographs. Modern pictures have a coating on the backside that is not friendly to the typical pencil, forcing people to use a pen of one sort or another to label the picture. Pens, even the "archival" ones, are not necessarily friendly to photos in the long run as the ink can eventually bleed through to the front of the picture.

Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist, recently recommended to me the Stabilo All pencil. I must admit I was skeptical that there really was a pencil that would write on the back of current day photos. After ordering a couple from Gaylord, and trying them out, I am thrilled! The Stabilo All pencil is like magic. It writes clearly and easily (I don't have to press hard on the picture), and it doesn't smudge.

I know I am not the only one out there who has struggled with getting her modern day photos labeled in the best way possible. I urge you to give this magic pencil a try!

Disclaimer: I am not employed nor being paid or given anything to write this recommendation. I used my hard earned sheckles to purchase my Stabilo All pencil.


  1. oooo, thanks for the info!!!

  2. Michelle - Great tip! I've experienced the same pencil problems, and I am skeptical of the archival pens sold in the craft stores. They are probably fine for writing on scrapbook pages, but I'm concerned about using them to write on the photos themselves. I will have to try the Stabilo All. Thank you!

  3. I have been using the pencils for a few years, they are the best.

  4. I researched 'Stabilo All' pencils on the Internet but I could not see any information as to why they would be 'archivally safe'. Can you elaborate please? Years ago, at a lecture on preserving photos, the Pigma Micron pen (black only) was recommended as being safe. It does work on modern photos.

  5. Judy, You’ve asked a really good question. I’m doing some checking too for a more specific answer. I’ve always been told that pencils are “safe” for labeling photos but why? And are they really “archival”? Pencils are better than pens for labeling photos because of the Golden Rule – Never Do What Can’t Be Undone. This is part of why I am excited to have an erasable pencil that works on photos.

    I also heard the same thing as you about the Pigma Micron pen. I’m looking through my notes to see when and where I heard that. I’ve used those pens for labeling as well.

    Maybe there is someone out there who can give us a more specific answer?

  6. I always like an honest product review. Good to know. This is one thing I tell everyone who will listen, label your photos or down the road they will thrown out when nobody knows who the people in the pictures are.