Tips for Removing Photos from Scrapbooks & Albums


Sometimes you encounter photos from the past that were put in albums that aren't archival quality. They can cause the photos to yellow and become brittle. In "magnetic" sticky albums, the adhesive is so acidic that it can eat right through the photographs! Here are a few tips and tricks to remove the photos safely. 

IMPORTANT! Before you attempt to remove any of the photographs, make a high-quality digital scan of the page. Following ANY of the suggestions before can result in irreparable damage to your photograph. So be sure to work carefully and gently!

Option 1 - Waxed Dental Floss

Hold it like you're going to floss your teeth, then work the flattened floss under the corner of the picture, moving it gently from side to side. If the adhesive is strong, this may take a while. Just be patient. 

Option 2 - Conservation Spatula

Use the spatula to gently pull the photo from the page. Be very gentle because if you use too much pressure or force, you run the risk of tearing your photo. 

Option 3 - Cut it Out

If all else fails, you can remove the photo from the book by cutting it out using a blade. Be sure to use a cutting mat to protect the other pages. Use archival-quality paper as a backer in the sleeve to help absorb acid from the poor-quality paper still stuck to the back of the photo. 

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