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 turn yellow and become brittle. The adhesive is so acidic in "magnetic" sticky albums that it can eat right through the photographs! Here are a few tips and tricks to remove the photos safely. 


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

Option 1

Waxed Dental Floss

Hold the waxed dental floss as if you're about to floss your teeth, then gently work the flattened floss under the corner of the picture, moving it from side to side. If the adhesive is strong, this process may take some time. Remember, patience is key to ensuring the photo is safely removed without any damage. 

Option 2

Conservation Spatula

Work the spatula gently under the photograph to help release it from the page. Be very gentle, as using too much pressure or force can cause your photo to tear. 

Option 3

Cut it Out

If all other methods prove ineffective, you can remove the photo from the book by cutting it out with a blade. However, it's crucial to exercise extreme caution. Ensure you use a cutting mat to protect the other pages and carefully handle the blade.

If adhesive or even paper is still stuck to the back of the photograph, use acid- and lignin-free backer paper inside plastic sleeves and envelopes to help limit future degradation.


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