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Photo stuck to glass... how to fix it?

R.T. Dowling , Aug 09, 2003; 10:24 a.m.

My mother has a color glossy 8x10 photo (from the mid-'70s, on Kodak consumer paper). She recently decided to put it in a new picture frame, only to discover that it was stuck to the glass. She tried to remove it carefully but it started to tear, so she gave up. Is there any way to remove the photo from the glass without causing further damage?


Jerry Litynski , Aug 09, 2003; 12:55 p.m.

No. You could take the glass-and-print to a Kodak copy machine and try to duplicate the photo. A black-and-white print could be soaked (maybe) and worked off the glass: color is a bit awkward to 'wet' with any degree of success.

Constance Cook , Aug 09, 2003; 01:33 p.m.

Try steaming the outer side of the glass over a tea kettle and the heat and/or steam will sometimes unstick a photo.


Michelle Osborn , Aug 10, 2003; 05:43 p.m.

Try going to a custom picture framer and asking if using a product called UNSEAL would help. Every framer has this, it is like having a hammer if you are a carpenter. You might want to practice in a corner with a Q-tip and do it a little at a time. I agree with the other poster though, get a copy of it first so that you can have it if you "ruin" it by trying to take it off. Let this be a warning to you in the future (not trying to sound harsh or judgemental- just learn from the experience) not to put photos up against glass. A spacer or an acid-free mat creates an "atmosphere" between the photo and glass which aids in moisture control and moisture damage. I am a CPF- certified picture framer, so hopefully this will help. Water would just add to your problem because the color may not return when dry (remember how old the photo is to begin with) Also, you could try a paper conservator if the photo is really of any kind of value-sentimentally. It would be well worth it especially if the person has passed away and you can't replicate it if ruined. Good luck, Michelle

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