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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

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Old 05-21-2009, 09:37 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

Nice work Joe ! You have shown what a bit of creativity can do. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:42 AM
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resto resto is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

Great thread lots of good info.

I used soaking in distilled water a couple of times before (after taking some good scans) to un stick photos from glass. It worked well the pics were in decent shape to begin with so it was not to bad.

I think next time I will start out trying to use steam from a humidifier before I do the soaking.
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Old 07-10-2009, 07:31 AM
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Sweetlight Sweetlight is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

I have to disagree with Sally on this one.
Photos are typicall born of water. Just like you can refix fading and/or yellowing b/w's you can resoak film and images.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:45 PM
luddite08 luddite08 is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

My photo that is stuck to the glass is only from the 70s. Tell me which of these would not be good to use. Quickly then neutralize somehow: GooGone, mineral oil, denatured alcohol, mayonnaise, cold cream, Windex?
I tried scanning on my HP but the result was poor.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:50 PM
Joe Townsend Joe Townsend is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

I have done a number of these. Before you do anything, be sure to get as good a scan through the glass as you can, as a fallback. Not sure why your scan result was poor. Be sure as much of the photo is covered by the glass as you can. The parts actually stuck tend to have a blue tone that is correctable.

I do not recommend any of the chemicals that you have mentioned, especially -- no oils and no solvents such as goo gone (photo gone!)

There is a set of articles on my blog about this.
Soak in distilled water, if available. Add a photo wetting agent to the water (i.e., Kodak Photo-Flo Solution). Plan to soak at least 24 hours. Dry slowly. I place them in the ventilated crawl space under my house. See article mentioned.

The most recent such project was a photo printed perhaps in the 80's by a modern machine. It eventually came off the glass but but did not do as well as older photos processed in a traditional darkroom.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:21 AM
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crabbyphoto crabbyphoto is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

Photo-Flo is still available from many sources. B&H, Adorama and even or Rakuten. However, I most often use common dish detergent, a little drop will do the trick BUT I have been known to make the water pretty soapy when trying to remove a color print from glass.

Someone mentioned Cibachrome. The layers of a Cibachrome print can be rock hard when dry but fragile when wet. As with all emulsions when wet require TLC. Some knowledge of the paper its self is important.

As a rule of thumb I try to NOT re-ferrotype recovered images. Many time this results in poor results. Try air drying and then re-copy the print.

Jim Crabtree
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:39 AM
SkiTX SkiTX is offline
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Re: Removing Photos Stuck to Glass

Thank you for all your posts. Here is my experience. I have a 1990 8 x 10 color family photo on Kodak paper that was stuck to the glass. I decided to take the plunge and planned on soaking the photo.

First, I scanned and took a few digital photos of the picture with various exposures and contrast settings.

Then I soaked the photo in warm water for about an 3 hours with little success and I noticed the photo was getting a bit wavy and the gel was getting sticky on the surface of the photo.

I then decided that a little heat may be needed. This required a second set of gloved hands to hold the glass. I applied low heat gun setting to the glass where the photo was stuck. As the glass heated up and applying a peeling pressure to the photo, the steam between the glass and the photo released the gel. It was like magic watching the steam separate the photo from the glass.

Then the heated glass cracked off at the edge. We should have been wearing safety glasses. Luckily the break did not affect the photo. I was more careful heating the rest of the glass, spreading the heat more evenly and pulling more slowly.

The photo was released with no further damage. I got two paper clips and hung the photo to dry. I did notice some minor curling where it peeled off the glass, but it worked nicely!

Last edited by SkiTX; 07-14-2013 at 08:47 AM.
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