Book and Paper Group Annual
Volume 17 1998
The American Institute for Conservation

Removing Back-To-Back Labels

Bill Minter

I recently encountered a project where labels were attached back-to-back to scrap book paper. Fortunately, the adhesive was only at the corners—approximately one inch of paste at each corner. The major problem was that the ink on the labels was water sensitive, and the paper was clay coated. Consequently, the sheets could not be soaked in water to remove the labels. I tried to lift them dry but the paper was so thin that the labels were easily damaged. Therefore, I had to devise a better method. The following technique was quite successful and very efficient.

The support paper was wetted (water and alcohol mixture) in the area adjacent to the adhesive. After the outer surface of the paper was partially dry, a piece of plastic packaging tape was adhered—see diagrams. Note that the label is protected with a piece of waste paper. Another piece of waste paper was attached to the exposed end of the tape to prevent it from sticking to anything else. The same operation was done to the reverse side. By pulling on the two pieces of tape, the support paper starts to split. The split of the support paper continues between the two labels sufficiently, thereby separating the labels at that corner. Note: a mailing tube might be used to support one of the labels during spliting. After all four corners were split, it was a simple matter to tear the support paper where necessary to separate the two labels. Methyl cellulose was then applied to the reverse side of the label to remove the remaining paper and adhesive.





Bill Minter
Bookbinding and Conservation, Inc.
R.D. 1 Box 99
Woodbury, PA 16695
(814) 793-4020
Fax (814) 793-4045

Publication History

Received: Fall 1998

This paper was submitted independently by the author, and was not delivered at the Book and Paper specialty group session of the AIC Annual Meeting. It has not received peer-review

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