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Anyway to remove tape from magazine page without tearing it?


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I recently bought this WW2 magazine ad and a piece of tape stuck to it as I was taking it out of the packaging. I put a little piece of paper on it so that it didn't completely stick to the paper. I read online that a blow dryer might help, but I wanted to come here for help before trying anything.

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If you can get a little piece of a corner to lift enough to blow your breath under it while slowly lifting it the warmth and humidity from your breath may help you remove it.I have had good luck with some items doing this.

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I have a background in adhesives. However, I’ve never had to deal with 70+ year old product. I see you tried something and it didn’t work. This type of tape is typically a rubber based adhesive with plasticizers and tackifiers used to make it flow into the pores of its mounting surface and to have initial hold. After time the chemicals dry out, the rubber hardens and the bod is mechanical but less flexible. For paper these chemical will leach into it leaving a stain on it. Here are some steps to try next time:


Disclosure: I’m not a curator and my experience is in automotive adhesive where we try to get things to stick very well and for a very long time. So curator experience will trump me if anything below jumps out at one as a caution. My suggestion techniques involve a lot of feel, some understanding of physics, and a little luck. I am also assuming the tape is typical of consumer based Scotch brand type tapes and the adhesives are rubber based and not acrylic based. Translated, don’t be mad at me if something bad happens!

So knowing what I know from personal experience:


1. If your collectible is fragile, I would just leave it. Newspapers are almost impossible to remove tape from. Glossy magazines are possible. It comes down to the quality of paper.

2. If the tape was put there to repair a tear you should consider leaving it or you will need to be extra careful as the torn edges have far more surface area for the adhesive to bond to.

3. First step you want to see if you can get an edge to lift on its own. Gentle flex it to see if anything happens. Usually it won’t but you might get lucky.

4. If the tape was applied in the past 5 years or so try warming it with a hair dryer gently and then repeat step above. Do this several times in cycle. Hopefully an edge will pop. Heating reactivates residual plasticizers and tackifiers thus softening the bonds.

5. If the tape is older than 5 years or so, or you did step 4 and that didn’t work, freeze it. Do step 3 again in cycle until you get that edge to pop up. Freezing embrittlement the bonds and hopefully they will break..

6. If those don’t work individually, Try freezing then warming is fast cycles. This expansion contraction of the the rubber can break bonds.

7. If you can get an edge, you will want to find a way to apply pulling force evenly across that edge. (Typically a corn will pop and you will begin pulling and things look fine until you get to the other corner and then it tears the paper or stops releasing.). Tweezers work well for this. But also make sure you are maintaining the temperature that led you to success above. You should try to pull as close to 180 degrees as you can from it’s original position. This puts the bonding force that gets transferred into the paper on a very narrow point. The biggest thing to do is don’t rush, and if you sense it getting harder to remove, stop and do more temp cycles.

8. Hopefully the film release and you’ll be left with a stain looking exactly like the tape except with out the gloss of the film. If it’s just not releasing, I would let it go and leave it.


Good Luck!

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