wikiHow to Remove Photos from a Sticky Photo Album

Removing photos from a sticky album is a tricky process that takes time and patience. Sticky albums have pages that are coated with glue and a Mylar plastic covering. Unfortunately, the glue is highly acidic, which can eventually penetrate the backs of the photographs and ruin them over time. Additionally, the Mylar sheet seals in the acidic fumes, which causes the photographic image to further deteriorate. If you want to remove photographs from your albums, exercise extreme care to avoid damaging the photograph.


  1. Image titled Remove Photos from a Sticky Photo Album Step 1
    Get an 8" (20 cm) piece of dental floss and wrap it around each index finger. Some people prefer waxed floss vs. unwaxed, but either type will work.
  2. Image titled Remove Photos from a Sticky Photo Album Step 2
    Gently slide the piece of floss under a corner of the picture and file it back and forth between the photo and the photo page. Use a sawing motion and go very slowly to avoid ripping the photograph.
  3. Image titled Remove Photos from a Sticky Photo Album Step 3
    Unravel the floss from your fingers and use a portable hair dryer to blow warm air on the photograph to loosen the grip of the album’s adhesive.
    • Turn it to a “low” or “warm” setting and aim the warm air at the edge of the photo while you slowly pry the photo away from the page.
    • Keep the air directed between the photo and the page, using a back and forth sweeping motion so that the air doesn’t stay on one spot for too long.


  • If you have a photograph that is rare or cannot be replaced, consider using a professional photographic conservator.
  • Before you remove photos from an album, make sure to note any inscriptions with names, dates, and places written on the album pages. You might also consider taking a digital picture of each page before attempting to remove any of the photographs on it.
  • Store all removed photographs in an acid-free photograph album.
  • If possible, scan each page of the album to your computer’s hard drive and make backup copies. That way, you’ll have a complete record of the photographs and all information related to them.


  • According to the International Museum of Photography, it is advisable to leave photographs in albums older than 60 years. After that amount of time has elapsed, the deterioration to the photographs has already occurred, and removal of the photographs without damaging them is nearly impossible.
  • Never use water since it will soften the image coatings, dyes or inks that may be on the backs of photographs.
  • Avoid using sharp instruments, such as knives or letter openers to pry the photos from the album pages. Even a dull butter knife is likely to tear photographs.

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Categories: Photo Albums