How do you remove photos placed with double sided tape?

I have these big cardboard panels that I need to remove the photos from. I thought that tape was friendly. But I can’t think of how to get the things off safely. The ones I have were at risk while I tried, and it’s a problem. When they are safely off the tape is still sticky, meaning more stuff to deal with.

I have had success removing thick double-sided tape by jamming a thin metal spatula or palette knife in there. Once the two objects are separated I suppose you could gently scrape off most of the tape residue. Maybe wiping with 2-propanol will help if that doesn’t damage your photographs.

Try dental floss. Some methods suggest heating up the tape with a blow dryer but I think that may damage your photos. Same with products like goof off, theses would most likely damage your photos. Not sure if placing them on dry ice would work. In any case I would take pictures of your photos with a high quality camera before I tried anything.

If the photos are not overlapping I’d cut the cardboard between each photo and either scan them myself or take them someplace to be scanned. You can then make new prints from the digital files that might be better than the original photos.

I just Googled this, to see if there was any specific product for this. There’s one I saw, at $24 a can, or you can use rubbing alcohol, warmed if it doesn’t work the first time.

Great solution…if I can part with the originals. But a repro wouldn’t be better would it?

I’m going to try using string, not floss, dipped in alcohol, and see how much of that goo is left on the photo, if it even works that is.

Yeah I can see this is a big job. You end up with a lot of photos with a sticky band. I guess that’s what the alcohol is for. What a pain.

Well, the answer is, it depends. A scan and reprint can be better than the original. During the process you can improve the color if the original is faded from exposure to light, increase or decrease contrast, repair cracks and wrinkles. The cracks and wrinkles can be either in the surface of the print, or on the subject.

And of course you can make prints that are larger or smaller than the original.

But if you are going to the trouble of re-printing, why mess with worn-out prints when you can just go to the original positives or negatives? (I’m assuming these were original photographs.) And a digital original is even easier to deal with.

You’re making the assumption that the negs are readily available, which I find not true for very many photos. (I don’t think the photos in any of my family albums have extant negs anywhere. If there are, they are long gone, probably in a landfill somewhere.)

In my own life, and I’m 72, I have a box of prints from my folks that includes prints from as far back as the late 1930’s. No negatives exist. Even photos I took as late as the 70’s have no negatives. But I can scan and make prints as good or better than the somewhat faded prints.

Use a hair dryer to warm the tape adhesive till it releases. It worked for me to remove tape from some old photo albums from the 60’s and 70’s.

I would try applying heat from the back side to soften the adhesive if it’s solid cardboard and not the corrugated box stuff.

I think many people are missing the point that old photos are somewhat fragile and that double side 3M tape is very durable. Most all of the methods described online pertain to removing tape from durable materials. Using heat or chemical can very likely do significant damage an old irreplaceable family photo. Getting quality scans done is important, but it’s always better to preserve the original when possible. There is quite a bit of sentimental value in having the actual portraits of your family that actually were displayed in their homes on the original paper and in the original frames. Sometimes things are written on the back in a family members handwriting. I’ve known relatives to fight over the originals even after being offered high quality scans.

I hear you loud and clear. This was a “Life of” display going back to the 30s. I have some pics going back to WW1. In all the commotion you want to get the pics on the board and stay there for your service. You can’t think beyond that, and don’t have time anyway.

Obviously there are no negatives for this stuff. I worked on them last night and got them all off. Some were easy, a couple had a little photo paper get stuck, which I tried to minimize. More of them kept a little of the backing. The older they were the more fragile.

At some point I started to tear at the backing color, and releasing pics that way. The back of the cards stripped very easily, BTW, but the front was harder. The adhesive is still on most of them, and it affects them in a stack, but I don’t think it will be damaging, so I’m done with fixing them for now.

Original photos are invaluable. Paper, writings, physical presence are important.