How To Safely Remove Photos Stuck To A Photo Album

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Do This First…

Before you start removing photos I want to emphasize how important it is to FIRST scan or photograph all the pages of your photo album from beginning to end. That way you’ll have a record of what the album looked like and it’ll tell you the sequence of the photos which are probably in chronological order. That info will be very helpful as you work with the photos later on. 

Another reason for scanning all the pages first is that there’s always the possibility of damaging a photo when you try to remove it, so you want to be double sure that you get a good scan of all the pages first.

So now let me explain how I remove photos that are stuck to album pages.

NOTE: If you’re a visual person you may want to actually watch a video of me removing a photo. Here’s my YouTube video:

For everyone else, read on…

Demo Albums

I originally used this method of removing photos on the old Magnetic “sticky” albums back when we realized the sticky pages were causing our photos to deteriorate. I removed all my photos at that time using this method, and yes, some photos were really stuck and took more time and effort but the technique didn’t change.

In my YouTube video I demonstrate this technique with a Creative Memories photo album because I no longer have any of my old Magnetic “sticky” albums, but with either kind of album you run into the same problem—photos stuck to the page not wanting to budge, and this is how you coax them to come off.

My Preferred Method: Use A Straight-Edge Knife

Use a straight-edge knife (not a serrated knife) to remove photos. Make sure it’s small enough that it’s easy to handle, and if it’s your first time doing this, start with a photo where it doesn’t matter if you mess up. That way you can get the hang of it without possibly ruining an important photo.

  • Slide the blade of your knife under a corner of the photo.
  • Rotate your wrist and forearm (but not your elbow) slightly down toward the photo book page to give the knife a very small slant. Don’t overdo the slant!
  • At the same time put a small amount of pressure inward toward the center of the photo.
  • Keep your hand and arm stiffly in that position as you move your elbow slightly away from your body and then back toward your body in a rocking motion—which will give the knife a slightly curved forward and backward motion. Don’t go straight forward and backward like you’re sawing a log. Rather it should feel like you’re moving in a gentle semi-circle around an edge to chip away at the glue from several angles.
  • Once you’ve made some headway on the corner move your knife slightly further to one side of the sticky tab for awhile and then to the other side of the sticky tab for awhile and then back to the middle of the tab again, always using the same slight rocking motion. This will take the knife inward toward the center of the photo, working its way through the glue.
  • With Creative Memories sticky tabs it doesn’t take long before the first corner is free and you can work on another corner. It doesn’t matter whether you start from the outside of a corner and move inward or start under the photo and move outward toward the corner—use whichever position is most convenient. Either way you would use the same technique.
  • If you’re working on a magnetic album where the entire back of the photo is stuck it may take a little longer, but I found that most of my sticky album photos came off easily and only a few resistant photos took a bit more time and patience.

So using a knife is MY preferred method for removing photos stuck to a photo album page.

Another Method: Dental Floss

Another method you may have heard of to remove photos is using dental floss to sea-saw back and forth under the photo to free it from the sticky tab. I tried that method on one of my older Magnetic “sticky” style albums and it worked okay, but I found that the knife method was easier and worked better and faster for me. When I tried dental floss on Creative Memories albums it didn’t do well at all, so I just always use a knife.

COMING SOON: How To Remove Stickiness

When you remove a photo from a photo album you’re almost guaranteed to run into another problem— stickiness on the back of your photo. Find out how to remove that stickiness in my video called How To Remove Sticky Residue From Photos (COMING SOON).

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