taking labels off of paper
January 3, 2012 2:32 PM   Subscribe

stickers on paper that need to NOT BE ON PAPER. jeez. Please help me?

Oh Metafilter, the receptionist at our office put label stickers on some really important tear sheets someone sent me. On every goddamn page. She thought she was doing the right thing but REALLY REALLY wasn't. They are ordinary mailing labels. Some of the pages are glossy magazine pages, others are (omg) old, old pages from out-of print magazines. Obviously I will need to talk to the person who sent them but is there any good way to remove them, too?
posted by peachfuzz to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Take a hairdryer or crafting heatgun to them. It should loosen the glue enough to peel them off pretty easily.
posted by slartibartfast at 2:36 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just be careful not to heat the paper too much. You can very easily singe and discolor paper with heat. Double extra careful with the old papers.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:39 PM on January 3, 2012


Yup, a heatgun is your friend here.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:40 PM on January 3, 2012


Also, you might try a very low iron, with a protective cloth between iron and page. Increase heat to effective level.
posted by bilabial at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


in the movies they put the sealed envelope over the steaming tea kettle. maybe that would work.
posted by orangemacky at 2:47 PM on January 3, 2012


If the documents are irreplaceable, avoid the steam method. It could warp the documents.
posted by griphus at 2:52 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


yes, iron, oh man, off to see about it.
posted by peachfuzz at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2012


I have found Hexane has worked good at geting price stickers off of book jackets and getting rid of the glue backing as well. Only problem I can see is that depending on how the docs are printed it could attack the ink as well (well that and getting hold of some pure hexane solvent...)
posted by Captain_Science at 3:02 PM on January 3, 2012


Goof Off comes in a little metal charcoal lighter fluid type can and can be found in hardware stores. You can puddle a small amount of it at a time and peel off the stickers. Dab excess off with a paper towel. Go at it like a museum restorer, slowly and methodically.... though it isn't really hard to do, just be careful.

This may well ruin stuff, so test a tiny area first.

http://www.goofoffstainremover.com/

(you want the liquid in the tiny metal can)
posted by jeff-o-matic at 3:24 PM on January 3, 2012


ok so far I am using the *heat with iron and press cloth, scrape cautiously with finger* method and it is working ok, thank you thank you.
posted by peachfuzz at 3:24 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


updated to note that six of 11 stickers are off with no damage whatsoever!
posted by peachfuzz at 3:29 PM on January 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have taken more price stickers off of more used records than you can probably imagine, and the only thing that works reliably (besides not being stuck on for very long) is a little bit of heat. Just enough to soften the glue. A fingernail, razor blade, or pocket knife can provide a separating edge. Tweezers optional.
posted by rhizome at 3:30 PM on January 3, 2012


ok so there is one stubborn one, oddly the one tear that was printed on sturdy cardstock-type paper. That one is easily replaceable though so I'll call it a loss and get the sender a new one.

FYI these are not like sheets from a Gutenberg bible or anything, but they represent highlights from someone's long career and I am so sad that we did not treat them respectfully. Measures are in place to keep this kind of confusion from happening again.

For posterity, here is what ended up working best with the super-limited resources I had at my disposal (I work in the craft field, why crafty resources at the office are limited I don't know) - *heat super gently, scrape with finger, notice that I'm potentially leaving smudgy finger sweat, use a polymer eraser to delicately push softened glue off*. This worked on both glossy and matte papers. Thanks everyone!
posted by peachfuzz at 3:49 PM on January 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have found Hexane has worked good at geting price stickers off of book jackets and getting rid of the glue backing as well. Only problem I can see is that depending on how the docs are printed it could attack the ink as well (well that and getting hold of some pure hexane solvent...)

Acetone (found in some nail polish removers) is a much easier solvent to get a hold of that would work as well, but this type of stuff would very much remove ink. I think the coating or laminate on book jackets probably protected it from any damage from chemical solvents.

So if anyone is reading this, I would suggest that the OPs successful heat worked well.
posted by Jaelma24 at 12:11 AM on January 4, 2012


I work in a used bookstore, and the way we get stickers off of books is lighter fluid.

It rarely leaves a residue, and evaporates pretty quickly. When in doubt, test it on a small aea, but it should work ok.

Good luck.
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:45 AM on January 4, 2012


Oh, and when I say lighter fluid, I am talking about the kind you would put in a Zippo lighter, and NOT charcoal fluid to use on a grill. The latter has oils in it that will damage the paper and leave a residue.
posted by bibliogrrl at 9:46 AM on January 4, 2012


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