Some of my old photos were sealed with a hard plastic and I have a tough time trying to remove them. For the softer one I can peel them off without damaging the photo. But for the harder one, they stuck very hard to the photo, and when I try to peel it, the photo starts splitting inside. How do I safely remove them without damaging the photos?

Here's my screenshot, you can see the corner of my photo started splitting


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    \$\begingroup\$ Kind of hard to tell from that picture, but are you saying the photos in question were laminated after printing? If so it's quite likely removing the lamination will destroy the photos - most forms of lamination are not really designed to be removed after the fact. \$\endgroup\$
    – twalberg
    Mar 29, 2021 at 18:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes I think lamination is the term. I'm thinking about using a blow dryer but I don't know if it works. \$\endgroup\$
    – reddy
    Mar 29, 2021 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of such a thing. I wonder what the purpose was, or if this was common in some areas. Did the lab do it, or someone did it themselves to photos after having them printed normally? \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Mar 29, 2021 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


Removing a print from a surface is inherently dangerous for the print. A lot of people have lost their family members forever by being hasty.

Before you do anything, make sure you've got a good copy negative or scan of the image just in case you damage the print while trying to remove the lamination. This may be sufficient for your needs and you can leave the print as is and make a copy for yourself.

If you absolutely need the original print, I recommend contacting a print and frame shop that does a lot of archival work. They will have experience removing prints that are stuck to a wide variety of materials. Generally speaking this isn't terribly expensive to have them do the work and they are much less likely to damage the print than you are doing it at home. There is still some risk to the print even with a professional archivist, so don't skip the backup.


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