I have about a dozen rolls of medium format Kodachrome from the 80s and 90s that I'd like to scan, but I've discovered that several rolls have stuck (emulsion side) to the sleeves they were shipped back to me in. The sleeves are thin transparent "plastic" a somewhat less flimsy than a plastic grocery bag.

Right now I've got a roll sitting in water with a bit of Photo-Flo in it, but it is hard to tell if that is going to work.

Any suggestions?


I known about Kodachrome -- hold lifetime license from Kodak to process. The water soak should work. If it should fail, add a teaspoon of Dawn dishwashing detergent to the soak. OK to soak up to 8 hours. If this fails -- The last stage of the Kodachrome process is to apply a thin coat of lacquer to the emulsion side. Not every processer applied lacquer so it's a toss-up if yours is lacquered. If it is, it could be the lacquer that is adhering to the sleeve. If true, you will need to soak the film in a solvent. First I would use movie film cleaner. If that fails, then soak in lacquer thinner from your local hardware store.


If the photo-flo does not separate the film and plastic, it may be possible to cut one side of the sleeve away and peel it off of the film. If the sleeves are anything like the styles that remain popular today, this could be done by essentially cutting the dividers out of the sleeve sheet so that the two layers of plastic separate, to which one of them the film will be stuck.

There should be enough clearance for a sharp scalpel between the film and divider. Of course, this assumes that the existing sleeves are expendable to you, but new sleeves can be acquired inexpensively at many photo stores in a variety of sizes.

If you decide to take such a route, it would be advisable to first test it carefully on a strip that is of relatively lower value!

  • 1
    Peeling is likely to pull off some of the emulsion with the plastic.
    – Michael C
    Apr 3 '17 at 3:15

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