How to Remove Tape with Heat from Book Pages
How to remove tape from your book pages. It can be a simple matter of heating the plastic carrier, removing it, then scraping the adhesive layer off. Tape is made of two basic layers: The plastic carrier and the sticky adhesive. Removing the carrier (top layer) first allows us to access the adhesive. Heating the tape allows the two layers to separate. It can be done in several ways, some of which are safer than others. Be sure to read all the instructions before you begin!
Why remove tape from book pages?
- Text and images can become damaged or unreadable if the page gets mis-aligned in the taping process.
- Staining from the aging tape adhesive or from colored backing can obscure the text.
- Tape degrades as it ages and results in stickiness and brittleness that can cause further damage to the page.
- Some tape carriers can contract over time leaving the sticky adhesive exposed and it could even tear the page while contracting.
What is in this tape removal lesson? First you get four reasons why tape is not so great to use to repair book pages. Second you will learn which kinds of tapes react with heat. Third are the steps to remove tape (both the carrier and the adhesive) from a book page using heat. Fourth you get options for ameliorating the yellow stains that tape can create. Fifth covers what to do when you have to leave the tape in place. Lastly, if heat doesn’t work what are the other options?
Included in This Lesson: Click the ^Curriculum^ Tab to get to the Lesson
- Type of Book: Modern thin Bible Pages
- This Particular Book: Bible
- Issue: Old tape is damaging the book page
- Treatment: Remove tape using heat and ameliorate the stain.
- 8 Minutes of Video
- Step by Step Instructions
PERPETUAL CAVEAT: Never repair rare and/or scarce books. When in doubt only do preservation treatments and consult an accredited professional.
Remove Tape with Heat: Simplified Steps (The details are in the lesson)
- Gather Tools and Materials
- Remove the Carrier a.k.a. the Backing (plastic part)
- Remove the sticky Adhesive
- Ameliorating the Tape Stains
- What to do when you have to Leave the Tape in Place
- When Heat Doesn’t Work: Other Options
Tip: Instead of using any tape to repair torn pages use archival rice or wheat starch paste and a long fibered Kozo tissue that is around 12 gsm such as Hinging Tissue or other such conservation papers.
Tip: Archival (meaning reversible and NOT permanent) Document Repair Tape is the exception and can be used with confidence because it is easily reversible with a solvent such as lighter fluid (Making a book more flammable just seems wrong and makes me cringe to think of it, but the fluid will evaporate so it is ok. This should only be done in a well ventilated area because lighter fluid is toxic!) Archival document repair tape still has some of the same issues as any other tape though such as not sealing the bevel of the tear so it is still not the absolute best solution in many instances.
Tip: Be sure to read through all the steps before beginning treatment. Make sure you are familiar with the Book Repair Hierarchy Guidelines , Book Anatomy and Book Repair Terminology. There is a list of useful Tools and Materials at the end.
Kinds of Tapes and their inherent Problems for Page Repair:
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of kinds of tape that people use to repair books. Here are a few:
- Masking Tape and some other white paper tapes contain titanium dioxide which will oxidize over time which will damage any paper it is in contact with.
- Gummed Tapes like the brown tape used in the post office has an adhesive that is reversible with water. The paper is acidic.
- Medical Tape is not meant to last a long time. It is not archival.
- Book Repair Tapes are not necessarily archival. Check each manufacturer’s specifications. Some are reversible with water and some are more permanent.
- Packing Tape and other Modern Acrylic Tapes are very difficult to remove and yet if you leave them on the book page it is likely to fuse with the fibers of the paper and make it impossible to remove later.
- Colored tapes: Frequently the colors are not fixed and can run over time or in certain environments.