photo stuck to glass


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
May 27, 2003
Watertown, SD
I had a customer bring in an 8 x 10 photo that had stuck to the glass. She was hoping I had some kind of release agent. Have any of you a great solution to this kind of problem?
Oh, there are many that you will find in the archives, but none of them work all the time. And most of them don't work at all... (Thanks, Ellen, that was a BIG help...)
Here's what I would do, Sharon.

Scan the photo through the glass and make her a nice copy. If you're not set up to do that, find someone who is. I've done this with success, even when the glass was broken, and "fixed" it with Photoshop.

Do this for free, in exchange for the ruined original, which you can use as a wall model to demonstrate why you must always use mats or spacers with glass and photos.

Sometimes you can soak the photo and glass in a tray of water and release it. Sometimes the emulsion stays on the glass and everything else releases, and then what are ya gonna do?
according to how bad it was stuck...I have before removed photos by sticking them in freezer for just a couple minutes.

Dont know why it worked or if it ever will again, but it worked for me.
That's an interesting thing to try Steven. Have always put candle votives in the freezer to get that last bit of candle to pop out in one piece, but have never thought about using the freezer to unstick photos from glass.
Great to learn something new. You freeze cloth to get rid of the bugs. The candle wax in the freezer is a new one.

I have soaked in water for days with no results. Seal release didn't work. Ron's idea is best before trying the water soak.
JPete says:
"I have soaked in water for days with no results"

When I do that, I just come out like a "Prune" :D
I have packaged up glass and all and sent it to my photo lab that will do as Ron suggests. They can repair any Newton Rings, etc. And you get a great copy in return. If you are interested I can email you their address and phone number.
My thought is: you are framers for heavens sakes. Why would any one even think that you would be able to perform conservation (or photographic lab) services and, even more to the point, why would a framer attempt this without the appropriate training?

If there is really a crying need for framers to repair damaged objects/art it would be nice if there were an organized system for theory and skill acquistion. I truly wish there were official liasons between conservation and framing organizations. This would not be a one way street we could all benefit from this.

Thank you for saying that Rebecca. Someone recently pointed out here that the worst four-letter-word a customer can say, and the one that can get us into the most trouble, is JUST. As in "can't you just get it off the glass?" or "can't you just clean it up a little?" I think it was Jay Goltz who said that in a class.

In the grand scheme of things, popping it in the freezer or gently warming the glass with a hair dryer are at least pretty benign, and not nearly as likely to damage the photo as soaking it in water would be. If it were me, I'd try the chilling or warming trick (carefully) and if it didn't work immediately I'd scan it and have a copy made.

Si I guess that what I'm saying is, do nothing, but if you feel compelled to do something, at least make it something pretty safe.
Thanks for the tips. I have one of my own that I will try the freezer trick and/or the hair dryer. I really wouldn't feel safe putting the photo in water. I don't know why customers think framers can salvage any damaged art. I just framed a signed numbered print that had been rolled so tightly and for so long there was no way to get it to lay flat. Customer didn't want it vacumn mounted. I also had a customer bring in a document that must have been twenty years old and had been taped top and bottom with scotch tape. He just knew I had "something" to get the yellow residue from the twenty year old tape off the paper. Of course, even if I could perform miracles, no one would pay for the service. Thanks again for the response. Sharon
Ron's suggestion is the safest approach to this
problem and should be followed. Rebecca's concern
is well put and fortunately, there is a move afoot
in the PPFA to build links with other organizations, such as the AIC. Framers can build
their own links by going to the website: Conservation on Line and looking up local conservation guilds in their areas (listed at the
end of the website) and attending meetings to
gain more information. Framers can also learn more
at the Conseravtion on Line site and the website
of the CCI.

Originally posted by preservator:
Ron's suggestion is the safest approach to this problem and should be followed.
I must admit, sheepishly, that I take a disproportionate amount of satisfaction in hearing those words, possibly because I so rarely hear them at home.

Rebecca, there are a lot of framers with photo backgrounds or offering photographic services in their frame shops (or framing services in the photo shop.) That doesn't mean we should be sticking photos in trays of water, but the scan/retouch/print approach is something some of us do every day.

Most of us have neither the expertise nor the patience to do what you do, though.
Originally posted by Rebecca:
Why would any one even think that you would be able to perform conservation (or photographic lab) services and, even more to the point, why would a framer attempt this without the appropriate training?

I have customers to ask for this all the time. They trust me when I tell them I can or can't do something and I always give them some kind of alternative. Doing things such as those Ron suggest is a great way to add some income to your shop. Your customers will come to you for 'miracles' once they have seen you perform one.

How many people in the general public use the services of a conservator or a photo lab? Probably not many, however they do use framers. If it is something you can do, do it. If you can't, point them in the right direction.
Yes Ron, that's why I included photo labs in my little diatribe. I remembered you and others do have technical photographic expertise.

Jerry, my point is, there is an existing body of knowledge based on science and experience, on how to approach and perform stabilization and repairs. I'm not saying everything has to be done by a conservator. I am saying that the interests of the framer, the client and the object would be best served if there were some sort of professional education and training system in place.

For all I know, you and many others here may have that background but from some of the questions asked on the Grumble (and sometimes from the answers) I know that there are those who don't.

If framing is going to encompass more than framing, this is an education and training void that needs to be filled.

If I were not a professional photographer with connections to the lab I would never offer this service. I guess it's a part of the photography side's service not the framing side. Just trying to help.

I am absolutely amazed at what they can do. And I think the prices are reasonable. Any price may be reasonable when you are getting professional restored copies of the seemingly only good picture in existance of a loved one. In my case my father who died when I was nine.
I’d like to offer another alternative. DigitalCustom, of which I am affiliated and reveal up front lest someone thinks I am lurking, is a vendor in the framing industry, exhibitor at most of the national conferences and member of PPFA. The company provides precisely this kind of service to custom framers on a wholesale basis.

Ron’s suggestion is correct. Simple scan, or have scanned, the image through the glass. I can provide scan guidelines if that would be of assistance. The resulting image file can be transferred to DigitalCustom via online or through the mail. A restored image will be returned to you. You may print it locally or DigitalCustom can ship the print to you ready for framing.

Further we offer a free trial to you (or any framer) who would like to try it out and become familiar. Simply call me or send me an email. We offer 1-800 support free merchandising samples, a scanner if you need one, etc., etc. , etc.

You don’t need to know how a clock is made to tell time. Likewise, you don’t need to know PhotoShop or be married to a computer to make revenue and better serve your clientele from photo and document restoration.

Dave Veilleux