Photo stuck to glass


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Feb 19, 2002
Customer brought in some photos that got wet while in the frame, about 5 years ago. He now wans to refrme them and they are all stuck to the glass.

These are all black and white photos of HOF baseball players, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, ect. They are all signed and personalized and he does not want copies made and framed.

Any secret solutions to get a photo unstuck from glass? I told him I am not a magician but would do some research.
1. Put ice in a ziplock bag, put on glass and chill well. Pray.

2. If #1 does not work, gently warm the glass from the front with a hairdryer. Pray.

3. Call a conservator and keep your fingers crossed. I'm sure Rebecca can give us a better idea of the chances of success, and if these are original autographed photos, they're probably well worth what it would cost to have it done right and have a good chance of success.
Since you have no way of knowing what kind of ink those guys usd to autograph the photos, I would discourage you from soaking the photos in a water bath, Photoflo or any other chemical solution.

But you knew that already.
The ink looks to be like a sharpie, but not sure.

Hugh, Tried that and he does not want to do that at all. He wants the originals. I am thinking we may have to frame them with the glass already on them.

I will try the ice and heat and see if that works.
I used to have a home darkroom and am fairly comfortable with processing B&W, but I have tried both the suggestions of 1-soaking in warm water and 2-freezing.

They have never worked for me.

Freezing leaves you with a cold piece of glass and, although it may “pop” the photo off, it also may leave you with patches of frozen emulsion still stuck to it.

Soaking for more than an hour may leave your emulsion gooey at best, but may completely float the image off the paper.

That coupled with the fact that you don’t exactly know how the inks in the signatures will react to the water or cold makes me suggest that you don’t try anything yourself. The risks far outweigh the rewards in trying something like this.
The 'ice' method has never worked for me. I have had limited success using a heat gun on the lowest setting and not heating the glass to a point you can't touch it.

Notice I said limited success.

Unless you really know this person or they have been a long term customer, I would not attempt this.
Second Hugh's thoughts.

Scan it and frame the copy, if that fails, then scan it and frame the copy! ;)

If you soak it in a bath and the ink runs be glad that at least you scanned it and have a copy to frame. wrap up the ruined original and hand it and the framed copy to the customer.

Or scan and frame the copy, put the original still stuck to the glass into the back of the frame package, and return it to the customer.
... and don't forget to take this opportunity to gently remind your customer about why it is important to use mats or spacers.

By the way, I wouldn't try ANYTHING on these. I would just reframe them with the glass good n'stuck.

edie the dontsayitoldyouso goddess