Tape Removal

Images and text by Garry Harrison,
Head, Circulating Collections Conservation,
Indiana University Libraries

Web design by Jake Nadal,
former Head, Preservation Department,
Indiana University Libraries



(Click on this image to begin slide show.)

Treatment criteria:

Transparent tape has been used to mend paper and removal of the tape is a practical treatment option.

The use of pressure-sensitive transparent plastic tape for the mending of paper has proven objectionable for a number of reasons. First, the adhesives of some varieties discolor, sometimes to the point of rendering text illegible. Another potential problem is that the plastic film can shift, leaving gummy adhesive exposed. This can really mangle folded documents or the leaves of books. Another potential problem is that when used to mend paper that is brittle, the plastic film of the tape can function as a knife edge, causing the paper to break at the edges of the film.

Given the above, it is best to remove this type of tape when practical. (Examples of non-practical situations would be cases in which extensive tape mending has been executed on materials that can be replaced at little cost or those in which a photocopy is an acceptable option.)

Different types of tapes can respond variably to different removal efforts. We will look at the procedure used to remove tape from the map pictured above.

Tools and materials used in this treatment


heated microspatula
fume hood
small brush


paper towels

Using the Manual

To facilitate convenient navigation and use, the procedural parts of this manual are presented in slide show form. As you can see above, clicking on the image shown on each treatment's front page begins the slide show.

Here are the navigational options within each slide. To view this information in illustrated form see the map image below.

Each slide offers the following capabilities:

* Thumbnail images of the entire treatment procedure are in a vertical column to the left. The progression is downward, beginning at the top and ending at the bottom. By clicking on any of these images, you can go to that point in the procedure.

* Clicking on any page's main image opens a larger version of the image in a separate window.

* Button links are provided to return to this page, to go to the next and previous slides in the series, and to go to the complete table of contents for the entire manual.

* The text is dotted with links to tools, materials, glossary terms, and other treatments. Linked text is gray in color and turns red when the pointer encounters it.

Map Image


Table of