Who knew removing old stickers would be so much fun?!
If you’ve been following my Instagram stories then you’ll have seen some of the struggles I have had with stickers. Sometimes it can be REALLY frustrating, but other times it is immensely satisfying, and I know some of you enjoy it too – because you’ve told me!
So before I go straight into it, you do have to be careful these days on the internet, last thing I want is someone trying to sue me! So please let me make it clear that ALL suggestions I make here are from my own experience. That doesn’t mean they will necessarily work for you. (Although I hope they do.)
You should ALWAYS read the label of any products before you use them and make sure if it is safe to do so. (Allergies, well aired room etc…) and wear any protection necessary. (Gloves if you have sensitive skin perhaps)
I am not liable for any damages! If you try one of my tips and it goes horribly wrong, I am not accepting the blame.
Right, sorry about that… lets get started…
So, these are my methods for taking stickers off of books. Because that’s what I do… I buy second-hand books and spruce them up and turn them into notebooks. They are mostly purchased from charity shops who like to use a variety of stickers. Some favourable. And some not…
So there’s two main things to worry about – the sticker and the surface it is on.
Stickers will react differently to different surfaces. For example, a sticker on a matt covered book will normally adhere more strongly than the same sticker on a laminated book.
The glue on stickers varies, some are lovely peely ones and others are just pure evil! And the problem is you won’t know what you’ve got until you have a pick!
So first of all start from a corner that looks good to lift. You can use your finger nail for this. Once I’ve got the sticker started, I use a pair of tweezers to finish the peel.
If the corner lifts with relative ease, its probably going to come off fine, all in one go. Pure joy! HOWEVER, be aware that when you are peeling even the easiest of stickers, you can still damage the book. It’s all in the lifting action! You need to pull the sticker as close to the surface of the book as possible, to prevent the book laminate from lifting away from the book.
If you pull upwards you risk pulling the laminate away from the book and stretching it, leaving what looks a bit like an air bubble. And once you’ve stretched it, there’s no going back. (You could try a hairdryer on it but it’s not likely to improve. Prevention is best.)
If I find the sticker isn’t budging, or I get a bit of sticker off and then it just tears, I stop picking and use my Sticker Remover pen by 151. I got mine in my local pound shop but you can get them on ebay easily too.
Give the pen a good shake. And then gently dab the sticker pen ALL OVER the sticker paying particular attention to the edges. Now, if you have a matt sticker, I can pretty much guarantee that the sticker remover pen is going to work perfectly. Let it soak in for about a minute. Then peel. Remember, do not lift! Peel as close to the surface as you can. The sticker should come off easily with little to no glue residue left.
But what if it is a sticker with a shiny surface? That’s a little harder. Sometimes the pen will absorb in. And sometimes it won’t. You can try to remove just the shiny layer of the sticker and then use the pen; that sometimes works.
I have EVEN used the sticker remover pen on matt ladybird book covers and it has worked, I was worried it would leave a stain on the paper cover, but if it did, it was minimal.
If your sticker isn’t budging then you may have no choice but to slowly pick away as much of the sticker as you possibly can. You will then find that you have some sticker residue left on your book. Do NOT be tempted to wipe it just yet! Believe me there is nothing worse than spreading glue residue everywhere!
This is where I use Brasso. It is a metal polish and it’s a bit stinky but it works. Please note – use with caution! Brasso will stain paper / matt covers so DO NOT use it on them. Brasso can also remove varnish and also some laminate book coatings on vintage books (I’ve mostly noticed this on Annuals pre 1980s) but your modern day books and most Disney books seem to be fine.
Brasso comes in liquid or wadding versions, either work. You could experiment with other metal polishes too I guess. You only need a little bit, plus a clean cloth to wipe off the excess.
Put the liquid on the cloth and then using very small movements in one direction gently wipe up the glue residue. Working in one direction helps to avoid spreading it everywhere. Immediately wipe with the dry cloth and you should find that all the sticky has gone! I then like to wipe with a cloth with a fresh antibac cleaner on it, like Zoflora, to make sure it’s clean and remove any Brasso smell.
There are lots of different ‘sticky remover’ products on the market, I haven’t tried them as I think some are quite costly. I’ve only mentioned the ones I’ve used.
Nail Varnish remover can work some of the time, but not always. And it ruins my nails! Although it is good for removing biro and marker pen from laminated books!
If you are trying to remove stickers from varnished or painted furniture, then I would recommend using the sticker remover pen before any peeling as any attempt to pick may result in varnish / paint being removed from the furniture.
I have been recommended furniture polish for removing stickers – possibly on furniture, yes, but I wouldn’t use it on my books. Even a small spray would deposit far too much product onto my cloth; but I can see it could work for large surfaces.
Finally, there will always be a sticker that beats you. I have met that sticker very recently. I picked these books up in the charity shop but they were originally from The Works. Their stickers are pure EVIL! I won’t give in though. There has to be a way to get their stickers off … watch this space…