Asked on Jan 22, 2017

How can I safely remove a photo that's stuck to the glass in a frame?

Occasionally I've had the problem of photos sticking to the glass inside frames. First, I'm not sure what's even causing it. I don't use any moisture when dusting them. I have a couple of pictures I want to remove from frames, but the bottom portion (about 1/3 of the photo) of both are stuck hard to the glass. Is there any possible way to remove them without damaging the photo?
  19 answers
  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jan 23, 2017

    Try dabbing a bit of WD40 on a tissue or cotton swab and wipe the edges to lubricate it.

  • Dorothy Collett Dorothy Collett on Jan 23, 2017

    Before you do anything copy those photos still attached to the glass! Get it by an expert if you have trouble with glare from the glass.

  • Ellen DeVilbiss Ellen DeVilbiss on Jan 23, 2017

    Do you live in a humid area? Or have the photo located near a moist area in your home like a kitchen or bath? Moisture doesn't have to be in liquid form to cause sticking. Definitely copy it as is, because the chances of damaging it are high whatever you do. I'd try gentle heat to loosen it by drying out all moisture, visible or not. Say a hair dryer on low or a heating pad.

    • See 2 previous
    • To Work With My Hands To Work With My Hands on Jan 23, 2017

      Great tip. Thank you!

  • Sus14002759 Sus14002759 on Jan 25, 2017

    Alternatively, if heating it doesn't help, try putting it in the freezer for a little while.

  • Jay Oldridge Jay Oldridge on Jan 25, 2017

    I simple put a thick bar towel down on my ironing board, then the picture, glass side up, then another thick bar towel. Set the iron at a lower heat and warm up the towel covered glass. Usually this loosens the stuck areas so that I can remove it in one try, but sometimes two or more tries are need to get it completely off and safe. If you are afraid of using an iron like this, blow dry the glass and watch as the picture slides off gradually. Patience is required for this method, though!

  • Pat Pat on Jan 25, 2017

    I have heard the freezer for envelopes that become "sealed" so would think it would work for your picture.

  • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Jan 27, 2017

    Put it into a ziplock plastic bag, seal it and then pop it into the freezer for a few hours. It should release when you take it out.

  • DeLaine Workman Land DeLaine Workman Land on Jul 12, 2018

    I tried an hour in the freezer and it didnt work. I’m afraid to do heat as its my wedding picture. Any other ideas?

  • Put it in the freezer for an hour. Take it out, and gently lift a corner. It should pull away.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 01, 2023

    Using the low heat setting, take a hairdryer and blow warm air about 4-5 inches away from the back of the print. This heats up the area between the photo and glass and loosened the hold on the photo.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Mar 07, 2023

    Never had any luck with the freezer method.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 03, 2023

    Maybe the glass was very slightly damp when photo was but into frame!

  • Deb K Deb K on Jun 05, 2023

    Hello, hope this helps you out.

    This is the easiest method and will work on most photographs. First, fill a bowl with warm water. Next, soak the photograph and glass in the water, making sure they're completely submerged. As they soak, the adhesive should loosen and the picture should separate easily.

  • I have heard about the freezer option, it didn't work for me. I'm going to try the heat method next, but I'd definitely make a copy through the glass if possible, first before I tried any of them.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Sep 30, 2023

    If you don't seal the back of the frame and the glass in the frame, condensation can build up and all sorts of damage can occur!

  • I've read that dental floss works.

  • Dee Dee on Dec 11, 2023

    Turn the hair dryer on a low setting and hold it about 5 inches from the photo's surface. You don't want it to overheat. This should loosen the picture from the glass. Then, very slowly and very carefully, pull the corner or the side of the photo until the whole picture is taken off.

  • Mogie Mogie on Dec 20, 2023

    Use A Hair Dryer

    Set your blow dryer to a low heat setting and hold it about 7 inches away from the picture for five minutes. As you blow warm air on it, the adhesive will loosen, and you should gently pull on the corner of the photo until you remove the entire photo. It is also important to not apply too much heat to the picture as it might lead to further damage.

    Use A Freezer

    If you don’t have a hair dryer, you can try this second method. Put the photo frame in the freezer for a few hours and then take it out. The cold temperature will make the adhesive brittle and then you can gently pull on the photo and unstick it. You should also make sure you wear rubber gloves to protect your hands in the event glass breaks as you remove the photo stuck to the glass.

    Use A Credit Card

    You can try using a credit card. Put the photo frame face down on a flat surface. Insert the edge of the credit card between the glass and the photo. Gently push the card until you can feel that the adhesive has been cut. Then, carefully peel off the picture. Be careful not to damage the photo while doing this.

    Use Warm Water

    This is the easiest method and will work on most photographs. First, fill a bowl with warm water. Next, soak the photograph and glass in the water, making sure they’re completely submerged. As they soak, the adhesive should loosen and the picture should separate easily.

    After you’ve taken them out of the water and managed to separate them, set them down on some paper towels for about an hour. The emulsion will dry up and make them much more stick-free as a result of this procedure.