Saturday, 30 March 2013
How to Get Stickers off Books
Without ruining the cover, of course.
You will need three things if you’re a beginner and four things if you’re under whatever the suitable age for this sort of thing is. Please remember to wash your hands after doing this, as I do not want anyone catching fire.
- A book with a rather stubborn sticker on it.
- Lighter fuel.
- Timer or watch.
- An adult/logical person.
So, you’ve gone through the bargain bin at your local bookstore or found some sticker remnants (sticky gunk) on your book. Of course, being mildly OCD about this sort of thing, you need that sticker off. Resist the urge to peel it without knowing what kind of sticker you’re dealing with! Most large-chain bookstores use stickers (they paid ridiculous amounts of money for) that peel off harmlessly. The best way to test this is by pinching the loosest corner and attempting to peel it off. If it’s not budging or looks precariously close to peeling a bit of the cover off as well, stop trying.
Instead, pull out your lighter fluid:
I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not about to light my books on fire.
Instead, pour a little (or an excess) of the lighter fluid over the affected area. I try not to rub it in, because if there’s dirt or ink on the sticker it may transfer onto the book. Make sure the fluid is all around the edges and on top of the sticker. If you’re doing this on a paperback, please make sure there is scrap paper (with no writing on it) underneath this cover in case the fluid leaks through. Don’t worry if your cover is a little more soaked than you’d intended. Lighter fluid evaporates pretty damn fast.
Hold up, don’t try to peel the sticker off right away. You’ve got to wait a good minute or more. You’ll eventually get used to knowing how long to wait, so for now set your timer for two minutes.
Test out the sticker’s “removability” by peeling up a corner first. If all goes well, it should come off the corner with ease. If it’s a tougher sticker (those really nasty and cheap paper ones), you may have to softly rub the sticker off.
You may begin peeling the rest of the sticker off carefully, if the previous step worked. If not, add a little more lighter fluid or try softly scratching/rubbing the sticker off instead (little pieces at a time).
If you had an easy time of it, this will be your end result:
Nevertheless, a little sticky gunk is always left behind. Or sometimes you get your book with the sticker’s gunk already on it. I use the excess lighter fluid to gently rub it off (avoid nails!).
If a sticker has been on a book for a long time, you cannot help the discoloration but honestly, it’s usually hardly noticeable.
Ta-da! You’re done. Now please go wash your hands before you light that candle!
- Lighter fluid is not always good on all cover types (e.g. fuzzy covers, or “tissue paper” covers).
- Any scratching or peeling damage done to the book/cover will not be undone by the lighter fluid. It may work like magic, but this isn’t quite wizardry.
- This does not work on the actual pages within the book.
- If there is gum stuck to the pages or cover of your book, place it in the freezer first. After about two hours the gum should pop right off. If it doesn’t it’s time to whip out Goo Gone, though this product often discolours books.