How to Unstick Pictures From Glass

It’s ridiculously frustrating when you’re trying to hang artwork, and it won’t stick. Whether it’s because the glass is too smooth or the adhesive isn’t strong enough, sometimes your picture refuses to stay put. But never fear! In this blog post, we’ll be discussing how to unstick pictures from glass using a few tried-and-true remedies.

How to Unstick Pictures From Glass

15 Methods on How to Unstick Pictures From Glass:

1. Add an Adhesive Strip

If the problem is that there isn’t enough adhesive, one way to fix this is by adding some more. First, cut a new piece of double-sided tape and attach it on top of the existing strip, pulling gently upward on the artwork as you do so to ensure that it is securely attached. Next, gently pat down the artwork to make sure that the adhesive is contacting the surface. If the problem is that the adhesive has lost its stickiness, one way to fix this is by heating it up.

2. Use a Lighter to Heat the Tape

Holding the artwork by its corners, pass a lighter flame back and forth under the tape until it becomes slightly warm to the touch. 5-10 seconds of heating should usually do the trick! How To Unstick Photos From Glass Hold it in place for 10-15 seconds, then rub your finger back and forth quickly across the tape.

3. Use a Blow Dryer

If your artwork is stuck to the glass of a frame, you can use a blow dryer set on low heat to warm the tape and artwork until the adhesive becomes tacky. This will allow you to separate the artwork from the glass easily.

4. Use a Razor

An artist’s razor can be used to separate the tape from the glass gently. Be sure to use a new blade, so you don’t risk scratching the glass with an old razor.

Clean the glass completely. If you’ve never done this before, be aware that it can be hard to reach into small areas. You might have to put a bit of muscle into scrubbing the glass. Allow the glass to dry. In some cases, it is best to use a blower to remove water droplets. Pour your epoxy into a small container. You can find epoxy at most home improvement stores.

5. Use an Adhesive Remover

If you don’t have artist’s tape but have an adhesive remover such as Goo Gone or Goof Off, apply it to a paper towel and carefully wipe the glass where the picture is. This should soften the adhesive and allow you to remove the artwork without damaging your frame. I would not recommend using a razor blade on your frame as you risk scratching the glass.

Use an Adhesive Remover

6. Fill a Bucket With Warm Water:

Find a bucket or large bowl large enough to fit your glass frame and fill it with warm water (it doesn’t have to be hot). Soak the entire piece of glass in the water for around 10 minutes. This should allow the adhesive to soften enough that you will be able to slide your artwork off of the glass.

7. Put it in the Freezer:

Put the glass frame and your artwork in an airtight plastic bag and put it into the freezer for around 30 minutes. This should also allow the adhesive to soften, allowing you to separate the two without damaging either of them.

8. Use a Candle

Please light a candle and gently wave its flame over the tape on your picture until it becomes warm to the touch. This should soften the adhesive, allowing you to remove the artwork with no problem.

9. Use a Heat Gun

If your problem is that the adhesive isn’t sticking to the tape, you can use a heat gun set on low to warm up the glass and artwork until the adhesive becomes tacky again.

10. Use WD-40

Spray some WD-40 onto a paper towel and gently rub it over your picture where it’s stuck to the glass. This should soften the adhesive, allowing you to separate the two without damaging either of them.

11. Use Baking Soda and Denture Tablets

Make a paste out of baking soda and water and spread it over your picture where it’s stuck to the glass. Then lay several pieces of denture tablets on top of the glass and wait about 3-5 minutes. This should eat through any residue, allowing you to remove your artwork without damaging either of them.

12. Use a Toothpick

Put a small amount of petroleum jelly or vegetable oil onto a toothpick and gently rub it over the picture where it’s attached to the glass. This should help separate the two without damage.

13. Use Nail Polish Remover

Dip a cotton swab in nail polish remover and rub it over the picture where it’s attached to the glass. Make sure not to press too hard, as you don’t want to risk scratching the picture’s surface.

14. Use Electrical Tape

Cut a long strip of electrical tape and attach it to the back of your picture where it’s stuck on the glass. Then gently pull outward to separate the two without damage. Be patient and avoid damaging the picture.

15. Use a Razor Blade

Pass a razor blade under the picture where it’s stuck on the glass and cut through any tape adhesive. Then gently work it under the photo and pull it off of the glass without damaging either piece.

Use Album Clue

Things To Consider Before Unsticking Pictures From Glass:

1. If the picture was taken with a digital camera, there is no worry when placing it on the glass. However, it isn’t necessary to consider this process if you took your pictures digitally.

2. If an older picture (20 or more years old) was originally developed in a dark room and scanned into the computer; then, it is possible that the photo will not unstick. This is if the picture is still in good shape, please consider this option.

3. If the picture was developed in a dark room and cannot be scanned, it is possible to unstick the photo.

4. If you are considering using an adhesive remover or edge-sealer instead of glass cleaner to unstuck pictures from glass, please don’t do this! This will damage your picture. These chemicals can also run the risk of affecting your photo paper.

5. If the print is on glass or plastic contact, there are clear contact paper options that can help you remove these prints without ruining them.

Print Is on Glass or Plastic Contact

6. Glass cleaner should be your first option to get the picture unstuck from glass. Gently clean with a damp cloth, dry with a clean towel, and then peel.

7. If you cannot remove the picture, let it dry completely (overnight), then try again with a glass cleaner.

8. It is possible, if taking your time and are gentle with this process, that you can unstick your pictures from the glass without ruining them. This can also be a good way to take off stickers from glass.

Use Wd-40

Why Do Photos Get Stuck to Glass?

Photos get stuck to glass because of the nature of the adhesive that’s used. Most people will be surprised to learn that this type of adhesive is a type of wax that melts when heated. This stickiness allows easy removal from the paper backing at point-of-sale locations (like where you purchase your photos) but causes problems when used in household frames.

The wax will stick to the glass in your photo frame but then can’t come up off of it due to the very nature of the stickiness. This adhesive problem is exacerbated by high humidity and heat, both found in most homes. This combination practically guarantees that any photos you put up will eventually get stuck.

How To Prevent Photo Sticking To Glass?

If you are stuck with photos glued onto the glass of a frame, you can take a few simple steps to prevent them from sticking. First, try using archival-quality film and backing paper. These materials are designed to be used in artwork and photographs to provide protection against moisture and UV damage.

If possible, look for an acid-free backing paper that also prevents the photo from sticking to the glass. Secondly, invest in transparent, non-acidic adhesive sheets to place between the photograph and the glass before framing it. Finally, ensure the frame is airtight by adding some sort of sealant along the edges to keep out any moisture or dust particles that could contribute to any future sticking problems.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How Can I Get Old Photos Stuck Together?

If you have photos stuck together or to the glass in a frame, there are several things you can try. First, if the pictures are sticking together because of moisture, try putting them between layers of paper towels and placing them in a warm oven for about an hour or so. The warmer temperature should release the glue on the back (assuming it has not dried out too much).

Placing Them in a Warm Oven

This trick also works well when trying to release pictures from sticky photo albums. If the photos are stuck together because of dirt or old residue, place them in a large plastic bag and add a half cup of undiluted white vinegar. Close the bag tightly and let the photos set for two hours. The vinegar will likely release the photos.

Q: How Do I Scan a Photo Stuck in an Album?

There are many types of albums and binding methods to cause a picture not to be scanned correctly. The most common issue is where the scanning bed is not level, which distorts scanning. Another issue that has happened before arises when a page containing a photo has been glued down, thus preventing the photo from being removed completely from the album without ripping the photo itself.

When scanning, it is a good idea to have some paper or cloth masking tape on hand in case this happens. Then, rather than removing the picture from the album, it can be taped down flat onto the scanner bed both before and after scanning. This will help save time and also make sure that you get a good scan.


If you want to remove a sticker from your glass, try using ice. Rub the sticker with an ice cube for several minutes and then peel it off. This works because when water freezes, its molecules expand and create more space between them than before they froze, which can help break the seal of adhesive on some materials such as stickers or labels that were applied tightly to a surface like glass.

It’s also important not to put too much pressure on anyone’s area while rubbing because doing so could cause damage if done repeatedly over time due to temperature changes in different areas of the glass, creating stress points where pieces might eventually crack away from each other. We hope this blog post on how to unstick pictures from glass has been helpful and informative for you. Thank you!

Check out our article How to Attach Picture Frames Together

Jennifer Branett
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