How To Safely Remove Stickers From Book Covers

Heads up book lovers! Today I'd like to share with you a way to remove those nasty price/store stickers from your precious book covers--WITHOUT DAMAGING THEM! 

I know, I know, I've done it too, plenty of times, and ruined an otherwise great looking cover all in the name of either impatience, ignorance or sheer stubbornness thinking I could remove it carefully without peeling a part of the cover picture overlay off. Well, no more of that I say...read on!

                                                       THE TOOLS:

1. Lighter fluid (yes, I know, it sounds terrifying, but TRUST ME). It works amazingly well, and it's CHEAP.

2. Exact-O Knife (or tweezers would work great too)

3. A soft, absorbent cloth or paper towel

4. Q-tips (optional)


STEP 1:
First off, you'll want to be doing this on a flat surface, with plenty of light to see the fluid/glue residue.




Saturate the sticker with lighter fluid CAREFULLY, it will come out of the spout very quickly--so watch it. Make sure you get the whole sticker thoroughly wet with fluid. The fluid will start to run/bleed quickly--don't panic, it's ok--wipe off excess with your cloth or paper towel. Fluid will immediately start to soak into the sticker, then begin to evaporate.





STEP 2:
When the fluid has nearly 'dried' (10-15 seconds), take your Exact-O knife (or tweezers, knife, fingernail) and gently pry up a corner or edge of the sticker to see if it will come off easily.

If it looks like the sticker won't come off cleanly or very easily--no worries--do step #1 again. Re-saturate, and wait for fluid to evaporate. Now sticker should come off really easily and cleanly. Repeat process again for extra stubborn stickers. 

STEP 3:
Depending on the type of glue, the kind of paper and what kind of cover you have (matte and textured or glossy) there may be a little glue left behind. This is where the Q-Tips come in handy. Put some fluid on either your cloth/towel or Q-tip and rub in a circular motion to remove any stubborn glue or bits of sticker left behind. Most all stickers I have found come off without this step, but I've added it here because there are so many variables; how the book was stored, how old the book/sticker is, paper and glue types, etc.

Now. If you see what looks like an 'oil spot' or residue from the fluid on the cover DON'T PANIC this WILL evaporate in a short time. Unlike alcohol, lighter fluid won't remove any color or texture from the paper. And unlike GooGone, it won't leave a nasty, smelly, oily residue that you'll be stuck with forever. Just let the cover sit for a bit, and it will return to it's original state.




                                                                                                                                There, now wasn't that slick and easy? Hope this helps, and now you won't be deterred from buying any books that have stickers all over them--you can restore them (and it's actually kind of fun!).

RELATED TIPS:

Sharpie/Permanent Ink: Alcohol works well for Sharpie marks and grease pencil, but be careful--as stated earlier, it can/will remove color from the cover if you rub too hard. Use a Q-tip and work small areas at a time.

Stubborn Stickers: So far, the only type of cover/sticker I have had trouble removing is on covers that are matte and old. Generally, only the top layer of the sticker seems to come off, despite several attempts of removal without damage. The result looks something like this: