How to remove self-adhesive stamps from a paper backing?
Bestine solvent & thinner
A chemical named Bestine, which can be purchased in hardware stores or art & crafts stores works miracles. Bestine is a fast-evaporating solvent which won’t damage the stamp. Since today’s stamps are not as fragile as classic stamps of the past, this chemical is safe to use on them.
Here is the technique:
- Trim the paper around the stamp to a few millimeters and apply Bestine to the back of the paper with an eye-dropper. You will see the paper become translucent within a few seconds.
- You should be able to peel the stamp off the paper in about 10 seconds. Place the stamp face down on a flat surface and let it dry. The back of the stamp will remain sticky because the Bestine evaporates quickly, leaving the adhesive on the back of the stamp still active.
- To remove the stickiness of the adhesive, once the stamp is relatively dry, apply a bit of baby powder to the gum side. The stickiness will disappear, but you will still be able to stick a stamp hinge to the back.
Here’s a tip: It’s best to work with one stamp at a time since Bestine evaporates so fast that you need to peel off the stamp almost immediately. Or else, the Bestine will dry and you have to start over. Don’t worry if your stamp appears greasy, once it dries this will disappear.
Here’s a Chemical Free alternative method with great results! It will work on all stamps…even older stamps.
The key to success is soapy water! For self adhesive stamps, use a large 2 inch deep tray 2/3 full of very hot water and a squirt of dish soap. (Dawn works great, or SunLite with Lemon) Add stamps, then move around gently until they start separating, then place in another dish of warm clean water rinsing well, as this removes ALL glue residue.
To review, this is how we proceeded
- We filled two trays with very hot water and put a bit of dish soap in one of the trays
- We soaked our stamps (10 to 20 minutes) first in the soapy water until they separated from the paper, swishing them around a bit if needed.
- Then, we soaked them in the tray without soap to remove the rest of the glue, rubbing very gently with our thumb to get it all off (it should peel off like a gooey skin)
- And then let our stamps dry face down on a clean towel or blotting paper.
- Once dried, we neutralized the remaining stickiness on some stubborn stamps with a sprinkle of talc (baby Powder)
- Place the stamps in a press to give them a beautiful appearance or you can also use a large book and some weight.