How to Unstick a Stamp From an Envelope

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Did you just stick a $2 stamp on the wrong envelope? Or is that a rare Tahitian stamp you want to remove? This process works for both self-adhesive stamps and the lick-and-stick variety.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy Book
  • Cardboard
  • Basin
  • Sheet Of Plastic
  • Paper Towels
  • Glue
  • New Envelope
  • Paper towels
  • Remove the envelope's contents. Place them in a new envelope.

  • If the envelope is of a neutral color, fill a sink or basin with an inch (2.5 cm) of warm water and submerge the envelope.

  • Soak the envelope for 10 to 15 minutes. If the envelope is brightly colored, do not soak it--the color might run and ruin the stamp. Instead, hold it over a steaming kettle.

  • Pull the paper away from the stamp with your fingers. Remember, you want to preserve the stamp, not the paper.

  • Blot the stamp with paper towels.

  • Allow the stamp to air-dry for an hour, then use glue to affix it to the new envelope.

  • Or, if you plan to add it to your stamp collection, place the stamp between two pieces of cardboard and press it under a heavy book. If the stamp's back is still sticky, place the sticky side on a sheet of plastic. Allow the stamp to dry overnight.

Tips & Warnings

  • If stamps become stuck to each other, briefly steam them, then carefully separate. You can also preserve the envelope by steaming instead of soaking.
  • Some antique stamps are more valuable with the original envelope and postmark intact. Consult a philatelic expert if in doubt.

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