How to Remove Collectible Ads From Magazines

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Vintage magazine ads are beautiful, collectible works of art. In order to sell them or display them, you have to remove them from the old magazines. With the correct tools, the process is only moderately difficult. The goal is to cut out the ad squarely and with a clean, crisp edge. Once cut, the ad is ready for sale, and the customer will be able to store it safely or have it framed easily. The process takes just a little practice to perfect.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper cutter with new blade
  • Pencil eraser holder with eraser removed

How to Remove Collectible Ads From Magazines

  • Evaluate the magazine to see if it is more valuable whole than with the ad removed. Most ads sell for enough to justify removing them from magazines. Check the price of the magazine and a few of its ads on eBay. If one or two ads equal the price of the whole magazine, go ahead and start removing the ads.

  • Handle the magazine with extreme caution. Most old paper is fragile, as magazines were printed on very thin paper. Also, magazines are often stored in attics or garages, where the heat can be intense, or basements, where dampness is a problem. Both environments make the paper brittle or easy to tear. Old paper is called ephemera for a reason; it is easily destroyed.

  • If the magazine's spine is held together with staples, remove them by using the empty metal eraser holder. Pry up one side of the staple on the inside gutter while you hold down the other end of the staple. This will preserve the paper. Then pry up the other side of the staple, turn the magazine over, and pull the staple out of the spine. If you are successful, the only flaw should be two small staple holes. Practice your technique on a more modern magazine that has little value.

  • If the magazine's spine is glued together, open the magazine to the middle and lay it on a table. Press down on either side of the spine to flatten it in the open position. Then, as brutal as it sounds, carefully tear the magazine in half at the spine. The glue of even very old magazines should yield pretty easily. Now you have two halves. Take one half and, using the same motion you would use to turn the page, carefully pull it away from the spine. It should come off easily.

  • Take a loose page and insert it into the paper cutter. Fold down the guide so that the cut will be perfectly straight. Run the cutter down the page, next to the ad, leaving some space so the ad can be matted and framed later. As long as the blade is sharp, these cutters work very well. If the blade dulls, it will tear the paper rather than cut it. Practice cutting on a new magazine of little value until you are comfortable. Paper cutters are available at all craft stores.

Tips & Warnings

  • Staples can cut your fingers easily. So rather than risk a puncture, use a ruler, not your fingers, to hold down the staple while prying it loose.
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