Tag: paper conservation

Tape of low moral fiber

Tape of low moral fiber

If you ever need some scotch tape or masking tape in my conservation lab, this is where you’ll find it.   Double-sided tape (used for all sorts of conservation housings) is in the “Tape Tape” drawer.

Mold Remediation

Mold Remediation

Some before and after photos of a recent mold remediation treatment I’ve been working on. It’s a collection of more than a hundred architectural drawings, paintings, and photographic reproductions that were damaged by mold prior to their acquisition by the library.  Fortunately, most of the […]

My favourite tool: Isabelle Egan

My favourite tool: Isabelle Egan

Post ID: 6251

Carefully opening a sealed commemorative box of Kellogg’s corn flakes in the conservation lab. The emptied box will go live a happy life in one of our Archives collections. No, I’m not going to taste the cereal… 😛 (Source: https://vine.co/)

Map conservation

Moving a historic map from #cleaning table to #humidification station. #paper #conservation A photo posted by ICA – Art Conservation (@icaconservation) on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:31am PST

Post ID: 6753


What tape does to paper. You can see my fingers through the tape, which has made the paper translucent.

Here’s a bit more of an explanation about what’s happening between the tape and the paper in the photos above:

“A good example to illustrate examination and treatment methods is an artwork on paper onto which a rubber based cellophane tape has been applied. A classification system is used to determine the degree of degradation of the tape, a factor that is critical to planning the removal strategy. In stage one, called the induction stage, the tape seems healthy. The adhesive is functioning well, the carrier is stable, and no discoloration is apparent. In stage two, called the oxidative stage, the carrier is still present, but the adhesive is stringy and overly sticky. During this stage volatiles such as plasticizers are lost, and the
rubber elastomer is actively oxidizing. The tape may be discolored from the cumulative effect of a number of chemical changes. In stage three, called the crosslinked stage, the adhesive has failed, and the carrier is gone or will come off easily. The adhesive is brittle, highly discolored, and the paper to which it is affixed is translucent from penetration of the adhesive. After the stage of deterioration is determined, other observations are made, such as whether there is plasticizer migration or dimensional change in the carrier. Microscopic examination can show if underlying media have been affected, and crossed polar viewing can help determine the carrier material.”
-Quoted from “Pressure sensitive tapes and our cultural heritage” by Elissa M. O’Loughlin, Associate Conservator, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD 

Conservation lab limericks

Here in the lab there’s no issues,With using our tissues,Except when you sneeze,We ask you quite please,Use the Kleenex and not the Sekishu! There once was a company named Demco,Whose products were used with a gusto,On spines they would drape,The most marvelous tape,Removing its really […]

Conservation Conversations // Adhesives in Library and Archives: A Colloquium Review (Part 1)

Conservation Conversations // Adhesives in Library and Archives: A Colloquium Review (Part 1) Last Friday, the first Biennial Conservation Colloquium was held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Four conservators traveled to Urbana from the UK and across the country to speak about their research or practical experiences […]

Learning how to make paste!


Today I learned how to make wheat starch paste, which is used as an adhesive for repairing tears, attaching new pieces of paper to fill a loss, and relining a particularly fragile work. 

We used zin shofu, a Japanese wheat paste. One part wheat paste and four parts water were mixed together in a sauce stirrer and then left to sit for around twenty minutes.


Then, the very opaque milky liquid was heated and stirred for forty-five minutes until it became more translucent and tacky. Paste can be made by hand or in a microwave; there are so many different recipes out there! 


In the conservation lab at the Met paste is stored in plastic syringes, which lessens the exposure to air and keeps it from spoiling quickly. It also allows the conservators to only use small amounts of paste at a time.


The syringes need to be sanitized by heating in boiling water before new paste is put in so that black mold does not grow in them. Once the paste is done cooking it is carefully sucked into the syringes so that no air bubbles get in. 

Other ways to make paste: microwave! Whisking it by hand in a pot over a hot-plate (builds muscle AND character)! Pre-gel paste that doesn’t require cooking.

Also I love syringe paste – it keeps really well in the fridge, and also somehow comes out extra smooth. 

They did WHAT?

When I hear the phrase “we fixed it with some tape”…