1. Felix Rodriguez October 29, 2016 @ 7:37 pm Reply

    I have torn pages in a book. About 10 with jagged edges. I would like an estimate for repair. I’m on a limited budget and really like the book. Thanks.

    • John Ison John Ison November 6, 2016 @ 6:44 pm Reply


      This is a simple repair that you can do on your own. Please refer to “Book Repair ASAP” which deals with repairing a torn page. The first suggestion there is to use high quality tape such as Scotch Magic Mending Tape but I would be hesitant to use tape to repair 10 pages since that would result in a very thick area in the book. Instead, refer to the next section headed “Alternative to Taping a Tear” and follow that process.

      Start by placing a sheet of waxed paper under the last torn page and then follow the steps outlined. After applying the adhesive, place a sheet of waxed paper on top of the repair and smooth it down. At this point you can move to the next torn page and repeat the process. By using waxed paper on top of each repaired page you should be able to quickly complete mending all damaged pages. Then, leaving the waxed paper in place, close the book, place some weight on top of it and let the repair dry overnight.

      Hope this helps.


      • Pam Byron September 7, 2017 @ 9:46 pm Reply

        So please can you tell me where can i get wax paper? Thanks.

        • John Ison John Ison September 13, 2017 @ 9:02 am Reply


          Pre-cut sheets are available from Demco. Shop for product #WS20031930. It’s heavily coated so each sheet can be used many times to protect your books as you repair them.

  2. Emma November 6, 2016 @ 11:59 pm Reply

    Hi John, this was very helpful, you just saved so many of my books you have no idea. 🙂 I also wanted to know how to repair other pages such as certificates? My cat tore a corner from two of my a level certificates and I’m not sure I should use scotch tape on top since that makes it very obvious, and like you said, can ruin more than it can fix, and the torn corners are slightly smaller than two fingertips together. What should I do? Thank you.

    • John Ison John Ison December 12, 2016 @ 10:50 am Reply

      Hi Emma,

      Sorry about the damage to your certificates. You are correct that taping on the front surface would be fairly noticeable so I would suggest that you use a procedure from the June, 2015 blog “Book Repair ASAP”. The “alternative” method, using Norbond adhesive, would probably result in the least noticeable repair but you could also follow the process in the section on taping a torn page but place the tape on the back side of the certificate. Just be careful that the two sides of the tear overlap correctly.

      Please forgive me for being so tardy with this response. I found today that I had written it but neglected to post it.


  3. Ashley March 6, 2017 @ 3:39 pm Reply

    is the Norbond adhesive reversible? Are these methods what you would recommend on a rare or hard to replace book/document?

  4. John Ison John Ison March 9, 2017 @ 8:32 am Reply


    Great question! Norbond, along with neutral pH Neutralbond, is a permanent adhesive and not reversible. When working with rare or archival materials many paper conservators recommend using wheat or rice starch paste to make reversible repairs. You can easily make your own paste using either wheat or rice flour and this link will lead you to a good video on that process: https://uclagettyprogram.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/starch-paste/

    If you don’t want to cook up your paste yourself Demco’s sister company Gaylord Archival offers a pre-cooked powder that you simply add water to when you’re ready to use it: http://www.gaylord.com/Preservation/Conservation-Supplies/Adhesives/Pre-Cooked-Instant-Wheat-Starch-Paste/p/52000

    In case you are dealing with badly torn paper you can follow the procedures outlined in this blog post but substitute a starch paste for the Norbond to make a reversible repair.

    At times you may find that a reversible pressure-sensitive tape is suitable for a repair and Gaylord Archival offers several. This link will lead you to one of them from which you can shop for various widths of tape: http://www.gaylord.com/Preservation/Conservation-Supplies/Tape/Lineco-Document-Repair-Tape-%2850-ft-%29/p/57101

    I hope this helps but if you need further information don’t hesitate to send a follow-up question.


  5. Aaron Reed July 20, 2017 @ 7:23 am Reply

    Hi John ,
    I was wondering if these methods for repairing paper could also be used to repair older collectible trading cards or post cards and such. I have some baseball cards for instance that were damaged. A few were torn partially, another was torn in half, and a couple lost the corners. I’m just curious if there’s a way to repair them again and if so would it follow similar methods as other paper products or is it an entirely different animal altogether?

  6. John Ison John Ison August 1, 2017 @ 10:31 am Reply

    How you repair collectable cards depends on what you might want to do with them. If you are planning to keep them for your personal collection with no intent to sell them in the future, the techniques discussed in this blog are acceptable. Just be sure that you are using acid-neutral products for the repair such as Filmoplast P transparent mending tape and NeutralBond adhesive.

    However, if you find cards that may have significant value in the collectibles market you have many things to consider before making any repairs as a poorly-done repair can render a valuable card unmarketable. Even a professional repair can reduce the value to that of an unrepaired card. There are many on-line resources you can consult to research the potential value of your cards and organizations that will appraise individual cards that might have value.

    My best advice is to proceed thoughtfully and carefully before making any repairs to older cards and it you decide to repair use materials that will not cause additional damage.


  7. Max March 16, 2018 @ 10:47 pm Reply

    Dear John,
    I have a soft cover book, please see the attached pictures. The spine seems to be torn, however the pages are all intact. What is the best course of action. By this way, I have never repaired books, save for taping them.

    Thank you.

Leave a Reply