Paper Repairs

Hello everyone, I know it has been a long time since I last posted here. You all know the reasons, fires, pandemic, life. I thought I would have a chat about paper repairs and the things you need to repair tears in your books.


Rule number 1, never ever EVER use sticky tape. Please! Sticky tape causes more damage to your paper and can be very costly to remove properly. The ideal method in my opinion, is to mix up your own paste by either cooking your wheat starch or mixing up some cold water paste and applying it to strips of Japanese paper torn to suit by first painting a thin line of water with a water brush. After rubbing the repair with a bone or Teflon folder we place a piece of Reemay and a piece of blotting paper on either side of the repair and then a hold it all in place with a small weight. Tear repairs with tissue and paste are ‘reversible’ and can be removed in the future.

Here is a quick video by Lucilla Ronai which briefly shows the process outlined above. Lucilla is a conservator who has started a wonderful YouTube channel sharing some insight into the fascinating world of conservation. You can take a look at Lucilla’s other videos here.


If all of that sounds too difficult, you could use Filmoplast P a self-adhesive repair tape which is especially useful for quickly re-enforcing sections before sewing. Or Filmoplast R which is a heat activated Japanese paper. Paper conservators say “Filmoplast is more difficult to remove and is not as stable so it can change over time – so be careful when you do apply it!” The choice is yours but the process of taking time to do your own paper repairs properly and in a way that respects the object can be quite calming and therapeutic. Enjoy.