Do tapes and stickers ruin postcards?

Hello everybody!
This afternoon I asked for a postcard to send and in the profile of the person to whom I’m going to send it I read that they prefer no stickers nor any kind of label/tape, because they ruin postcards within few years.
I can image it’s due to the glue… what do you think about it? Shall I start to try to remove any stickers I have in mine, as I want to preserve them?

1 Like

I’m sure it would be fine if you used acid free or archival quality stickers, labels, and tape. But I’m not an expert so I’m sure someone might be able to chime in with a more definitive answer.


Would depend of what they mean by within few years… I have plenty cards from 2016 with washi tapes and various sort of stickers on them, nothing ruined so far as of today. Can’t speak for older than 2016 cards though as i have none.


I think the postcard itself could get ruined within few years too. Some people (like me) would love to see stickers or washi tapes on the cards anyway. And if they get ruined, it’d just add to the beauty. So maybe you can save your stickers for those who mentioned their love for stickers, tapes, decorations, or mail arts in their profile. :slight_smile:


Depending on many factors. As I’m living in tropical climate country, stickers and deco tapes tend to deteriorate faster in quality. They can melt and dyed color onto the paper products. The glue part that melt can destroy the cards. Because it can’t be remove using easy solution like wiping with a dried clean cloth.

I experienced the problems arising from stickers and deco tapes. Especially products that made with quality not on par with Japanese made washi tapes/stickers.

When I doubt the quality of such products found on the postcards I received, I remove them myself. Meaning, taking out the decorations from these cards by carefully peeling them off.


Our stamps and priority labels are also stickers.

What I’ve noticed is that if you put clear tape over text, it “bleeds” and text becomes unreadable. Also some printer text fades (thermal?) I’ve received card where my address is barely readable. Also glued can fall off.

Postcards are not meant to last forever, and it’s nice to see how they last :slight_smile:


I don’t know about that - guess it would depend on the kind of glue used…

However, some postcrossers place washitape or stickers on the postcards description on the back, which tells the adressee what you see in the picture… That’s a really bad idea in my opinion!

Generally I am not too enthusiastic about washitape and stickers - I’d much rather see the space used for writing :slight_smile:


These don’t ruined the postcards… !

1 Like

What do you mean?
They can ruin, as much as glue residue from any other sticker.
If it fells or slides off, you don’t know if it was a priority sticker, stamp or some other sticker :confused:

1 Like

Hm… because I never have trouble with stamps and priority stickers felling off from postcards over the time… This is based on my experience. I don’t know about others.

So far, so good. I never experienced stamps leaving glue residual. If Priority stickers, the glue part do not become “sticky” and fall off. No glue residual from Priority stickers left on the postcard.

1 Like

Oh, ok.
I have old letters where stickers and stamps had fallen to the bottom of the box :smile: stamps leaving a yellowing brown mark where they were. But stickers in letters (inside the envelopes) were still in place.
I think if one wants to keep the card as they are, it helps to store them in as even temperature as possible.

And of course serious collectors might find better cards elsewhere, here I think people should send the card the way that makes them the happiest, and show what cards they send, and their style.

And of course, stamps, priority labels, stickers and tapes have different kind of glues.


Also, little off topic, but I kept my stamps in my cupboard, and didn’t think there’s a lamp attached in the bottom of it. Some stamps were stuck to the backing, and when I get them off, there’s no glue in stamp, but very sticky sheet. Some just fell loose, and the glue isn’t sticky even on the sheet, so it dried totally.
I believe these had different type of glue, where the other dried in warmness, the other got tacky.

1 Like

Very true. Stamps have to keep at places with minimum exposure to sunlight, heat and in good ventilation areas.

Temperature play a major factor. Any paper products have to take care of the humidity level and ventilation.


I have cards from 12 years back with stickers and washi tape, I keep them in a closed box or some I have hanging on the wall and they are all still in the same condition.


Hi! I remember we were all lectured by our college library staff because of post-it notes left in books. So even the glue on post-it notes can be harmful!

As it isn’t acid-free, it makes the paper brittle and prone to tears.

It’s even worse for tape (which is the same as washi tape), as it turns the paper yellow and, in the long term, weakens and destroys it. It might also ruin the paper next to it – so, in a book, the acid “seeps through” many pages and, when it comes to postcards organised in a stack, the washi tape on one card can “spread” onto and ruin other cards.

I quickly googled around and it turns out that most washi tapes are acidic. According to this article, only Japan’s mt washi tape is truly acid-free.

Besides, I’d love to receive a card covered in text… and coloured tapes only take away valuable space :smiley: Still though, if you love it, don’t stop using it! If the recipient would like to store their stuff long term, they’ll specify it in their profile or, otherwise, they’ll take off the tape themselves. I have received plenty of cards with washi tapes on them and I’ll just let nature take its course.

To anyone who takes washi tape off of postcards: there could still be acidic remnants on the paper! Maybe try and scrub it off with an eraser, although it might be hard to remove it completely… Things are destined to degrade with time!


Woah! Ok, your pictures definitely persuade me to update my profile asking postcrossers not to use anything with glue! :see_no_evil:
That is a shame, 'cause I like colourful and creative postcards, but I don’t want to found out some years from now that my postcards have turned yellow/brown or, even worse, become crumbs! :fearful:


But it’s not like the ones who doesn’t use tape or other decoration will write more.

Also the postcard is not necessarily acid free so it will yellow in time by itself, like with books. I have newer books that look vintage, and old ones with good paper, and they don’t even look old. It depends much on the paper too.

(The teared paper, to me looks like it was torn, and someone tried to fix it :frowning: but this looks exactly like the traces of postage stamp and priority stickers, and for example Finland doesn’t sell other than sticker stamps.)

Of course there are lots of acid free glues and stickers, papers etc so these are good to use as decoration if anyone is worried. Maybe also the one who wants to save them to future generations can spray them with “acid free” or other protective spray.


In Australia we have 2 types of postage stamps, gummed and adhesive. The gummed ones are the ones you lick and stick and the adhesive are the same as stickers. The reason for both is they keep the gummed mainly for philatelic purposes (stamp collecting) and can be removed by soaking in water. Some people like to reuse these if they haven’t been cancelled by the post office. If you don’t ask for these you often get the sticker ones. These have little triangles cut into the edges so they can’t be removed and reused.

I agree that stickers and washi come in different levels of quality but cheap ones tend to just dry out and fall off with age. As do old postage stamps.
So my point is that while I agree that the adhesives of decorative tape isn’t archival quality (acid free), the quality and type of stamp gum/glue also varies, and postcards themselves are if hugely varying quality that mostly they aren’t archival at all. Ditto pen inks. Biro type pens are oil based and bleed everywhere with time. So removing a sticker or 2 at the end of the day is likely futile.

1 Like

Pretty much all of them (except those with shiny backsides maybe) will turn yellowish I guess. At least all my older cards look like that. Some sooner, some later. And they are blank. Just as books turn yellow after years and years.


Books printed on acid-free paper don’t turn yellow.
High quality is worth it.