I have a collection of songbooks, which are now 80+ years old (first editions, printed between 1940 - 1950).

For example:

Book printed in 1946
Book printed in 1946

Could laminating all pages with thin, self-adhesive plastic become a disaster as a preservation technique?

I need some advise.

  • Also consider taking a clear and well-lit, high-res photo of each page while you can. I failed to do this and my sheet music was later destroyed. Whether you upload the photos to a sharing site or just keep them yourself is your choice.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 5 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


Yes, it would be a disaster as a preservation technique.

It seems you consider these valuable objects. If you want them to retain their value, you should find a reversible preservation technique.
Self-adhesive plastic will basically glue itself to the paper, and removing these films will definitely cause damage (tearing fibres from the paper, removing the ink, possibly infusing the paper with chemicals that will deteriorate it).

The best option for the longevity and preservation of these items is to bring them to a conservator.
If that is no option, you can find other methods and points of attention among our list of questions (for example here).

  • 2
    Glue on the self adhesive plastic will age, lose contact with the plastic and leave a dirty layer on the paper, sometimes already in a few years.
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 22 at 18:48
  • 1
    and the plastic will progressively turn yellow
    – Yorik
    Commented Jun 13 at 20:02

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