Attaching an Old, Damaged Label to a Wooden Frame

Dear Donia,
How do I reattach an old, damaged label on the back of a wooden frame?

Frame label

Q. Dear Donia,

I have removed an old, damaged label off the back of an early 20th century wooden frame. After cleaning the frame and removing all old adhesive, I am curious as to how to reattach the label back onto the original frame. Thanks, Melissa

A. Dear Melissa,

There are a couple of ways to reattach the label. The first is to adhere it back on with paste. You can either get pure wheat starch for paste from suppliers such as our sponsor Hollinger Metal Edge, or you can make paste from household flour. If using flour, my preferred brand is King Arthur All Purpose Flour as it has fewer chemical additives than others. Paste can be made on the stove top or in the microwave. Simply take any amount of flour, I usually start with at least two tablespoons, and add water until it is the consistency of cream. Put the slurry in a much larger glass container than you think you need and pop it in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds watching closely. Take it out and stir it and pop it in again for 15 seconds. When the paste all looks translucent with no powder left, the paste is done. Let it cool completely before using. If it is too thick to use, you can always dilute it with a little water.

The other option is to get label holders such as these from our sponsor. They will not require you to put anything on the old label and will protect the label from getting scratched and further damaged when on the back of the frame. 

Good luck with your project!