How to Get Wrinkles out of Paper

Three Methods:Using WeightUsing HeatUsing Steam

Paper is pretty fragile, so sometimes, no matter how careful you are, it can wrinkle. If it's an significant document, such as your homework, a favorite sketch, or an important form, creases and folds can be a serious problem. But all hope isn't lost -- with a few items that you already have around the house, you can smooth your paper back into shape and make it look like new.

Method 1
Using Weight

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    Smooth the paper by hand. While you probably won’t be able to remove all of the wrinkles, you may be able to work out some of the creases and folds just by running your hand over it. It’s important to be gentle, though, because you may rip the paper if you use too much force. The goal is to flatten it, so it’s as smooth as possible.[1]
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    Gather several heavy objects. Your hand may not be able to smooth all of the wrinkles from the paper, but a significant weight can often press out the creases and folds. Look for items around the house that are fairly heavy, such as thick books, pots and pans, or even bricks. Choose objects that are as large or larger than the paper to ensure that the entire surface is covered.[2]
    • You don’t necessarily need one extremely heavy object. Try stacking several smaller objects on top of one another to create a significant weight.
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    Place the paper under the weight. You’ll want to set the page on a flat surface, and make sure that it is as smooth as possible before setting your objects on top. Check that the entire sheet of paper is covered, so all of the wrinkles can be smoothed. If your heavy object isn’t large enough to cover the paper, place two or more side by side to ensure that the full surface is weighted down.[3]
    • Depending on the items that you’re using as weights, it may be a good idea to throw a towel over the paper before placing the objects on top to prevent it from getting dirty.
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    Let the paper sit. It takes time for the weight of your objects to press out the wrinkles, so you need to let them sit for a while. The amount of time necessary depends on how wrinkled the paper is and how heavy the objects on top are, but the longer you let it sit, the better. Typically, you’ll want to wait at least 24 hours.[4]
    • In most cases, using weight alone isn’t enough to completely smooth all of the wrinkles out of a sheet of paper. However, it can help get rid of some of the creases before you move onto one of the other methods.

Method 2
Using Heat

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    Place paper on an ironing board. You want to make sure that the page lays flat on the surface, so smooth it with your hands to ensure that it’s not folded or bent in any areas. Cover the ironing board with a clean towel or sheet before setting the paper down to ensure that it doesn’t get dirty.[5]
    • Depending on the type of paper and what kind of ink is used on it, you may want to lightly mist it with distilled water before setting it on the ironing board. The water can help soften the paper, so it’s easier to press out the wrinkles. However, it can also make some types of ink, such as inkjet printer ink, run, so you may want to mist a test page before doing it to the paper that you’re trying to smooth.
    • If you don’t have an ironing board, any flat surface, such as a table, counter, or even floor, can work. Just make sure to line it with a very thick cotton towel to protect it from the heat.
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    Cover the paper. You don’t want the page to get too hot when you apply heat because you run the risk of scorching it. That’s why it helps to place a clean towel or piece of fabric over it before you get your iron out. Don’t fold the towel or fabric into too many layers, though, or it may be difficult for the heat to reach the paper.[6]
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    Set your iron to low. Because you don’t want to damage the paper, it’s best to start with the lowest heat setting. If you notice that the wrinkles aren’t coming out of the paper once you start ironing, raise the heat slightly.[7]
    • Make sure to wait until the iron is heated before you start ironing the page. Depending on the iron’s type and model, it can take anywhere from one to three minutes.
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    Iron the paper. You can use the same technique that you would if you were ironing clothing. Move the iron over the cloth-covered paper in small circular motions, making sure that you don’t let it linger in any one spot for too long. Every so often, stop, lift the cloth, and check to see if the wrinkles are gone. If they aren’t, keep ironing until you’re satisfied with the paper’s smoothness.[8]
    • While you should move the iron just as you would with clothing, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re working with paper, which is more fragile than fabric. Be as gentle as possible to avoid ripping, tearing, scorching, or otherwise damaging the paper.

Method 3
Using Steam

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    Turn on the shower. You can create a great deal of steam in your bathroom if you turn on your shower as hot as it will go and close the door. To fill the room, you’ll want to wait at least 10 minutes so the steam has time to build.[9]
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    Set the paper on a flat surface. Once there is plenty of steam in the bathroom, you can set the page down so the steam can help relax its fibers. Make sure that it’s not too close to the shower, though, because you don’t want any moisture to develop on the paper. Check that it isn’t folded or creased in any areas either.[10]
    • Wherever you plan to set the paper down, it’s a good idea to lay down a clean towel first. It will absorb any moisture that might be on the surface from the steam, so you don’t have to worry about the paper getting too wet.
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    Let it sit. In order for the steam to help the paper release the wrinkles, you’ll need to keep it in the bathroom for approximately 10 minutes. If the page is severely wrinkled, you may want to give it extra time -- but check on it every so often to ensure that it’s not absorbing too much moisture.[11]
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    Smooth out the wrinkles with hand. After the paper has been steamed, remove it from the bathroom, and place it on another flat surface. While the steam may have helped release some of the wrinkles, you should use your hand to press over it again while the paper is still relaxed from the steam. Be gentle, though, because you don’t want to tear or damage the page.[12]
    • You may want to cover your hand in a clean hand towel before smoothing the paper. That will help protect it from any dirt, oils, or other debris that might be on your skin.
    • Even if you manage to smooth most of the wrinkles out of the paper, you may want to place the paper under a heavy weight for several hours to a day in order to further press it.


  • If the paper is extremely delicate, you may want to place a few layers of fabric over it when you iron.
  • No matter what method you choose for smoothing paper, patience is key. Working too quickly can damage the page, leaving you with bigger problems than just a few wrinkles.


  • Even on a low setting, an iron can get very hot. Be careful not to burn your fingers when you’re running it over the paper.

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Categories: Stationery