How to Separate Postage Stamps

For those who collect postage stamps, the old gummed variety can have a tendency to stick together, making it hard to separate them for inclusion in a collection. Here is a tried and true method for separating them.


  1. Image titled Separate Postage Stamps Step 1
    Lay a thin piece of paper or a clean handkerchief over the stamps.
  2. Image titled Separate Postage Stamps Step 2
    Set the iron to hot. Run the hot iron over the paper or handkerchief. Do this quickly and gently. It can be done straight on the ironing bed, as this is easiest.
  3. Image titled Separate Postage Stamps Step 3
    Remove the paper and carefully tease apart the stamps using stamp tweezers. The stamps should come apart easily. If not, repeat until the stamps come unstuck.
  4. Image titled Separate Postage Stamps Step 4
    Add the separated stamps to your collection.


  • Note that soaking stamps is a possibility but increases the chances of damage to stamps. If the stamps are valuable, avoid soaking and seek professional advice.
  • Ensure that you use acid-free collector's books for your stamps.


  • It is always preferable to use stamp tweezers to handle stamps rather than your fingers. The oils in your skin can damage stamp paper and gums.
  • Always take sensible precautions using a hot iron. You should be old enough to handle one; if not, ask a responsible person to do the ironing part for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Thin piece paper or handkerchief
  • Iron
  • Stamp tweezers
  • Ironing board

Sources and Citations

  • Sourced from Fowler's Household Helps, available in the public domain via Project Gutenberg. The eBook used for the source of this article is available for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.

Article Info

Categories: Stamp Collecting