· By Steffen Smith

Another Rip in The Wall: 3 Ways to Fix a Torn Album Cover

Almost as bad as a scratched record is a tattered and torn album cover (or jacket or sleeve, if you call it that). It not only looks bad, but it can also torpedo the value of a collectible record.

In particular, there are two types of issues that are very common. The first occurs when one side of the cover comes unglued. It is just flapping in the breeze, and the vinyl can’t stay inside. This is easily fixed because you have two edges that you can glue together.

White Glue to the Rescue

The good news is that this is a super easy fix. You just put a bead of fresh glue on it. I’ve tried a couple of different adhesives, including glue sticks and contact cement, and the best I’ve found is plain old Elmer’s Glue (the white glue that weird kid next to you in kindergarten used to eat!).

The trick here is less is more. So, just a small bead along the edge. Press it together once, and then open it up to make sure the coverage is right. Then press it back together. Next, remove any excess glue that has squeezed out with a damp sponge. Then put some pressure on it. I usually put the album cover under a crate of records. The glue should dry within a couple of hours. Of course, all of this is done with the actual record carefully set aside.

Now unless you’re super careful, there’s going to be some overflow on the inside, and the jacket won’t open all the way. For that, I carefully place my hand inside and gently run it along the seam that has been glued, forcing the pocket to open fully. The record then slips in perfectly.

Fixing Seam Damage

The other type of damage to the cover is a bit more serious. The paper has torn all the way through the seam, so there’s no flap to apply glue to. Taping it with cellophane tape is really not an option. Yes, it will hold things together, but it will also kill the value of that album as a collectible record.

But this kind of tear is fixable — you just need the right tool. One option is called “document repair tape” and is used to repair books and documents. 

There is a self-adhesive type, where you peel the backing off and apply. But I like the type that has a water-activated adhesive. You just fold the tape in half lengthwise and then work it into the tear with the adhesive side out. The result is a new seam/pocket that the record can slide into. Again, I put it under pressure for a while just to make sure everything sets up properly. Then, trim off any overhang with scissors or an X-Acto knife. 

Make It Eazy

Ive also discovered a great product made specifically for album repair. Seamzeazy Record Jacket Repair Strips are made of the same fiber board material as the album cover, so its a little less obvious than white paper. 

You just fold it lengthwise and remove the paper backing to expose the adhesive. The Seamzeazy strips are the right size to fix the entire length of a seam, or can be cut to size. 

If you want to see seam repair live and in-depth, check out my YouTube video on the subject.

Until next time, keep em spinning!

1 comment

  • I only recently entered the incredible vinyl world of hi-fi by purchasing about 100 albums from an estate sale here in Arizona. I cataloged each album using Discogs after carefully washing each record and repairing some albums. Most of the albums are jazz however I plan to add another genre to the mix. All of this required building a listening room to enjoy the music.

    Gene McCarthy on

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