DIY Repair Water Damaged Family Photos

I have partly repaired cracks in this photo

Portrait of family members
Portrait of family members | Source

Repairing Photo's

A few years ago we arrived home after going to visit my dying sister. On opening the front door my husband said "What the heck happened." With that, he raced off around the side of the house. Typical me I walked straight in not seeing the problem. I found out in a hurry, the floor was covered an inch deep in water, my shoes were squelching as I walked through the house.

I spotted my brand new front loader washing machine in the middle of the floor. The water pouring from the taps where the hoses used to be connected. I raced outside again, but my husband was turning off the water.

Oh boy, what a mess, every floor was covered in water. We spent an hour or so opening the doors and trying to bucket and mop some of the water out. It was hopeless. Now I am so glad that my husband thought to turn the power of before I entered the house as some of the power plugs were close to the floor. So much for being water wise with the front loader. We were so glad we came home when we did and not stayed for a meal.

We survived; many people suffer much worse dramas. We rang the insurance and they were really brilliant. The house was completely empty by ten oclock that night, all stacked under the patio.

Removing Scratches on Old Photos

Removing Scratches on Photos Before and after
Removing Scratches on Photos Before and after | Source

My Damaged Photos and Photo Albums

Oh no, my Photos!

Two days later, I found my photos amongst this mess. Some pages of the albums were stuck together. Other loose photos, which were in a cardboard box, were saturated. We did our best and separated most of them laying them out on tables etc as best we could. Although it was the middle of winter and pouring rain outside. We were lucky to have room under the patio. I found it is easier to replace the albums than trying to resurrect them.

Repairing torn Photos

The pictures that were torn, I scanned and used the program called paint shop pro, to reconstruct. There is a tool called a clone brush. If you right click on the area you need to copy then move your mouse over to the area you need to reconstruct, you can actually redo the picture, a little bit at a time.

For instance: if a persons leg is missing, then carefully right click on the right leg, then left click where you want to put the missing leg, now you can recreate another leg. Make sure to keep the little cursor cross on the part you are copying. If it moves off that, then it will copy what ever it is on, so be careful.

This takes a little practice but it works fine. You can also use this tool to remove cracks, water marks etc.

Photographs should be attended to first. You can wash these if dirty, be careful when you clean the surfaces, as with any wet photo you can damage it. Lay each photo on a flat surface to dry. They could curl up, although you can straighten them later. If damaged you could still scan and print new ones if not too bad.

With negatives, you should, wash, and dry them. If you have a scanner that copies negatives or film, then all you need to do is, scan and print new ones. Nothing has been lost.

You should be able to treat slides the same way as negatives, except if the covers are made of cardboard then that is best removed. Then scan and reprint. If, in plastic covers, drying out is all they need.

Therefore all was not lost. Good luck, trying this out. We found the scanner and printer to be of great assistance in our time of need.

Repairing Torn and Damaged Photos

It is quite easy to repair torn photos with a bit of patience you can have photo looking like new
It is quite easy to repair torn photos with a bit of patience you can have photo looking like new | Source

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Comments 13 comments

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

I hope all is well now, you guys did well in responding to adversity. Others would have panicked and caused more troubles for themselves. Regarding DIY, I don't have Paint Pro, I will check it out. I digitize most of my photos and keep them online in Google Picasa.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 9 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

I am too lazy to put mine up on net. Just make cd's of them and renew every so often in case I have a damaged disk. Thanks for that

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

Great knowledge and thanks for the valuable information.

You certainly coped well. Have a better year in 2008

Caregiver-007 profile image

Caregiver-007 9 years ago from Florida

Wonderful tips for those irreplaceable family photos. Yes, we are now trying to scan them (tough with the larger ones), but that's not the same as repairing the originals of our great-grandparents or parents at special times in their lives. Thank you!

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 8 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Glad that it may help you to do your photos. They are definitely irreplacable once left and not replaced before it is too late.

Leon O. profile image

Leon O. 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Great information on a topic you don't really think about until it happens to you. Bad front loaders! No delicates for you tonight!

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Leon, I can tell you it made a big mess thats for sure and took ages to sort it all out.

Leon O. profile image

Leon O. 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Old photos are so precious too. I love aged silver gelatin prints, cracks and all, it's part of the image and the era they were taken in. I hope it all worked out okay for you.

Oh and btw, nice looking puppy, I have a border collie, a not so distant relative.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Leon yes photos are precious. And so is our dog, he is brilliant 10 years old now.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

What a horror to find those old photos ruined. I love my old pics and would be heartbroken if anything happened to them. I am so glad that you were able to fix them. Must have been quite a job.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

Delores Monet, yes it sure was a lot of work and made big mess thats for sure. But saved and fixed most of them Thanks for stopping by

Sacramento water damage 7 years ago

Thanks for that - very useful information and normall that's something we dont think about when we think about a flood, but it's something that will be missed once the dust settles.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia Author

sacremento water damage, going by your title you would know something about that subject (water damage) Yes it s like fires or floods. Most photos cannot be replaced sometimes relatives may have a few though.

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