How to open an envelope without damaging it

Written by megan richardson
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How to open an envelope without damaging it
Hot and cold temperatures can both be used to discretely unseal an envelope. (blue envelope image by Marek Kosmal from

Once you've sealed an envelope, you may realise you forgot to include something. Instead of ripping through the envelope and paying for another one, it is possible to unseal the envelope without damaging it. There are a couple of methods that can be used to make the glue that's on the seal become unsticky so the envelope can be opened easily.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Freezer
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Nail file

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  1. 1

    Place the envelope in your freezer.

  2. 2

    Wait a few hours, then take the envelope out of the freezer.

  3. 3

    Slide a nail filer under between the seal and the envelope. Slide it a small way to see it the seal pops open. If it does, slide the nail filer the rest of the way through the seal.

  1. 1

    Fill a pot with water.

  2. 2

    Place the pot of water onto the stove.

  3. 3

    Turn the heat to a high setting, and wait for the water to start boiling. Steam should start to rise.

  4. 4

    Hold the envelope seal over the steam, so it can reach the seal. Do this for a couple of minutes.

  5. 5

    Slide a nail file under the seal to see if it comes undone easily. If it doesn't, continue to steam for a few more minutes.

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