I have this poplar hobby wood that has price tag stickers on it. When I am peeling them off, they kind of tear, and of course it seems to leaving a residue behind when portions do come off. How can I get these price tag stickers off in a way that the wood will okay to take stain in those places?

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How can I get these price tag stickers off in a way that the wood will okay to take stain in those places?

Re. the highlighted portion, you shouldn't need to worry about that because the surface of the wood should be worked enough that this stops being a concern — it's good practice never to attempt to stain, or otherwise finish1, any wood bought pre-dimensioned without at least doing something to prep the surface (these days usually light sanding).

For the sticker residue, scraping should get most or all of it off. This can be done using a card scraper, any sharp blade or the long edges of a chisel, whatever works best for you..... or whichever happens to be closest :-) Any traces remaining will be dealt with when you surface the wood, either by planing, scraping or sanding.

Note: although the right solvent2 will deal with 99% of sticker residues if you use this as the only step on wood there's a risk some of the dissolved adhesive will soak into the surface wood fibres, which will act as a 'resist' (stain-blocker). This can sometimes be visible even if only varnishing. So physical or abrasive means are the right call here.

1 This includes primer or paint.

2 Usually either mineral spirits or denatured alcohol (UK: white spirit or methylated spirits).


A cabinet scraper might be another solution, removing the wood the glue adhered to.

  • Agreed. You can use a normal stanley knife blade as a scraper in a pinch. (Added bonus: it's sharp out of the box!) Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 22:51

I'd use mineral spirits or another solvent (lacquer thinner, denatured alcohol, etc.) to remove the residue.

You should verify compatibility with your finishing product before use.


Guide a razor blade along the lifting edge of the sticker as you peel it off. This will usually get most of the adhesive. If you have remains of a sticker left, you can skim off most of the residue and sticker remains with a razor blade or sharp chisel, being careful not to gouge into the surface or cut through the top veneer if working with plywood or other veneered material. Afterward, sand the entire surface lightly with a fine grit so the surface takes stain uniformly.

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