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How to Restore Damaged Polaroid Photos

Polaroid cameras produce single images.
photographic instant camera image by The Blowfish Inc from Fotolia.com

A Polaroid photo damaged due to rips, wrinkles or water spots can be a frustrating situation because Polaroid film produces no extra prints. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair the photo directly. By using a scanner and some digital photo editing techniques, however, you can print a new photo that will be as good as new.

Things You'll Need:

  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Photo
  • Photo Editing Software With Clone Or Rubber-Stamp Tool

Make sure you have your scanner set to the proper photo setting (color or black and white) and that it is set to scan on the highest resolution. This will vary on different scanners, so refer to the scanner's manual if you are unsure how to do this.

Scan the photo into your computer as a JPG file.

Open the photo in your editing software and save it as a new file name so that you won't have to scan the photo again if you make a mistake.

Select the clone or rubber-stamp tool. It is usually shown in the tool bar as a small, stamp-shaped icon.

Set your cloning point to an area of the photo that is similar to the spot you are trying to repair. For example, if a photo has a rip on someone's blue jeans, set your cloning point to an undamaged spot on the jeans that is closest in appearance to what you are going to be repairing.

Click on the spot you are repairing. This will "stamp" an exact copy of the area you selected onto the spot you are repairing.

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 until you have completely covered the spot you are repairing.

Print the photo to make sure the printed results are satisfactory. You may need to do additional touch-ups if you catch errors after printing.


Using the clone tool takes a lot of practice, so keep trying until it looks right. You can also clean up the areas you are editing by using the brush and smudge tools to touch up spots that don't look right using just the cloning tool.


  • This method works best for photos that don't have significant damage. For photos with large areas of damage (such as when half a person's face is ripped off), you will most likely have to have the photo professionally restored, unless you are an artist and can create the missing part of the photo on your own.
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