Reading Faded labels

Michael Homick via pbs
Sat, 12 Mar 2022 15:04:18 PST
Today while repotting we ran into the same dilemma of trying to read a
label that has faded in sunlight. We generally use venetian blind sections
and a soft lead pencil, which tends to last a very long time but the sun
and weathering can still make it difficult to read over time. We generally
take it out to full sun and by looking at different angles you may see a
possible letter or two. This label was almost impossible to make out
  I have tried taking images and working with photoshop and various filter
effects to bring out the lettering, but that generally fails as well.
Today I tried a different approach. I had obtained a tube of powdered
graphite used to free up a sticking key lock. It acts as a Puffer dispenser
to puff graphite into the lock. I puffed a very small amount of the
graphite on the label and gently wiped my thumb over the label surface. The
graphite stuck to the old lettering so that in full sun I was able to make
out the original  writing on the label. It was not crystal clear but was
readable. Hope this may help others in a similar situation. Not sure on how
it would work with faded markers and on other surfaces but may be worth a
All the best, Michael & Paul
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