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topic 10068

Remove stuck paper from plastic sheet


A discussion started in 2001 but continuing through 2020

2001

Q. Hi,

I have several sheets of acrylic still with the paper covering on. The sheets are approximately 16 years old and never used. I cannot get the paper off as it appears to be stuck on solid. It has been stored in a barn, no direct sun, but possibly just the heat of the summer year after year caused this. I have tried soaking in water, scraping with plastic egg lifter and the glue is still there.

Is there a solvent or equivalent that can be used that will not cloud or harm the acrylic?

Pat Hoffman
- Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada


2001

A. Pat,

Before even reading about the 'age' of your acrylic sheets, I said to myself, I bet that those are old sheets!

Maybe suppliers of acrylics could help you. Johnson Industrial Plastics, Cadillac Plastics, Crystal Glass and Plastics.

Why don't you try some alcohol. ... not the drinkable type, too expensive! but Methyl Hydrate or any other aliphatic solvent. This should, I think, soften up the dried-on mucilage/glue underface ... but considering the square footage involved, maybe I'd try to prevent it from evaporating too fast ... it is water miscible, after all!

Cheers!

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



2001

A. Pat,

I happened to pass an Acrylic supplier this morning so I popped in and 'asked' your question.

The reply was pretty negative. Scrap those sheets as if 'you' try to soften up the sheets and 'scour' off the paper, you could get stress cracks. Maybe, perhaps, soak the entire sheet for some time in water (not a bad idea!)But I did point out that your sheets had NOT been outdoors which is probably a blessing.

They also asked if those sheets were extruded or pressed. Dinna ken, I replied. Probably extruded due to their cost but then extruded sheet can stress crack more easily than the pressed sheet.

But do NOT use Zylene or Toluene, Toluol or any of those aromatic hydrocarbons. Don't even use polar solvents like Acetone [affil. link to product info on Amazon]. They will ALL attack acrylics fairly fiercely. Anyhow, Acetone is often used for edge joining but it is not a particularly good adhesive compared to proprietary acrylic cements.

(I'd go for the idea of soaking the entire sheet in water. Maybe TSP (trisodium phosphate [affil. link to product info on Amazon]) would help as it is a superlative wetting agent) Lots of luck!

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



2002

A. Many of these sheets used an adhesive that is heat activated. You can try using an electric hair dryer to warm the corner of the sheet and see if this loosens the paper. If it does, slowly work your way across the sheet--if you go too fast the paper will rip making removal more difficult.

If that does not work, sometimes allowing a light oil, such as vegetable oil, to soak in overnight will loosen the sheets.

Good luck.

Howard Berman
wire forming - Yonkers, New York


affil. link
Eucalyptus Oil

2005

A. The best way of getting off paper on old Perspex, I have found after 30 years of experience, is to brush a thin coat of eucalyptus oil =>
on the paper and leave it for 15 minutes, than the paper scrapes off easily with a piece of wood, and the final clean up is also easily done with a cloth with some eucalyptus oil, it leaves no residue and is dry after 1/2 hour,
I have just cleaned up some 20 mm sheet that was 20 years old no problem at all. Whatever you do, never use any sort of alcohol.

Valther Baek-Hansen
- Canberra, Australia



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Ed. note: The following inquiry was repetitive of the previous one, and people started treated it lightheartedly.

2006

Q. How to remove paper backing from Plexigass.

Vincent D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Consumer - Columbia, Illinois


2006

A. Hi Vincent,

Why don't you go to a 'supplier' and ask them? Surely there are LOTS of suppliers of acrylic sheets. Try Cadillac Plastics, for instance.

Maybe, highly possibly, your sheets are OLD. Because when we used to use acrylics, the paper came off easily.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



2006

? Does Cad Plastics have a model 60iQ carbon based LF plexiglass backing paper remover? I might need one with the left and right 10 digit pincher-grip feature.

Sheldon Taylor
Sheldon Taylor
   supply chain electronics
Wake Forest, North Carolina



2006

A. Ohhkay, ohhkay. I'm sure that Vincent's problem is that the darned paper won't peel off, due to some interaction with the plexiglass. Maybe a prankster stuck it back with crazy glue, or maybe the plastic is just years old. But, since the answer to his problem isn't duct tape, what else could it possibly be but to spray it with WD-40 [affil. link to product info on Amazon]? As far as I know, there is no 3rd universal fixit.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


2006

A. A tricky one, this.
Try hooking a finger nail under the edge of the paper and peel. This is the most advanced technology I have seen applied to this problem.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England


2006

A. Wotcher Sheldon,

Your solution using the latest U.S. technology is mighty interesting . . . this you got from the University of Ozarks Advanced Research Dept., I believe. It amazes me why they gave it to you.

Mind you, Geoff Smith's idea is a novel one, I hadn't thought of that, had you? Is it patented?

Ted's suggestion of using WD-40 might well work, it sure did help my zippers.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



2006

Freeman, it looks like Geoff and Dale are the winners, they were able to help out ol' Vinny, he sure didn't get any benefit from the Ozarks or Canaduh, eh? :-)

Sheldon Taylor
Sheldon Taylor
   supply chain electronics
Wake Forest, North Carolina


2006

! Readers: for your personal safety please don't poke or prod the Canadians :-)

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


2006

Dear Sheldon,

HISTORY LESSON .... The War of Independence ... which your books say, wrongly, that it was between England and the USA.

At that time, the population of the USA was 50% English, hence that war was between England and English settlers....
I just wish to hell you'd correct your history books ! But the positive side was that at least you speak and write in English.... well, sometimes!

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



2006

Wot? wot?, I didn't catch the meaning of that Freeman, maybe you can type a little slower for me.

Sheldon Taylor
Sheldon Taylor
   supply chain electronics
Wake Forest, North Carolina


2006

Vincent,

The answer to removing 'stuck' paper to the Acrylic sheets is to use Methyl Hydrate ... this was according to a supplier.

You can drink it, too, but I believe it causes problems.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



2007

I gave the stripping problem my best shot, but now I am puzzled by Freeman's Methyl Hydrate. I have not heard of it and it does not seem a likely chemical. If this is a local name for methanol, you certainly can drink it and confirm that it sends you blind, mad and dead in that order!
By the way, your War of independence was a great victory of the English settlers over a German King ... but who am I to argue with Hollywood?

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

2007

I'm puzzled by 90 percent of what Freeman writes, Geoff. The words "sequitur" and "Freeman" can't seem to peacefully co-exist :-)

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


2007

Dammit,

I sure liked Geoff Smith's reply ... an educated one, too!
But these days Hollywood is being overtaken by Bollywood, goodness, gracious me !

Yes, Sheldon, go and have a bucketful of Methanol, it would sure improve your English and might improve your appearance, too.

But that suggestion of Methanol was bona fides ... I got it from the horse's mouth and not, as Sheldon might think, from t'other end !

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [dec.]
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).



December 4, 2009

thumbs up sign Actually I learned and enjoy speaking American in spite of what our neighbors to the north think.

David Davison
- White River Junction, Vermont



To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)



2006

A. I worked for a company that used plexiglass and cut 4'x 8' sheets to different sizes and then peeled the paper by using a tube to start the paper and then roll the tube across the paper lifting the paper from the plastic' after first paper was on tube then the tacky side would be exposed and attatch to the next paper and lift it off. worked really well.

Dale Healey
metal cleaning - Muscatine, Iowa


February 12, 2011

A. HOT WATER removes the paper and glue immediately :)

Carrie Maurer
- Kansas City, Kansas USA

July 27, 2011

A. Eucalyptus oil works great on any surface that is not porous and not safe with general solvents. It can remove glue from plastics as it softens the glue. Then wash off with soap and water.

Langdon Olger
- South Westralia, Australia


May 18, 2012

A. RIP Mr Newton ..

Well, I have tried soaking the sheets in soapy water spraying a great Aussie product called lanolin oil (made by Lanotec)
Then I used a Gerni water blaster followed by eucalyptus oil ... It works.

Chris Linnell
- Sydney, Australia


April 26, 2015

thumbs up signEucalyptus oil works very well.

Gregory lawler
- Queens, NYC, New York


affil. link
Silicone Spray Lubricant

October 27, 2009

A. A mist of silicone spray =>

Wait a minute, and removal is smooth and easy. I roll the paper backing off using a broomstick or 1x1.

David Halloran
- Somerville, Massachusetts


November 11, 2009

A. I had the same problem with some acrylic laying in the basement for about 7 years. I used a forced air heat gun to warm the paper/adhesive and it peeled off intact smooth as silk!

Lonnie Rose
- Lynchburg, Virginia


November 17, 2011

! Make sure to be careful using a heat gun. If used too intensely in one area you have the chance of leaving a nasty residue on the acrylic from the adhesive. This will not come off, basically melted in.

Devin Cole
- Portland, Oregon, United States


April 10, 2011

A. Just used Methylated spirits and it made it a lot easier to peel the paper off. I needed to keep the paper very damp though with Metho.

willy McGee
- Adelaide Australia


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