Most acrylic comes standard with some type of masking to help protect the material from scratches during cutting, shipping, and handling. The most common types of masking are film, and paper
Between the two, paper masking is by far the best at making sure the material is protected until you’re ready to use it. This is why all of our material comes standard with a quality paper masking helping keep the acrylic scratch-free.
Unfortunately, there are instances where the paper masking can be pretty difficult to peel off. The paper masking might tear instead of coming off smoothly.
The two most common culprits are cold climates and old sheets
#1 Cold Climate
This is by far the most common reason we all have trouble peeling the paper masking from acrylic sheet. When the sheet spends time in a cold environment, the paper becomes brittle, and can tear away when you’re trying your best to peel it.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution using one or two tools most of us have lying around the house.
What you'll need:
- A rod, tube, or dowel
First, try using the hairdryer method. The problem with a cold sheet is the adhesive on the paper becomes brittle - using a standard hair dryer will help warm up the paper quickly, helping you peel the sheet with much less effort.
You don’t have to overdo it, since overheating the plastic can do damage. The goal is to ensure the sheet is relatively warm - about 10-15 seconds should be plenty.
Another common method is using a rod, dowel, or even a cardboard tube. The trick here is to position the rod at the corner of the sheet, wrapping it around rod, and slowly rolling off the paper masking. This helps roll the paper off in a consistent and uniform way, preventing it from tearing while doing so.
#2 Old Sheets
Masked acrylic should be removed soon after purchase, but sometimes we find ourselves with older material, and the paper masking seems to be stuck on for good.
If the adhesive is hardened, and using a hairdryer or the rod method didn’t work, it might be necessary to moisten it. Products like aliphatic naphtha can do the trick, but oftentimes simple rubbing alcohol, Goo Gone, or even canola oil can help unstick that hardened adhesive masking. With this method, you'll want to rub on the liquid to ensure the paper becomes wet to the touch, but not saturated.
Keep in mind, any oily residue left behind by the solvents should be removed immediately by washing. If they are left on, the material can become damaged as a result.
Finally, never use corrosive materials such as gasoline, or sharp objects like knives or razer blades - these can be dangerous, and can easily harm the material, and yourself.
In the end the paper masking is designed to keep the material safe and scratch-free, and is made to peel off easily. Cold sheets and old material can cause frustration, but following the steps above should greatly decrease your time peeling.
Our team at Delvie's Plastics is always available to help, so feel free to give us a call anytime.