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Removing Plastic Stickers on Bezels

When I first saw my Ms. Pac-man in MI, I noticed right away two sets of thick overlaid stickers, probably 4-5 stickers on top of one another. They were some sort of license sticker for the Ms. Pac-man to legally be placed in different states. Darn tootin’, that’s authentic. But a little too authentic for me, they’ve got to go, and I had a dickens of a time getting them off.

Ms. Pac-man Bezel Stickers

I tried some Goo Gone on the plastic stickers while the machine was still in MI, and that did squat. So I turned to researching on the collecting newsgroups. I found very little, but I also don’t like to look through more than about two pages of results. I decided I would turn to an old favorite – Goof Off.

After I setup a protected area on my workbench, I put the Ms. Pac-man bezel down, and propped it up on a slight angle. Having worked with Goof Off in the past when striping acrylic paint off of cabs, I was concerned that some would run over the edge and ruin the printed Pac artwork on the backside.

Ms. Pac-man Bezel Propped UpMs. Pac-man Bezel Angled

On an angle, I could more easily control where the liquid went. I just poured the Goof Off on, and put the rag down so that I could let it sit on the bezel overnight.

Ms. Pac-man Bezel Goof Off 1

But, one application;

Ms. Pac-man Bezel Goof Off 2

Then, two applications later I had had it with the Goof Off.

Ms. Pac-man Bezel Goof Off 3

It seemed to be working, especially on eating off the white sticker residue, but it wasn’t disintegrating the stickers fast enough. I was lucky enough to have a plastic wire brush to work at the stickers otherwise I may not have been as successful. I even turned to picking it off with my fingers which was killer and I was concerned about absorbing it in my skin.

Originally I had read that that heat is the best way to get resistant stickers off of arcade game glass and plexiglass pieces like the marquee, bezel and control panels. I just assumed that a hair dryer wasn’t going to get hot enough to make a difference and I would need to borrow a heat gun to get the sticker remnants of the Ms. Pac-man bezel. I was wrong. I propped the hair dryer up, left it for five minutes, came back, and the sticker(s) peeled right off.

Propping up the Hair Dryer 1Propping up the Hair Dryer 2Sticker peels right off the bezel

I wish I had started with this method, and this is why I am writing so that someone else learns from my lost time.

At that point, I knew the Goof Off would take the remaining residue right off, so I let it sit for 5 minutes and do it’s thing. You can kind of see by the photo below the white residue is eaten up and lifting off the glass.

Final coat of Goof Off on bezel

A good scrubbing with a scotch brite pad and a thorough cleaning to get off all of the residue particles (dampened one rag with the Goof Off and one with water) it looks great (minus the flaking in the lower left corner).

Bezel back in Ms. Pac-man Cabinet

I’m not sure it can get more simple than heating the stickers. Anyone else have a better method or some additional suggestions of other things I could have tried?

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Comments
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Nice post. I probably would have tried a razor blade first on anything glass. I love Goo Gone, but it only works for “goo”. It won’t do squat when put on the paper part of a sticker. I have 2 Baby Pac marquees now, and the new one is better but has a sticker on it that I’ll have to get off soon.

Did your wife get mad when you stole her hair dryer?

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I would assume that with a Razor Blade, you would have to be extremely careful to not scrape the bezel glass…somehow I think my luck might just be that bad. You have to go really slow with something that sharp to get plastic stickers off correct?

Goo Gone works great on paper based stickers, but not on any sticker, like you said, that has a plastic face.

I put the hair dryer back. Normally I might be lazy and leave it where I used it (basement), but I knew I wouldn’t like that if it was my item…so golden rule.

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Razor blades work pretty good on glass if you hold it at the right angle. Scrapers like this would work pretty good:
http://www.shoplet.com/office/db/BOS28500.html

I don’t think you need to go very slow. A razor blade and a heat gun would probably make it come off very easy, BUT I’d be afraid that the heat gun could make the paint start to lose it’s bond to the back of the glass.

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The hand held razor blade scraper tool, that is probably a good suggestion. I have seen those, never cross my mind to use one. With the hair dryer I may have been able to skip the last application of Goof Off.

I had the same concerns with a heat gun, that it would heat the glass up way too hot and still damage artwork on the other side. That is why I tried the Hair Dryer first. I suppose it could do some damage, but I *want* to doubt it.

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Hey do you know where I can get new decals for my arade game unit that I am building? Need them for the sides and front screen cover. Thanks Frank

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For the last few years I have been involving myself with sticker removal and am quite successful in doing my job. I always recommend Plastic blades a sticker removing tool available at http://www.decalstickerremover.com/ . It is the most convenient tool that I have found in dealing with stickers upon plastic surfaces or any smooth material. Metal blades can cause damages and casualties but in using a plastic blade there isn’t any risk of leaving any mark or scratches in the surfaces.

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