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?