DIY Picture Framing : Techniques for Properly Peeling Acrylic

Acrylic glazing is shipped with protective paper on both sides to help prevent scratching in transit. There are a few important things to keep in mind when peeling it off. The moment you peel the paper the acrylic becomes vulnerable to dust, fingerprints and damage, so wait to remove until you have done every other step of the framing process you can, such as assembling the frame and hinging the artwork to your mat or mounting board.

When you do peel, choose a work surface that’s as free of dust, hair and crumbs as possible and start by peeling the paper from the backside.  Once the paper is off, inspect the acrylic, clean it (see below), then lay it down on your artwork. 

Once you’re ready to place the art stack in your frame, peel the paper from the front side of the acrylic.  The best technique is one that keeps the acrylic flat against your art to prevent dust from being drawn in and trapped between your art and the acrylic.  Though you can simply lift up a corner and pull the paper back, the acrylic sheet often lifts when you do this. 

acrylic lifted from pulling

One alternative is to use a 1 inch dowel rod.  First, peel a small corner of the paper up and wrap it around the dowel rod, then roll the rod down to the opposite corner.  The rod holds the acrylic down, preventing unwanted dust from being sucked into the treatment.  Cleaning the front side at this point isn’t as important because you’ll have access to it even after you finish assembling the treatment.

use a dowel rod to peel paper back


Cleaning is an important step to letting your work shine.  The first tool to use is a static whisk, a quick, easy and dry method for brushing away stray hairs and dust.  Next, use plexi-glass cleaner and a soft cloth for fingerprints or other marks.  DO NOT use window cleaner; it can create a haze on plexi-glass.

Handling acrylic can be a bit of a tricky business, but we hope our tips and tools make it easier.  If you have any strategies for peeling paper safely and easily, spotting dust and hairs, or other ideas for handling acrylic, we’d love to hear them.  Let us know in the comments section!

For additional information, check out these articles:

Do You Sell Glass?
Glass VS Plexiglass on #AFchat
How to Repair Scratched Acrylic

AubreyK | 8/8/2014 2:12:13 PM | 0 comments
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About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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