What Is the Best Way to Strip Acrylic Paint From Miniatures?

Have you purchased a miniature that you want to repaint? Are you unhappy with your own paint job on your miniature?

Removing paint from miniatures is easier than you’d think!

What is the best way to strip acrylic paint from miniatures? Use the appropriate solvent for the material your miniature is made of. Ultimately, I recommend LA Totally Awesome Cleaner. It works well on metal, resin, or plastic miniatures. If you’re unable to find this cleaner, there are other options available.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Knowing the correct, easy way to strip acrylic paint from your miniatures can save you tons of time and effort.

This article will show you what products you should use and how to properly clean the miniatures.

How to Strip Paint From Plastic Miniatures

To strip paint off of plastic miniatures, you will need to:

  • Fill a plastic container with the cleaner. Use enough to fully submerge the miniature. If you don’t cover the entire miniature, it will be difficult to clean, and you’ll probably have to soak it again.
  • Place the miniature in the container overnight. Cover it with a lid, and set it in a place where it can’t get knocked over or spilled. A shelf, the middle of the table, or in the sink should be a safe place.
  • The next day, take out the miniature. You should leave it in the container at least overnight so the cleaner can have time to take effect, though 24 hours should be okay, too.
  • Use an old toothbrush and warm, soapy water to scrub off remaining paint. Scrub gently so you don’t scratch the surface of the figurine. 

LA Totally Awesome is the recommended cleaning product for stripping paint off of plastic miniatures.

It’s an all-purpose cleaner and degreaser that doesn’t have ammonia, acid, or bleach, so it’s safe to use.

You should still avoid getting it in your eyes, and make sure it’s not within reach of small children or pets.

An alternative cleaner is Super Clean. It’s often used to clean car tire rims because it’s capable of removing pretty much everything.

It works fast, so you shouldn’t have to do too much extra scrubbing after you leave your miniature soaking overnight.

Plastic miniatures should be the easiest to clean since the paint doesn’t cling onto the surface as well as it does with the others. 

How to Strip Paint From Resin Miniatures

Stripping paint from resin miniatures involves the same process as stripping paint from the plastic miniatures. You will need to:

  1. Fill a plastic container with the cleaner.
  2. Place the miniature in the container overnight.
  3. The next day, take out the miniature.
  4. Use an old toothbrush and warm, soapy water to scrub off remaining paint.

LA Totally Awesome is recommended for resin miniatures as well. 

You can also use isopropyl alcohol, which is also known as IPA or isopropanol.

This product isn’t intended to come into contact with your skin, so be very careful when handling it. You should wear gloves, protective goggles, and cover your skin when using it.

Isopropyl alcohol doesn’t work as well as LA Totally Awesome. You will probably have to spend more time scrubbing with a toothbrush than you would with LA Totally Awesome.

The benefit of isopropyl alcohol is that you might already have some in your house, as it is commonly used to clean electronics and lenses or to use with gel nail polish.

Resin can have a lot more detail than plastic, so you might find that resin has more nooks and crannies than the plastic miniatures do.

More paint might be caked up if it was an intricate paint job, so this might require some more soaking time or more scrubbing.

How to Strip Paint From Metal Miniatures

Use the same process for resin and plastic miniatures to clean metal miniatures:

  1. Fill a plastic container with the cleaner.
  2. Place the miniature in the container overnight.
  3. The next day, take out the miniature.
  4. Use an old toothbrush and warm, soapy water to scrub off remaining paint.

LA Totally Awesome and Super Clean are both recommended for removing paint from metal miniatures.

LA Totally Awesome will be the more reliable option to use since it can be used on just about any surface or material.

Super Clean is the second choice, but since it’s often used on metal car tire rims, it should work pretty well with metal miniatures. 

Metal miniatures are more heavy-duty than plastic and resin miniatures. They are also not that common today, so your metal miniature might be 10 or 20 years old.

This means that the paint might be more difficult to get off. 

You can try soaking it for a full 24 hours. Then, you can use a hard bristle toothbrush to scrub at the paint that is still clinging to it.

A Few Things to Note

Be sure that the miniature is fully submerged in the cleaning solution.

You don’t want it to be partially covered, because then you’ll have to take another night to soak the one side that was left above the surface.

Depending on your miniature, laying it on its side might be the most efficient way to get full coverage without using an excessive amount of cleaner.

Of course, if your miniature is wide and short instead of tall and thin, standing it upright might be the better solution.

When you scrub it with a toothbrush, you should use warm, soapy water, as mentioned before.

Any soap should work. You could try using dish soap since that’s meant to remove tough residue.

You shouldn’t scrub too hard with the toothbrush! Be gentle with your scrubbing so you don’t accidentally scratch your miniature.

Depending on the material of the miniature, it might be more prone to getting scratched.

Scratches will be difficult to fix, so be careful and use a toothbrush with soft bristles if you have one available. 

Remember that these instructions are to remove acrylic paint. If your miniatures are old, they probably have oil or enamel paint on them.

The recommended cleaners will be able to remove these paints as well, but it’s possible that they will need to spend some extra time soaking or that you will need to scrub a little harder.

How to Be Safe When Stripping Paint From Miniatures

All cleaning products should be used with caution because they all contain chemicals.

When you use LA Totally Awesome, Super Clean, or isopropyl alcohol, it’s recommended that you wear the following:

  • Gloves.
  • Protective eyewear, like goggles.
  • Clothing that covers your skin.
  • Closed-toe shoes.

Each cleaning product has warnings on the container that you should read before you use the product. 

LA Totally Awesome warns that it’s an eye irritant, and Poison Control or the emergency room should be called immediately if the product is consumed. (Poison Control Hotline: 1-800-222-1222.)

Super Clean says it can burn your eyes and skin. 

Isopropyl alcohol warns that it’s flammable and can be harmful if it’s swallowed or touches your eyes or skin. It’s also a respiratory irritant, so you might want to wear a mask when handling this product.

A few safety measures that you can take to avoid any accidents include:

  • Make sure to keep a lid on containers at all times.
  • Keep the container with the miniature and solvent in a sink overnight.
  • Do not work near heat sources or open flames.
  • Do not set the container of solvent on or near the edge of the table or counter.

Stripping paint from miniatures isn’t a dangerous activity, even though there are several precautions to take.

As long as you are careful and avoid spilling chemicals, you will be safe while going through this process. 

Summary 

You can easily strip paint off of plastic, resin, and metal miniatures if you want to repaint them.

It’s recommended that you use LA Totally Awesome for any miniature, but you can also use Super Clean for plastic and metal miniatures or isopropyl alcohol for miniatures made of metal.

To clean, fill a container with enough cleaning solvent to fully cover your miniature. Let it soak overnight. Once it has soaked, you can use a toothbrush to scrub off any paint that might be left behind.

After all the paint is removed, of course, you’ll want to get them fixed up as soon as possible. Be sure to check out my top recommendations for primers for miniatures, favorite paint brushes for miniatures, and my list of preferred paints.