How to Remove Chrome Plating From Plastic

By Mason Howard
Once stripped, parts that were chrome plated can hand painted with enamel.

Model building is serious endeavor for many hobbyists and avid modelers are frequently adverse to chrome plating on model parts because it looks unrealistic and cannot be glued to other parts with traditional modeler’s plastic cement. Sanding away the plating is time consuming and will leave the plastic underneath scratched. Use household bleach to remove chrome plating easily and without harming the plastic underneath.

Place the chrome plated part in a plastic container. Use a large enough container that the part can sit flat at the bottom. This will minimize how much bleach has to be used.

Pour bleach into the container. Fill just enough to cover the part.

Allow the part to sit in the bleach for several minutes, while keeping your eye on the progress. You will see the chrome disintegrating. Precisely how long the bleach wil take to remove chrome depends on the thickness of the plating.

Put on latex gloves and remove the part from the bleach when you see that the chrome plating is gone.

Rinse the part thoroughly with fresh water. At this point, the part will still be coated in chrome plating primer.

Remove the chrome primer by submerging the part in liquid model paint stripper. Submerge the part in stripper in the same manner as you submerged the part in bleach.

Allow the part to soak in the stripper for the amount of time indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions. You may have to let it soak for as long as two days.

Put on latex gloves and remove the part from the stripper.

Rinse the part thoroughly with fresh water and use an old toothbrush to remove any residual flecks of stuck on paint.

Things Needed

  • Plastic container
  • Bleach
  • Latex gloves
  • Liquid model paint stripper
  • Toothbrush

Tip

A respirator and goggles can also be used when working with bleach and paint stripper to avoid eye contact with, or inhalation of the vapors.

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.