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How To Remove Writing From Plastic Containers

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If you’re a teacher or a mom or someone who just doesn’t like to waste things then you look at everything like I do.  Wondering how you can re-purpose it into something else.  This is especially important for me in the classroom.  Teachers spend so much of their own money buying supplies and decorations for their classroom that it’s nice to be able to take something you already have and upcycle it into something useful AND cute.

Sure you can use just the plain old sour cream container with all the writing still on it.  You could even cover it with paper but odds are you’ll be able to see the writing through the paper and if you’re like me this will drive you NUTS.

Last year when I was long term substituting for my now good friend in second grade she had sour cream cups EVERYwhere.  This is when I knew we were going to be best friends.  Because she loves sour cream as much as I do.  She used them on her desk, in stations, for pencils, and for each student to make their lunch choice at the beginning of the day.

I wish I had a before picture of the way she had haphazardly covered them with construction paper.  The paper was too long and she’d kind of folded it under the cup instead of cutting it off so the cups couldn’t sit flat on the table.  This drove my Type-A personality BONKERS so I took the cups home one of my first weekends and decided to do something about it.

I’d seen on Pinterest that you can remove writing from plastic containers using pure acetone and because of my nail polish obsession I had plenty!  I’ve done this on about a dozen containers at this point and I finally found the way that works the best.

What You’ll Need

Old Wash Rag
Pure Acetone
Shallow Tupperware
Sour Cream or other Plastic Container

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

First you want to set the plastic container you’re working on in the shallow tupperware.  This is good for two reasons.  One you don’t run the risk of ruining whatever surface you’re working on with the pure acetone and two you can sop up any extra acetone and not waste it.

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

Lay the wash cloth over the sour cream container (or whatever you’ve saved) and saturate it with the acetone.  You can use low or non acetone but pure acetone will work much faster and not leave any residue.  If you’re not used to nail polish remover fumes I suggest you do this near an open window or somewhere that’s well ventilated.  The smell didn’t bother me because I’m always doing my nails but my family complained of headaches.

Let it sit for about 60 seconds and then start scrubbing.  Just rub the acetone soaked cloth over the ink on the cup and it will come RIGHT OFF!  It’s really pretty amazing how fast and easy it is.  Rub around the side of the cup until it stops rubbing off so easily.  Then you can turn the cup and repeat the second step until all the writing is removed. You can wear gloves so as not to ruin your current manicure or to keep the acetone smell from lingering on your fingers.

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

Boom!  Clean!  Now you have a blank canvas to paint or decorate with scrapbook paper like I did.  Since she had a few different sizes {those littlest ones are old icing containers} I took the largest ones and made the most popular lunch choices then used the smaller ones for salad and packer choices.

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

She had two smaller sour cream containers that I wrapped completely with scrapbook paper and used as pencil cups.  If you’re going the completely covered route it’s a little tricky because these types of cups are not the same circumference all the way down.  So if you’re Type-A like me and you want it to cover the cup as perfectly as possible you’ll spend way too much time measuring and trimming so it looks like this.

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

It took me awhile and 3 different tries but I think they turned out pretty darn cute.  At the end of the year she gifted these to me since she was planning on staying at home with her sweet baby boy this year.  But when she took a last minute position in Kindergarten and I didn’t get a job this summer I gifted them back.  She was more than a little excited when she saw them, especially because she was back to her old ways covering some new cups haphazardly with construction paper.

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

From my experience the writing on the name brand cups comes off MUCH easier than the store brand.  So if you have WalMart or other store brand containers be prepared to use a little bit more acetone and let it sit a little longer than you’d need for the name brand cups.

How to Remove Writing From Plastic Containers | DIYfaerie

Do you save and upcycle your food containers?  What do you use them for?  Let me know in the comments below!

Savings Tip:  Target has a ton of things for organization around the beginning of the school year in their One Spot where most things are a dollar that you could definitely use for cute classroom organization.  But you’ve already paid for the food container and for about $2 you can get some acetone from Target instead and clean 6-8 containers!

Don’t forget to pin this and share it with all your sour cream and yogurt loving friends!



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