Acrylic nails are made from acrylic powder. As soon as acrylic powder touches any liquid, it starts to form a plastic paste that dries into hard acrylic. The hard acrylic is very difficult to remove. It is important to work carefully if you are removing acrylic powder from your real nails, because the powder is strong enough to rip your nails.
If the acrylic powder was just applied, quickly rub acetone on it. If the powder is still somewhat wet, you may be able to wipe it off with a cotton ball covered in acetone.
Clip off any excess dried acrylic that you can. If the acrylic is on your nails, clip the acrylic nails down to your finger. Do not lift the edge of the acrylic, as it will damage your nail.
Soak a cotton ball with acetone, and place it over the dried acrylic. Wrap a piece of foil around the cotton ball. If the acrylic is dried on a flat surface, you may need to temporarily tape the foil down around the cotton ball. If the acrylic is on your nails, wrap the foil over the cotton ball and around your fingers. Leave the cotton balls and foil on for at least 20 minutes.
Remove the cotton and foil, and press at the dried powder with an orangewood stick. The acrylic should be soft enough to push off, like a thick gel. If the acrylic is not scraping off the surface, repeat Step 3.
Based out of Arizona, Kassie Kleifgen has been publishing articles on eHow.com since 2010. She writes primarily about dance, drawing, crafts, education, and building large projects. Kleifgen graduated with an Associate of the Arts in dance education and a Bachelor of Science in elementary education.