I ordered 12 of these for crafting. All 12 had the blue protective plastic coating on the metal pieces. It took me an hour with needle tweezers to remove the coating from the metal. One side came on fairly easily. The other side will never have ALL OF THE COATING REMOVED. Thankfully I will be able to cover it with ribbon-I hope! I gave this a 3 for easy to use because of the time it takes to remove the coating. when I get something I don't want to have to clean it up first.