I've been working on a Grandma's Flower Garden for over 10 years and it has finally got big enough for my little kitchen table. It's at the border stage right now but to get there, I had to remove all the paper hexi's.
During this project I tried basting the paper in from the back so the basting would stay in the quilt. I didn't find I could get the fabric as snug around the paper in this manner so I went back to my regular basting.
Some of these hexi's had up to 16 basting stitches, and the hexi's are 3/4" in size. It took 3 to 4 times longer to take out those tiny basting and add in cheap thread, well, just not a quick task.
So the moral of this story, use quality hand quilting thread and only take one stitch per side. This will make taking out all those papers a lot less frustrating. Oh, and start taking them out before you get to the end, no need to keep all the papers in the middle of your top while you are adding to the outside edges.