Anyone who's ever found cherry or tiger oak underneath layers of old paint knows that while some pieces are not worth stripping, others are.
Things You'll Need
- Clean Rags
- Inexpensive Brushes
- Cotton Swabs
- Mineral Spirits
- Rubber Gloves
- Newspapers Or Drop Cloths
- Heavy Duty Garbage Bags
- Paint Scrapers
- Putty Knives
- Safety Goggles
Make sure there's no chance your piece of furniture is an antique whose value could be destroyed by stripping the finish.
Set up your work area in a well-ventilated place with nothing around that could produce flames or sparks.
Remove drawer pulls and other hardware and place the furniture on a layer of newspaper or a disposable drop cloth (such as an old sheet). You may want to set the piece on scrap wood or bricks, especially if you're stripping the legs, to keep them from sticking.
Paint on a thick layer of stripper. Wear gloves and safety goggles.
Allow enough time for the stripper to work. (It usually takes 5 to 10 minutes)
Scrape the bubbled paint (or varnish) and stripper off in strips, using a paint and varnish scraper, an old spatula, or a putty knife; use an old toothbrush or cotton swabs for crevices. Take care not to scratch or mar softwood or gouge through thin veneers.
Repeat if necessary. Two applications are often required, especially if it's an old piece with several layers of stubborn paint or varnish.
Wipe down the piece of furniture with clean rags and mineral spirits, and allow to dry. Don't skimp on the mineral spirits - you want the piece to be as clean as possible.
Tips & Warnings
- When you're finished, dispose of all brushes and remaining stripper as instructed by the paint stripper's manufacturer.
- Even the new 'safe' strippers are caustic. If any stripper gets on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and warm water.
How to Strip Wood Finishes
There are hidden treasures lurking under the ugly finishes on some old pieces of furniture. Stripping off the old finish can reveal...
How to Strip Paint from Wood Furniture
So you've acquired a bookcase. "This has lots of promise, and would look great in the dining room," you tell yourself. There's...
How to Restore Old Oak Furniture
Like fine wine, oak becomes more nuanced and attractive with age, and restoring an old piece of oak furniture is almost always...
How to Strip Oak Cabinets
Underneath old, dirty, ugly cabinets often lie gorgeous pieces of furniture waiting to be reborn. Before throwing away your old oak cabinets,...
The Best Way to Strip Furniture
Refurbishing old furniture is a chance for you to save money when decorating your home. As long as the piece is in...
How to Strip and Refinish Furniture
Wood furniture on which the existing finish is old and dull -- or, worse, has been painted -- can look like new...
How to Strip Wood Doors
Homeowners and home decorators paint, stain or varnish doors to match a design theme. Old paint requires removal when it begins to...
How to Strip Furniture Stain
If you would like to change the look of your furniture without purchasing new items, removing the stain finish gives you that...
How to Strip Wood Furniture
When stripping a piece of wooden furniture, first remove old buildup with a wire brush and air compressor, then, apply a paint...