How to Remove Paint From Bakelite

Bakelite was a common material used for creating sturdy household goods (including telephones) and jewelry in the early 1900s. If you are trying to remove paint and restore a sturdy Bakelite object to its original form, you can accomplish this using heavy-duty paint stripper. Bakelite is a very durable material and its properties allow it to withstand exposure to harsh chemicals. This process should only be used on sturdy objects.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint stripper
  • Metal bucket
  • Shoe polish the color of your Bakelite
  • Cloth rags
  • Putty knife
  • Coarse brush

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Fill the metal bucket with paint stripper approximately the depth of the object laying flat.

Soak the object in the paint stripper a few hours, or until the paint begins to peel off easily in small sheets.

Remove the paint. Using a putty knife, gently scrape off the paint. Remove any hard-to-reach areas with a coarse brush.

Wipe off the excess paint stripper with a rag. Allow the Bakelite object to dry overnight.

Restore the Bakelite object to its original lustre by polishing it with a rag dipped in shoe polish the color of your object.

Tips & Warnings

  • This method is to be used for larger, sturdy items. This process could damage small jewelry pieces, so you'll want to test a small piece of the item before dipping the entire thing in paint stripper.
  • Make sure that you use the paint stripper in a well-ventilated and wear eye protection. The fumes can be very toxic.


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