Friday, April 15, 2011

Furniture Stripping: A How-To

Furniture stripping is tedious, messy, time consuming, and a lot of hard work.  That being said, sometimes there's no way around it.  

Times when stripping is best:
                                      *you want to stain a piece that is painted.
                                      *the paint is peeling and the surface obviously wasn't prepped right 
                                      *there are several coats of paint on something already and it seems    
                                       sketchy to add another.

A few factors I consider before stripping:
                                       *Is this piece of furniture worth it?
                                       *Is it hardwood?
                                       *Is it in fantastic condition?
                                       *Can I get away with just sanding?

I used to use a chemical stripper that burned like crazy anytime it touched my skin.  I have since discovered Citristrip and feel that it works just as well and is much less harmful.

Use a cheap paint brush to liberally brush the stripper on.  Let it sit until the paint crinkles like so...

Then take your plastic {I said, plastic, not metal - it's too sharp} scraping tool and go to town.  Make sure to scrape only in the direction of the wood grain if you are intending to stain the surface after the paint has been removed.

Use a scrub brush or a steel wool pad for the grooves and crevices.

More than likely you'll have to brush on the stripper again and repeat the process until you get here.  Then you can sand down to remove what residue is left.
On this medium sized dresser, it took me about 3 hours to get to this point.

You probably ought not do this in your hubby's socks either {sorry, Zac}.



  1. Great post! I just tried this stuff over the last weekend on a piece that was given to us. I had to laugh out loud when I got to the end of your post and saw that we both like to "strip" in our hubbies socks! Ha!

  2. Keep the instructional posts coming! I'm finding them very helpful. I am new to your blog and am totally inspired. I've hit the thrift stores and have scored a fab knechtel sideboard that I want to refinish. My plan is to stain the top ebony and paint the front white. I saw one quite like it on your site one Friday. I'm studying hard before I attempt anything, so I'm grateful for anything you can pass on to me.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Thanks for the tip! Love your blog. Keep the inspiration coming!! :)

  4. Hi I found your blog while researching on paint strippers. Will this work on furniture that had a crackle finish?

  5. AnonymousJune 09, 2012

    Thank you for this post! Your instructions are very helpful, and detail is very appreciated! I love your work, your colors and to die for!