If you’ve ever had to strip a piece of furniture, with layer upon layer of paint, you know it can be a beast of a job. Half way through, when your hands are numb from scrapping, you just want to give up.
Well I have the tip of all tips. This will change your furniture refinishing life.
First I love using Citrustrip. It’s a non-caustic stripper that is safe enough to use indoors. But it does take longer to work ( up to 24 hours). So you normally apply it and then leave it overnight.
Centsational Girl wrote the best side-by-side comparison of the normal smelly, caustic, chemical strippers vs Citrustrip. You can read her A Tale of Two Strippers blog post here.
So now that you’re convinced that Citrustrip is the only way to go. Go grab that old piece of painted furniture from your Grandma’s basement, some Citrustrip and a garbage bag. Don’t forget the garbage bag, it’s important.
The cabinet is old and has layers of paint (I counted at least 5 while stripping it). And with so many detailed areas this piece could take hours to strip. But it didn’t!
Step 1: Apply the stripper
It’s totally not what you expect when you pour it out of the bottle. Its kind of like a thick orange toothpaste.
Take an old nasty paint brush that you have lying around (I always hang onto those old brushes for jobs like this) and apply a layer wherever you want the paint removed. I actually applied it a bit thicker than what you see in the above photo.
Step 2: The Garbage Bag Phase
Now take a garbage bag and stick it directly to the sides of the furniture (the Citrustrip should still be wet). Pat it down and make sure it’s ‘stuck’ to the sides. The photo above looks like the garbage bag is loose but it was a really windy day and the top layer of the garbage bag kept blowing around (but the other side of the garbage bag was stuck to it).
For this demonstration I only covered one side and the front with a garbage bag. I left one side alone (just had Citrustrip on it) to show you the difference.
Step 3: Scrapping
This is the side that I DID NOT put a garbage bag on, and you can see there are just a few small areas that bubbled the paint off. That still means a lot of work. Can you imagine if that was the whole cabinet?
This method works really well on any flat surface. But the detailed areas will still need a good scraping. But I think that’s really to be expected. You can see in the above photo how the flat areas are just peeling off but the drawer pulls, and detailed moldings still have lots of paint.
Step 4: Clean-up
At this stage I give the piece a sanding to get rid of any last paint (I still need to do this).
Hopefully I’ll have this little cabinet done soon and can share how it looks. Oh yeah and I need to figure something out for the top (it came topless).
So what are your tricks for stripping painted furniture?
Maybe the best advice is just not to start these types of jobs in the first place!