Stripping layers of paint is not hard. It’s messy. It’s smelly. And it takes some time, but it’s not hard. Unfortunately, the more layers there are, usually the more messy, smelly and time consuming it becomes. Today’s salvaged makeover is all about how to strip furniture without burning your nostril hairs. And can I just say, YOU guys are the heroes of today’s post!
Over the years, whenever I shared a makeover that included furniture stripper, I always complained about the smell. A few of you who regularly chime in were always saying “Denise, you’ve got to try CitriStrip”.
I finally picked up a bottle and it’s amazing! Easy to use and NO harsh fumes. I should have listened to your advice way before now because I would have saved myself assaulted nostrils, pounding headaches and a smelly house.
Here’s a salvaged stool MMM picked up curbside, or maybe it was being thrown away on one of his jobs. I can’t remember. Wherever it came from, it’s super cute (and super filthy) and had about 30 coats of paint on it. Well, not quite thirty… but A LOT.
And here it is with ALL the layers of paint stripped off. I cut down the legs, color blocked the bottom in black, and repurposed this cutie into a plant stand. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it au’ natural or stain it. The exposed natural wood reminds me of the planters they sell in HomeSense or Ikea. What do you think? Stain?… or maybe just some white or clear wax and leave the natural wood look?
THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
- Wood Stool – SALVAGED!
- Floor Protection (plastic, cardboard etc.)
- Safety Wear (Eyewear, Gloves, Clothes, Mask, etc.)
- Synthetic Paint Brush
- Putty Knife
- Sander + Sandpaper
- Caviar Mineral Chalk Paint
- All-Purpose Oscillating Tool (similar)
HOW TO STRIP FURNITURE:
Step #1 – Applying CitriStrip (Or Your Choice of Stripper)
I applied the CitriStrip the lazy way. I shook the bottle as instructed and then poured it on the top of the stool.
With an old used up dollar store brush, I dipped into my puddle and brushed the stripper ALL over the stool. Tip – An old cheap synthetic brush works amazing (stripper dissolves foam brushes) and can be thrown away after your project.
Step #2 – Be Patient
Whatever brand you’re using, the instructions will say how long to wait before the paint will lift. Be patient and let the stripper strip! CitriStrips’ instructions say to wait 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours) before lifting. The first layer of paint lifted in 20 minutes on this stool. You’ll know when it has lifted the paint enough to scrape off because it will look bubbled like this…
Step #3 – Removing The Paint
I like to use a metal dollar store putty knife to scrape the paint off. It’s suggested to use a plastic putty knife so you don’t gouge the wood – but I’ve never had any issues and I always give my pieces a sanding afterward anyway. I let the scraped off paint fall onto the plastic drop sheet or in this case, the stool was small enough to use a large garbage bag.
Step #4 – Repeat Steps 1 to 3
Keep repeating step 1 through 3 until ALL layers of paint have been removed and the wood is showing. CitriStrip says it removes multiple layers but I applied it 3 times. After all the layers (I counted 5 – not 30!) I was so happy when I finally started seeing some wood!
Step #5 – Clean and Sand
Once the paint stripper has done the majority of the work and most of the paint is removed, its time to make it look pretty. Here you can clean it up with mineral spirits and then sand away any leftover paint. I used my oscillating tool with a corner sanding pad. It works amazingly well to get into all the small tricky areas.
A few things I’ve learned from all the furniture I’ve stripped over the years, always protect your work area and YOURSELF. Safety first. Heavy duty gloves, mask, eyewear, and good ventilation is a must.
Also, using plastic wrap on smaller pieces or wrapping larger pieces in garbage bags helps keep the stripper wet and active. Although I didn’t bother with this project, it can be helpful with multi-layers of paint.
A big thank you to all of you who encouraged me to try Citristrip. You guys are the BEST.
For those of you who are new to the SI Blog, I’ll be posting a smaller project (like this repurposed stool) per month… kind of a ‘build-your-confidence makeover’ for those of you just out starting out. I know from experience, smaller pieces are way less frightening to tackle than Great Grandma’s ginormous sideboard or china cabinet, right!?! Smaller projects are the perfect way to help develop new paint techniques while becoming more confident. The great thing is, knock off a few small projects and you’ll be itching to restyle your Great Grandma’s pieces in no time…. I promise. 🙂
NOW FOR ALL MY LONG TIME FRIENDS/SI READERS …IT’S YOUR TURN. 🙂 HELP THE NEWBIES OUT AND SHOW THEM HOW SUPPORTIVE WE ARE. FEEL FREE TO SHARE HOW YOU STRIP FURNITURE AND THE PRODUCTS YOU USE… OR CHIME IN ON WHETHER I SHOULD STAIN THIS OR NOT..… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.
Happy stripping and have an inspiring day my friends,
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