How To Strip Painted Furniture

I am not one to be very high maintenance while painting furniture. I like to take the least
steps as possible for the best outcome. For that reason I do not always strip furniture pieces
or choose to buy furniture pieces that will need to be stripped. There are times though that I do
strip furniture pieces & I happened to do one recently for our guest bedroom so I wanted
to show you how to strip painted furniture while I show you the before & after of the dresser for the room.
Remember this is the way I do it & it works very well for me, but each furniture piece is different
and will require more or less steps which you will discover as you are stripping your own
furniture pieces.

When I first got this dresser I simply thought that it was wood with
a heavy shellac on it. I was wrong. This piece had many layers of paint on it  &
the last layer of paint was painted to look like wood. They tricked me! When I saw
this piece I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I simply wanted to strip the
drawers only & paint the rest a very pale gray with my DIY chalk paint.

how to strip painted furniture

These are the items I used to strip this dresser. Again, your piece of furniture may require more
or less things, but this process will work for most items….

1. A pale or bucket. If you are doing this indoors {which I did to test the “low odor stripper that is
safe for indoors.} you will need  a place to put all of your scrapings of paint into.  A pale, bucket,
or container of some sort will work great.

2. A paint stripper. I used Citristrip which I got from Lowes & it worked like a dream! Immediately
after placing the product on the dresser paint started melting off. It smells like oranges &
doesn’t contain methylene chloride so you can use it indoors. ps. I am in no way affiliated
with Citristrip or getting paid for a review.. but hey, call me Citristrip, I love your product! 😉

3. Drop cloth. I did this indoors so I used an old bed sheet to keep any mess off of the floor &
it worked wonderfully, but you can find drop cloths in the painting aisle at your local
hardware store.

4. scraper. I used a plastic $2 scraper from Lowes, but there are many options & again
each one will vary for the job you are needing done. The plastic one I got worked
perfect & didn’t damage the wood underneath the paint.

5. Rags. I applied the citristrip with a rag, you can apply with a brush or another method,
but the rag worked perfect for me. {wear gloves so you do not get the product on your hands}
I also used the rag for the mineral spirits at the end to wipe off all of the excess paint,
stripper, and other materials.

6. Wire brush or steel wool. As you get to the end of stripping the paint off you may come
across a few stubborn spots. At this point using stripper or mineral spirits with a wire
brush or steel wool will be perfect for removing the stubborn paint.

7. Mineral spirits. This is great for cleaning up any leftover paint or stripper off of your
piece of furniture. Again,I did this all indoors & though this says low odor you may
want to wear a face mask or work next to an open window.

how to strip furniture
>> Remove any hardware on the piece. I got a little excited to try the stripper {plus I wanted to remove
the paint off the hardware as well} So I just applied the stripper with a a rag onto the parts of the dresser
that I wanted to strip. The second the stripper touched the dresser the paint started melting off. Also
be sure to test this on a small area of the furniture before you begin.

>> Let the paint stripper sit on the dresser for a while. You can let it set up to 24 hours, but after about
an hour I started scraping the paint off with my paint scraper and all of the many layers came off
at once. I put all of the paint scrapings into the bucket so there wasn’t a mess.

>> Re-apply the stripper to the leftover areas of the dresser that still have paint after scraping & let
sit again. Than scrape again, use your steel wool or steel brush for the stubborn areas. Keep
repeating this process until almost all of the paint is off the piece of furniture. You can
also run some light grit sand paper over the wood at this time to get a smooth wood finish.
With this particular piece using this paint stripper I did not have to use any sandpaper,
but you may have to use it depending on your situation.

>> Use mineral spirits on a rag to clean all of the excess paint and paint stripper off of the
furniture. At this point you can choose what you want to do with the stripped areas of your
furniture. I simply stained the drawers with Minwax special walnut just to give the drawers a
vibrant finish & to seal the drawers.

PicMonkey Collage

Have you stripped furniture before? How do you do it?
Do you use different products or the same? I would love to hear
how you strip your furniture pieces.  Or if you use this method!
Got questions or comments? Ask below, on the facebook page {here}
or find me on Instagram {here} or Twitter {here}. & those
adorable hanging prints? I have a giveaway later this week for
those from Yellow Heart Art. Yay for a giveaway, it’s been a while!
More updates on this guest bedroom coming soon, & in case you missed
it you can go see the DIY headboard {here}.
Talk to you soon!
Linking here.

82 thoughts on “How To Strip Painted Furniture

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  2. Jillian Perrius

    I love the results of your dresser and the idea to only strip partially as my dresser has lots of pleats and details that could be very stubborn!!
    Was the wood really that color or was the Mineral Spirits enough to seal and gloss the raw wood??
    Also, the chalk paint seems to give that antique look. What product would you recommend as a simple paint on that gives the same result?
    Thank you!!

  3. Jillian Perrius

    Duh! I just read the walnut wax part of blog- was so excited I skipped to end!
    But if you could reply to the DIY chalk paint question, I’d appreciate it!

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  7. Dani

    Hi just stopping by to say thank you for writing this all out! I just bought an old dresser with many layers of paint on it and before I can redo it I have to strip the paint off! I thought all I’d need to do was sand it but apparently not! Going to Home Depot tomorrow to purchase all the supplies! Thanks for your help and your blog is beautiful!

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  15. Crystal

    Hi there, This piece is one of my all time fav pieces. It’s in so many of my Pinterest boards and I just wanted to let you know that I just posted it on my FB page (I put a disclaimer that the piece was not done by me). Your website/blog address is also listed. I just hope you don’t mind. Felt like I had to tell you/get approval. It’s such a beautiful dresser!

    Thanks in advance,
    Crystal @ My Elements to Elegance

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  18. Megan

    Thanks so much for this advice. I was able to find Citristrip and found it worked well. It definitely took longer than the 30 minutes suggested, more like an hour if you have multiple layers. I didn’t have a metal pail or bucket, so I used a gallon size ziplock to scrape the gunk into and then sealed it up and trashed it along with the gloves I used.

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  47. Ridley Fitzgerald

    Stripping paint is something I fear, because I don’t want to do any damage. Thanks for the step by step process of paint stripping, that helped a ton! I hadn’t ever thought to use steel wool to get rid of paint spots, but I bet it works great.

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