Want to know how easy it is to strip paint off of furniture? I’ve got you covered! I will walk you step-by-step how to strip paint from furniture!
resist the temptation
Some of you might be tempted to just skip this post on stripping paint off of furniture and believe me, I get it! But it is really not that difficult or as messy as you might think.
Le’ts get started on this project but first a little back story on this set of dining chairs.
One of our local Instagram followers contacted us to see if we could fix her dining set that she’d had painted a couple of years ago.
Her parents had gifted their family with her childhood dining room furniture but she wanted it updated from the 1980’s-90’s honey-oak tone of the wood.
So she commissioned someone local to paint the chairs and the base of the table. The tabletop was stained in a dark color.
Our client wasn’t sure of the finish and after just two years, the finish had become very sticky to the touch. In fact, it was hard to pull your fingers away after touching it! Ok, so that was an exaggeration, but it was sticky!
She was heartbroken and felt like the set was ruined. She wanted to know if we could fix the whole dining set and also strip the seats of the dining chairs and match the stain to the tabletop.
Of course, we said yes!! How could we turn down restoring this childhood memory that our clients had with the family dining set!
how to strip paint
We scheuduled her into our custom work calendar and she and her hubby brought the four chairs over. My workshop has limited space so the table will come after the chairs are finished and picked up.
The first step was to strip the paint off of the chair seat sections. I have used Multi-Strip in the past with great results.
It is super easy to use – just paint on the thick mixture fairly liberally on the surface with a chip brush. Chip brushes are great for this because they are so inexpensive, they can be tossed away without guilt!
It has virtually no odor so a mask isn’t necessary unless you want to be extra cautious. I also wore disposable gloves just to keep my hands clean.
I painted the Multi-Strip on fairly heavy. It isn’t necessary to put it on super thick in order to strip the paint. You can always apply another coat if needed.
The thin bristles on the chip brush make it easy to get close the the spindles of the dining chairs.
Set time can be as long as 24 hours but in the case of this set of chairs, set time was only about 20 minutes to strip the paint.
The amount of time it takes for this product to work can vary depending on what kind of paint that is being removed, how many layers of paint there are on the surface, and even the temperature of the work area.
I worked on these chairs when the temps were only in the 70’s and I was not in direct sunlight.
Like I said, 20 minutes of set time and it came off in sheets! I barely used any pressure with the putty knife and it just peeled right off!
Be careful not to scrape with too much pressure anyway, you don’t want to create any scratches on the surface. If you are not sure how much pressure, use a plastic putty knife.
I also used a smaller putty knife along the edges of the seat. See the box under the chair? That helped to make cleanup even easier!
Multi-Strip is not as goopy as some of the other paint strippers on the market. It is wet, but it isn’t nearly as messy as some.
Just as a note for any furniture painters out there – don’t paint the underside of chairs! There really is no need to paint those areas. It is not seen and if the owners of the chairs ever want to change the color, they have the underside to deal with.
That paint had to be stripped off as well. Although it was harder to get all of the paint off because the original surface had been raw wood. The paint had soaked into the grain a bit more than it did on the top surface.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of the next step, I think I did this step after dinner and I am not necessarily in photography mode ;).
I am pretty sure the painted surfaces had been waxed so I knew it needed to be removed. By using Odorless Mineral Spirits on all of the surfaces of all four chairs, I was able to remove the wax. I also wiped them down with Denatured Alcohol to remove the Mineral Spirits.
Wear gloves when using both of those products!!
The chairs need a deep scrubbing after all that. I used Dawn dish soap directly on a heavy-duty Scotch Pad and scrubbed down the chairs. The heavy-duty Scotch Pad helped to rough op the surface too.
The hose came in handy to give them a good rinsing afterward. We had a gorgeous sunny 75* day and the chairs had their day in the sun to dry!
a good sanding
The chairs dried overnight and the next day I pulled out my DeWalt Orbital Sander loaded with 150-grit sandpaper and smoothed out the surfaces of the chair seats.
You can see the difference below — the chair on the left has been sanded down to bare wood and that removed the remnant of paint, the chair on the right hasn’t been sanded yet.
I finished off the sanding by hand using a 220-grit sanding sponge sanding in the direction of the grain. This step removes swirl marks that can be left by the orbital sander.
The flat surfaces of the chair backs have been sanded also. Those areas had been especially sticky when my client brought the chairs so I thought it best to give them a good sanding for good measure 🙂
My Craftsman Multi-Tool with the sanding head attachment came in handy when sanding close to the spindles. A bit of hand sanding cleaned up the tight areas the multi-tool couldn’t reach.
The last step for today is to prep the seats for a new stain. Using a Sanding Sealer really helps to prevent a splotchy look that can come with stain application.
The chair on the right has one coat of sanding sealer applied. One coat usually does the trick.
Well, that’s it for today! I need to seal the remaining chairs and then stain them! After that, I get to paint the chairs in General Finishes Snow White! In part two of this post, I will be working on the table that goes with these chairs so stay tuned in the next couple of weeks!
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I’ve grabbed a couple of other posts on stripping paint from furniture for you: