TV Cabinet Makeover | Paint Removal

Remember the TV cabinets from the 1980’s and 1990’s? Let me show you how to makeover an outdated TV cabinet into a lovely storage unit for your home!

Why, yes we do custom work!

One of my followers on Instagram asked if we do custom work. She needed this TV cabinet transformed into a storage unit for her beach home. She and her mother had just bought a place in the Lewes Beach, Delaware area and they were shopping for pieces for their new home when they came across this cabinet at the local Restore.

The piece was the perfect size and shape but it was missing shelves. I told her that we would love to makeover this piece for their home! We picked it up at their new place and headed home to the workshop!

TV cabinet woes!

The TV cabinet had been spray painted and honestly, it was a very poor job. There were runs all over it and even places that had been touched while the paint was wet!

See the runs under the knob!

Also, when the cabinet was sprayed, quite a bit of the overspray went inside of the cabinet. Not a desirable look at all!

Plan A

This is the spot where I started the sanding. In my opinion, the overspray was sloppy looking so I used 80 grit sandpaper and sanded down to the bare wood. Much better!

Next, was the outside of the TV cabinet. The sprayed on paint was a high gloss so at minimum it needed a good scuffing so that the new paint would adhere nicely.

Plan B

I started off using the 80 grit sandpaper and immediately realized that some of the paint was just peeling off! Let’s go to plan B with the scraper!

As I moved around the cabinet scraping paint, I could see that some of the paint was adhered well to the surface while other places it was just peeling off in sheets.

Plan C

I decided to pulls all the guns out….literally! This is my heat gun. The heat softens the paint so that scraping is much easier. Use caution when using a heat gun, they get very, very hot!

I have also used Ready Strip to remove paint in the past. Check out this post to see that process:
How to Remove Layers of Paint

The cabinet had not been properly prepared for painting the first go-around. That is why the paint peeled. But rest assured, we are prepping this TV cabinet perfectly as part of it’s makeover!

Paint Removal Step by Step

Here is a little video to help you understand and see first hand the process I used with the heat gun and scraping tool.


Let me review the tips and techniques I mention in the video:

  • Use EXTREME CAUTION with a heat gun. Burns can happen very, very quickly with this tool!
  • Use a metal paint scraper, chisel or putty knife to scrape the softened paint. Long handles will keep your hand away from the heat source. No plastic handles!
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves. I didn’t have my gloves on and singed the hair on one of my hands. It happens quickly so be CAREFUL!!
  • Hold the heat gun close enough to the surface to soften the paint without burning it. Be aware that paint can catch fire and burn! Holding the gun at a safe distance helps to prevent burns. The removed paint-peels can be hot! Watch where they land!
  • Work in small sections at a time. If the softened paint cools, it can re-adhere itself to the surface.
  • Do not use this tool around children and be careful around pets! The metal surface on the heat gun gets very hot and so does the scraping tool!
  • When finished, lay the heat gun and scraping tool in a safe place to cool.

Ready for the next steps!

The piece is ready to be sanded, primed and painted! That’s a job for tomorrow!

TV Cabinet Makeover Progress

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One Comment

  1. Jennifer Baker says:

    Oh my gosh, that’s such tedious work! Good job being patient, Cindy ? It’s going to look beautiful!