{I Love to Strip}

Strip furniture that is….

Seriously – its like picking a big ol’ scab…it kinda hurts, its messy, its yucky, sometimes it splatters and burns – but ahhhh, when its done you just want to pick some more!!!

Is that gross?!?

But really – i LOVE stripping furniture!  I love when i get a piece with tons of build up paint layers that need to be removed prior to painting or sanding.  It makes me giddy – ahhhh, i live a simple life!!

I normally only strip paint off furniture if i want to stain it instead of repainting, or if the texture off all the old paint is really bad (lots of  chipping, paint drips or overall yucky buildup of paint that wont be able to be smoothed out with sanding).  Now, sometimes that old paint texture will look awesome with a fresh coat of paint and some glaze over it – you just got to use your own judgement!

So – lets get to my stripping lesson – im just an amateur, but this is what i have learned thus far ;)


1st up – I prefer Jasco brand of stripper.  There is a couple different versions of it, a 5 minute and a 15 minute – both work well and in about 5 minutes.  This one is for paint/epoxy removal (oil and latex).  There are also other kinds for lacquer,shellac, stain, etc.

2 – Now here’s where you get your gloves, goggles, long pants – yaddi yaddi ya.  Or just get working like i do.  Im a rule breaker – oh ya.

3 – Dump lots of stripper on your furniture.  Here i am working on a flat table, so the stripper stayed put.  But, if you are working on something vertical, they make the stripper in a gel form so it wont run down and end up on the floor.

4 – I normally just use a cheap brush to spread on the stripper.  Just make sure you only brush over it once and brush it on heavy.  The trick is keeping the furniture really wet with the stripper.  If it is too dry then it doesnt work.  A good trick to keeping the stripper wet while you are working on a larger surface is to cover it with wax paper (that also keeps the stripper wet while it penetrates all the paint layers if you have lots of layers to work through) – my awesome friend Christa from Stories of a House taught everyone that little trick.

5 – After a few minutes, your paint will start to bubble up.  Thats when its ready to be scraped off.  I go back and forth between using a plastic scraper or a sharp metal one – either one is fine.  Sometimes the metal one is a little easier because it has a sharp blade and it will scrape the surface.

6 – Scrape away!!

7 – Luckily this is a big flat surface so its pretty easy.  But, lots of times there are going to be ornate details, curves and all that pretty stuff that need to be stripped and thats when you break out the fancy tools – toothbrushes, wire brushes, kitchen sink scrubbers, steel wool, scotch bright pads – i keep lots of this stuff on hand and just use what will work for that job.   Sometimes you just have to get creative.

8 – Lastly, if its a big flat surface i normally just scrape off as much as i can and then sand off the rest.  If there are lots of details that you cant sand, i like to dip a toothbrush in mineral spirits and that will help clean up any residue left over.

So lets Re-Cap

 – Make sure and get the right stripper for the right job

– Spread the stripper on thick and keep it wet

– You may have to repeat the process a few times to get all the old layers of paint removed

– But, you dont have to remove ALL the paint, your sander can help you

– You dont have to use a chemical stripper for all jobs.  Sometimes the old paint layer is really thin and it can just be sanded off easily.  I only use a stripper when i can tell the paint layers are really thick and it will be faster to strip than to sand off.

– Stripper can be cleaned up with mineral spirits – so you can clean up the details in the furniture and your tools with that stuff


Child labor at its finest!! – even my little Zailee likes to strip off paint….at least shes wearing gloves?!  Im such a bad mom!!

OH – and i am working on a post for all the questions in my “Ask Me Anything” post a few days ago – so check for that soon!!!