Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Beginners' Guide To Painting Part 2: Stripping

Not all pieces are suitable for painting all over.

I didn't think a straight painted finish would be tough enough for the constant scrubbing and wiping and stabbing with forks that my table top will receive. 

Just keeping it real.

I also thought it would be a good place to slot in a stripping lesson to
The Beginner's Guide To Painting Furniture. 
The top of the table had peeling-yet-curiously-stuck-on remnants of varnish. 
The rest of the table will be painted so I didn't have to bother stripping that.

The day you've all been waiting for.
Your Personal Stripping Lesson.
Um, yeah.

You will need:
Chemical-Proof Gloves
Paint Stripper
A Paint Scraper
Sand Paper

You can buy special varnish strippers but paint stripper strips varnish just fine. It will also strip your skin, which is why I've included the gloves in the list. 
You need 'em. I've tried to make do without and it's S.O.R.E..

 The instructions on the back of your tin of stripper should tell you more precisely what you need to do.
Each varies slightly but here are basic instructions:

Pour some stripper onto the area you want to strip. 
The stripper will dry out too much if you strip a huge piece all at once so stick to medium sized area at a time. 
{Plus that way you can get better as you work along the piece so start with an inconspicuous part if possible.}

To give you an idea, I did this 2 metre table a third at a time.

Use an old brush to spread the stripper out thickly. 
It needs to be a good thick layer so that it doesn't evaporate off before the chemicals have a chance to do their dirty work.

Wiggle it into any awkward corners.

Wait for the time specified....don't wait longer thinking it will do a better job, it'll only dry out and be much harder to remove.
The paint or varnish will lift and look a bit like this...

...which means that you can start the next step. 
I find a paint scraper the best tool for getting the paint or varnish off. 
The best scrapers have slightly curved corners so that they don't gouge the wood.
Push the scraper over the wood and the paint or varnish should come away fairly easily. Some stubborn areas will need harder scraping but the stripper will do most of the work for you.

Wire wool can also be used for delicate areas
.....but you'll need MUCH more elbow grease......
and a thick pair of gloves. 
{That stuff is like evil cheese wire. Ouch.}

You may need to repeat the process 
several times to get rid of every last bit.

Wait for the table to dry then give the whole area 
a gentle sand to get rid of any remains.

There! That's the hard bit done.
The rest is plain-sailing and quick!

If you're looking for an easily-sustained good-looking finish for table tops then swing by tomorrow when I'll be sharing what I've found that works a treat for happy family-mealtimes
{Fork-stabbing and all}.

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Courtenay@Signal Hill Interiors said...

Can you believe I've never used paint stripper? I've always just done elbow grease and sanding. Is it weird that I think the paint stripper looks kinda fun?

Unknown said...

Ack! Where are your gloves girl? Can't wait to see the finished project. Did anyone else have a certain piece of music running through their head from the title?

Nat at Made in Home said...

This tutorial is great. I really want to paint a chest of drawers we were given ages ago. And now that it has made the trip back from Holland, I really need to get on with it! Thanks!!

Young Adventures... said...

Looks great Sarah! I've made some changes to our blog, I would love it if you stopped by when you have a moment.

Erica said...

Love this tutorial! Thanks for the share!

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Susan T said...

I have never been a stripper either! next time I will give it a go. I am waiting to see what paint you use. I have a table upstairs ready and waiting as I speak.

Anonymous said...

Wooooo loooook at yooooouuuuu! I can't wait to see how your table turns out. After you strip the wood... there is a nice finish to work with. I do that with pieces that have layer upon layers of paint, etc. Looks great, Sarah! I bet it turned out awesome! <3

Elz @House Pour said...

Ugh this is giving me flashbacks to when we tried to strip our table. Talk about a capital F A I L!! We used citris strip though, not the liquid paint stripper since we applied it to the curvy legs of the table. It just ended up moving the stain into our already sanded spots and then the gel dried to a hard orange glop. We obviously missed the "work in small sections" advice!! I don't think we'll be trying it again soon, but if so I've bookmarked this! Ha, thanks!

Paula Jo @ Home and Garden Decor said...

You really have a nice blog. I found you by chance, and I really like it. I use to strip furniture and refinish tables and dressers, but haven't for years now. It sure sounds like you have been busy, but I know it is alot of work. It's looking real good.

Tricia said...

Looks like your project is coming along nicely. I can't wait to see it all done :)

I have two items laying on the garage floor waiting for a transformation. One of them is a mirror. The frame has all these grooves and crevices...a complete nightmare.

xo Tricia

Privet and Holly said...

Love this painting
series...thanks! So
sorry to have missed
the paint party, but
I was under the weather.
Rallying now even though
I'm still croaking : )
Off to have a peek at
the post I missed. Hope
you are well!!
xx Suzanne

Catherine said...

Yay...getting into it sweets!!

You know what, I find paint stripping really therapeutic. There is something about all that bubbling dead yucky paint, when the stripper works it's chemical mojo, that when you get out the ol' trusty paint stripping tool and just scraaa-aaape it all off...ahhh, it feels good! Out with the old, in with the new!

Can't wait to see what magic you weave on your table!!


PS - sorry been MIA...we've all had "man flu" ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah! I just happened upon your blog (I like to paint stuff too) and I love it! Your tutorial is fantastic...I'll be following along with great interest. Love your style :)
Cas x

Kirsty Girl said...

excellent post! Definitely coming back here when I need to strip! :P

Magali @ The Little White House said...

I'm going to attend each of your lesson and be a very good student, as painting furniture is my next challenge... I bought a "newspaper holder" (no idea how it's called in English) to begin small!

the fishermans cottage said...

Looking forward to seeing the finished table it already has great bones :).. I've used paint remover before, nasty stuff, a tip for stripping varnish from solid furniture is to leave it out for one of our winters, works a treat I also do this for painted pieces.. it must be solid though x

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs said...

I have to admit, I've only stripped one big dining room table before...using the "traditional, stinky, caustic stuff"..Eeeeewww! Wanted to alert all readers to this product called Soy Gel Paint Remover from www.franmar.com They say it also works on urethanes, acrylics, epoxies, and enamels. That outta do almost any stripping project! I've never used it but it gets great reviews, has low VOCs and biodegradable! I think it's worth checking out :-) Excited to see your finished project soon :-)

Gwen @ Gwenny Penny said...

I have always avoided any furniture project that involved stripping, but you make it look so easy. I may give it a try yet :)

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