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How to Strip Furniture ... the Easy Way!

Up until recently, I’ve tended to use my sander to strip away layers of paint or varnish from furniture when I’ve wanted to bring back the beauty of the natural wood but found that sometimes I got carried away (I do love a power tool) and ended up either damaging the surface or going through the veneer if not solid wood.

I now use this foolproof and EASY method.

You will need:

Sandpaper (I use 120 grit)
Lint free cloth or paper towels
Eye protection
Mask (optional)
Chip brush
Paint/varnish stripper - I use Autentico’s Bio-strip
Cling film
Plastic or metal scraper
Small wire brush
Bucket of clean water

Step 1:
Lightly scuff the surface(s) that you wish to strip (this helps the stripper be more effective) and wipe away residue with a slightly damp cloth or paper towel.

Step 2:
Put on your apron, gloves, goggles, mask (if it has strong fumes - one of the reasons I like Autentico's Bio-Strip is that doesn't) and LIBERALLY apply your paint stripper of choice using your chip brush.

Step 3:
After each section, wrap tightly in cling film ensuring that you have a slight excess so that you can tuck in around the edges or leave it overhanging.  Pat it down to remove any air bubbles to ensure a tight fit.  This prevents the stripper from drying out prematurely and thereby increases its efficiency.

Step 4:
Leave it for a MINIMUM of 1-2 hours.  I tend to do this just before I close for the day and tackle it in the morning.

Step 5:
When you are ready to remove the cling film, ensure you put your protective gear back on (Step 2).  You will see that a lot of the paint or varnish will already be stuck to the cling film. 

Step 6:
I use a plastic scraper for the first removal as I don't want to damage the wood but you can obviously use a metal one if you prefer but just be careful.  Now start to peel back the cling film (you will see paint/varnish come away with it) and gently use the scraper to remove any that is left behind.  I use a small wire brush to get into any details.  Continue pulling back the cling film, scraping as you go until you have removed the original finish(es). 

Step 7:
Clean up the residue with paper towels (or old newspaper) as you don't want it all over your floor. 

Step 8:
Repeat steps 1-7 if there is still some of the old finish remaining.  Using this method, I've only ever had to apply a maximum of two coats (Bio-Strip is a gentle stripper with no VOC's).  If you use a more aggressive (but less environmentally friendly) stripper then you may get away with one coat.

Step 9:
Once I'm sure all the old finish has been removed and residue wiped away, I clean the piece thoroughly with water and allow to dry overnight.

Ta Dah!

Julia x


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