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_____ furniture stripping

or un-painting your diy projects.

if you like paint, if you like to paint anything and everything you see and thrift. Go for it! You do you, and it is by far the easiest and most effective way to quickly change the look of a piece. thats why it is so popular. This is not meant to be an anti-painting thing, more to show you how much of a different look a stripped piece of furniture can be as well. until recently I've never thought about un-painting something I've thrifted, the natural way was always to the hardware stores paint section.

now after stripping two things that I've painted a while ago I can say its a bit of a messy process but so worth the work!! I love the warm wood tones and how they add a lot of life ans character to a space. how I feel about stripping jobs: they don't have to be aaaaaallll the way perfect. It totally adds to the character of the piece when they are not looking like brand new Ikea ivar raw wood.


gel paint stripper (I needed two bottles of 500ml for the whole thing)

scraping tools like a spatula or a wire brush

clear film for incubating

floor protection & gloves

container to scrape the gunk into

paper towel & a bin near by to keep your workspace clean

work in a well ventilated area and make sure your skin and eyes are protected

first up you want to undo everything thats screwed in or slide in like drawers etc, try to make your life as easy as it can get and prep everything before you start applying the stripper

once the floor is protected you can start applying a thick layer of the paint stripper, be generous, especially when there's several layers of paint on the piece

once the painted surface is covered in gel cover it with clean film, try to avoid big air pockets when putting the foil down

let it sit until big bubbles of paint are forming, be patient, if you scrape it off too early you'll have to do the whole process again

ideally you should see a big bubbly surface all over the piece,

here I didn't put enough stripper, so it just bubbled up partially.

in this case remove what bubbled up and do a second round of gel covered in foil.

if you are working on super old pieces chances are high there's looooooaads of build up. I discovered a fake wood veneer-ish stuff underneath the first few layers of paint. luckily the paint stripper basically dissolves anything thats not pure natural wood, so I was able to strip away this layer as well.

once I knew how much to apply and how long to wait it worked quite smoothly. I was able to strip away all the paint at once

uncovering a layer of fake wood

I incubated this again and was able to pull it away in one go. good thing about the foil technique is that most of the gunk adheres to the foil and you can peel it off all at once. for the rest you can use a scraper and scrape it all into your container.

same with the body of the cabinet. with the second round I was able to remove anything thats not untouched / unstained raw wood

to be sure all stripper is gone I washed the whole surface with warm water and let it dry over night.

because I knew I wanted to glue on the handles I kept it raw for that part and oiled afterwards. you should put on some kind of protection oil or finish to prevent water stains etc

I found these silver napkin rings a while ago and felt they would work great as handles.

I glued them onto the raw wood with two component glue. especially with glue there's a higher stability when the surface you glue onto is oil free, thats why I oiled the drawers once the glue was cured. I glued them on lying flat and let the glue cure for 24 hours before putting the drawers back in, so they wouldn't slip down while the glue was still wet.

thats the cabinet at the thrift where I got it ....

thats the messy bit ... after the layers of paint I added were kinda gone

and thats how its looking now. super happy I trusted the process and just gave it a try.


Aug 28, 2023

Where did you get the napkin rings from? They are sooo pretty


May 01, 2023

What kind of paint remover gel did you use? The one I got never bubbled and did not work as smoothly 😫

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