Let’s face it I like to strip…Paint that is! Nothing brings me more satisfaction than to strip pain from a salvaged item. I get sick pleasure for several reasons. One, I like to see the history of the piece and its different lives with different owners. Nothing says well loved like several layers of paint! The second is that I LOVE to pick and peal and scrub. Its an instant gratification, if I scrape or pick hard enough or long enough you can SEE what I’ve accomplished. There are several methods to my madness and since I’m hiding from my next project, I thought I would share my stripping methods.
A fun look at paint history
Heat Gun: I want to love this method of paint stripping; I really do! But sadly its not my favorite. A Heat Gun is an over sized hair dryer that with heat, patience, and scrapping tools literally peals the paint off in strips. You must be careful not to burn your wood under the paint. Dan is much better at this method than I am, which i find ironic since I use a blow dryer daily and he, well, has no hair. But none the less using the heat gun= lots of patience which sadly I lack.
Chemicals (Methylene-chloride): works GREAT…if you have a well ventilated area and thick gloves to protect your skin from the harsh chemicals. Chemicals like paint removers or strippers work wonders but I prefer to not kill brain cells or my cats since I am doing everything in my apartment. Its important to always wipe the chemicals off the clean product with either a paint stripper or mineral spirits. This helps to remove all the chemicals you can’t see.
Safe Strippers (all natural strippers): This is my preferred method. “The Orange Crap” as Dan so lovingly calls CitruStrip and Natures Strip are my favorite. It’s expensive but works great and doesn’t kill my brain cells while working in the apartment. Apply fairly thick layer of stripper on your project and just wait. Depending on the thickness of the old paint it will quickly start to resemble crackle paint and within hours, using a scraper, your paint comes off in giant globs. I have also found if you put the item in a plastic bag or put wax paper on your project after you apply the stripper, the moisture stays in and works faster and better. AMAZING!
High Phosphate Detergent (ie SUPER cheap laundry soap): This is a trick I learned from Earthwise. Mix the cheap Dollar Store Laundry soap with very hot water . Place your metals and glass hardware in it and wait until you can comfortably place your hands in the water. The paint comes right off. This works great for cleaning my hinges, pulls, knobs, screws, and even art deco floor grates.
Sanding: Let’s first start by saying I HATE sanding. This is Dan’s job, well when I convince him to help, it’s his job. I love using the orbital hand sander and I love the instant smoothness but I hate the mess it causes. So when it comes to sanding as a form of stripping paint, this would be my least favorite. BUT if you have patience, and lots of sand paper it works well, just a tad slow going.