Tag Archives: citrustrip

Let a little light in

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Let a little light in

As every body knows I kind of have a thing for up cycling and re-purposing.  I also have a thing for decorating my apartment. Recently, while changing my decorations to early spring (pinks in February and greens in March) I needed an easy to change centerpiece for my table.  So I was constantly keeping my eyes out for the “perfect” item.  At work I love the light fixtures known as “bare bulb” lights.  They were  used in the early 1900’s and these beautiful fixtures (also known as pan lights) had decoration in the sides and in the fixtures but no glass shades over the bulbs.  The idea was that if you were lucky enough to have these fixtures in your house you were also lucky enough to have these fancy new things called a light bulb.  And by showing off the light bulb you were showing off your luck. But what strikes me about these light fixtures if how detailed they can be and how most look like flowers.

The bare bulb light mid way through paint removal

The bare bulb light mid way through paint removal

As I was putting away a new stack of these fixtures (all badly broken, heavily painted, and less than perfect) it struck me.  The single light fixtures could be used as candle holders! I grabbed three of my favorite ones and started to strip the paint. I then swapped out the fairly nice light sockets for ones that no longer worked with my lighting lady at work.  Because why do I need to have working sockets hold candles on my table? Once all the paint was removed and sockets placed inside I became kind of sad, the metals of the fixtures weren’t very pretty.  So i bought a very pretty purple can of spray paint (Krylon Rich Plum) and spray painted a nice solid color on the three fixtures.

Just something about "rich plum"that says it all

Just something about “rich plum”that says it all

They were still missing something.  That’s when I took them to work and showed my coworkers.  My lighting lady pointed it out almost immediately flowers aren’t one solid color, they are several colors. So with a lighter lavender and a pink we spray painted the tops at an angel as the paint just glazed the fixtures.  Adding depth and color to my new flower candle holders.

A close up of my candle holder

A close up of my candle holder

My candle holder with Easter decor

My candle holder with Easter decor.

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Let’s face it I like to strip…

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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

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.