Stripping Old Finish Off Furniture

One thing I love about DIY is trying new things, even if you fail at the first go around its good practice on what to do next time. Typically when I've bought a vintage furniture [our secretary desk & Tabari's vintage desk ] I sanded the both pieces down to bare wood, I loathe all that sanding. After seeing Shovanda's use of the paint stripper on her dining room table [check out her fantastic makeover here] I was intrigued and decided I would strip the old stain off my vintage campaign dresser using a paint stripper. 

Behind every DIY Project there's a story, I originally planned on buying the Citristrip Stripper one my dresser, but then I stopped in Lowes they didn't have any in the small size. I spoke with 'the paint guy' and he suggested I try NEXT Paint Strip, saying it was just like the Citristrip [low VOC, smells like organes etc]. 

The next day I followed the directions on the NEXT container and waited 3 hours and began removing the old finish. I used a plastic paint scraper to start removing the old finish. Even though the paint stripper is Low VOC, I decided to use the product in my garage with the garage door open for proper ventilation. I took my time, but only scraped off a black gummy gel like substance from the dresser. I was left with a white pasty residue on the dresser. I repeated the steps and ended up with the same results. Big fail. 

The Next morning, I stopped in Home Depot found the Citirstrip size I was originally looking for, this was the same morning I found the Fiddle Leaf Fig tree at Home Depot. 

Paint Stripping Supplies:

  • Citristrip Paint Stripper 
  • Plastic Paint Scrapper 
  • Canvas Drop Cloth
  • Mineral Spirits 
  • Terry Cloth Rag  

How to Strip Furniture 

Again in my well ventilated garage, I poured the Citristrip paint stripped directly on a cheapo brush I picked up from Home Depot for less than a buck. Paint the Citristrip on in thick even strokes. After applying the coat, I could already tell a difference in the paint strippers. 

The NEXT paint strip was more like applying clear jell-o on furniture. With Citristrip I felt more like I was applying a creamy paste, that I could see on the furniture. I waited three hours before using the plastic paint scraper on the dresser. In the picture below it shows the old finish being stripped off, and the black gel in the picture is the residue left behind from the first paint stripper I used. This time around the finish came off easy. I did smooth even stokes with the paint scraper to remove the finish. I loved seeing the beauty of the wood grain underneath the old stain, so pretty. 

Next, I wiped down the dresser using NEXT Mineral Spirits. The mineral spirits really cleaned all the off any residue and finish left from the Citristrip. I was left with clean fresh wood to refinish. 

I really enjoyed using a paint stripper to remove the old stain  off the campaign dresser verses using a sander to remove the finish. Even though my first attempt at removing the old finish with a paint stripped was a DIY fail, it also taught me to go with my gut and seek at the right product [ that has verified good reviews] instead of the substitute. Tomorrow, I'll share the refinished campaign dresser after. I'm love how the campaign dresser turned out, it looks so good! I can't wait to share! 

Have you ever used a paint stripper to remove a finish off furniture?