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  • emilyerobbins0

Lifting Layers

Updated: Mar 31, 2021

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail - John Wooden.

I feel like everyone has heard this or something along the lines of this, right?

When it comes to refinishing furniture, preparing your piece is one of the most important parts of the process. I remember one of my first projects was a set of shutters that had LAYERS of paint. It was like a rainbow, as one color came off another one appeared. I thought I would never get to the end!

Depending on the type of paint you plan to use for your project you may not need to strip the paint or stain on your piece before painting, but if the pre-existing paint is chipping or peeling, you should remove it.

I think a lot of people don’t like the prepping part, but I personally love it. It’s like a deep clean of your house - feels so good to remove the gunk! This past weekend I stripped a coffee table I am using as a project piece:

This was nothing like the shutters (thankfully, lol) because it was just stained, so it was easy to restore it to its original condition.

Here are the products I used for this prep project:

To remove the stain or pre-existing paint, first, clean the piece and then use a remover such as Citristrip. Make sure you are wearing thick, protective gloves on your hands! Apply the Citirstrip and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Use a paint scraper to gently remove the product. If you are going to leave it for a long time, cover it in plastic wrap. Otherwise, depending on how large the piece is, you might want to work in small sections.

The more paint that’s on the piece, the longer you should let the remover do its job. Keep repeating these steps until most of the paint or stain has been removed. In the image above, the stripper is already drying (you can tell by the dried, gray look of it), so ideally you'll want to get to it before it dries like this!

Use the after wash to remove the rest. Dip a grippy sponge into a container of the liquid and scrub in small sections of the piece. I love grill brushes for this because they are softer and easy to work into curved areas! Quickly remove the residue with a rag.

I used a toothbrush to get into the small crevices, but any small brush will do. Lightly sand the piece to remove the remaining stain once you’ve removed most of it with the chemical strippers.

Now it’s ready for painting!

Do you like prepping furniture? Let me know if you have any other tricks or tips!

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