How I Haphazardly Stripped (Old Paint)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I bought this old shelf at the Christie Lake Antique Show a few months ago. I loved the size and shape but knew the colour wouldn't work in the room I wanted to use it in.

I could tell it had multiple layers of paint and there were chips and dings everywhere.

My plan was to paint the shelf white (I know, shocker) and then distress it. I didn't want any of the turquoise paint to show through after sanding so I had to get rid of it with paint stripper. 

Here are the supplies that I used for this project:

Heirloom paint stripper (gel formula)
Protective gloves (specific for paint stripping)
Paint scraper
Cheap paintbrush (not shown)
Old toothbrush (yum!)(not shown)
Alex's creepy breathing mask (so I could look like a serial killer)

I found a nice shaded area in the backyard so that the paint stripper wouldn't dry too quickly. It's also important to work in a well-ventilated area so you don't die of toxic fumes. I found a piece of plywood from the garage to use as a protective work surface (I already have enough dead grass thank-you-very-much). 

Now here's where it gets veeeeery technical. I poured a whole pile of paint stripper onto each section of painted surface and then mashed it around with the cheapy paintbrush making sure to leave it nice and thick. I left it to work it's magic while I fiddled around in the yard for a few minutes. When the paint started to look all crackled and bubbly, I gently scraped it off with the paint scraper. For the rounded bits I used Alex's an old toothbrush.

Dump paint stripper. Fiddle in yard. Scrape off paint. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I knew that I'd be painting over the shelf so I didn't bother to get the little bits of paint that were stuck in the cracks and crevices. Meh. Good enough for me.

So now this bad boy is ready for a light sanding and then some primer and paint. Woohoo!

Important Note: Don't slosh the paint stripper around while you are scraping it off. Chunks of paint (with paint stripper on them) will fly through the air and burn little holes in your arms and legs. Hey, it felt like little holes were burning into my flesh at the time. ;)

Fo' Real Note: Make sure you read stuff like this and this if you're working on an old piece of junk treasure. Safety first! 

Linking to:

Mad Skills Tutorial Link Party @ Mad in Crafts
Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts
Tutorials and Tips Tuesday @ Home Stories A to Z


  1. Can't wait to see how it turns out. I hate stripping!

  2. I love the Christie show! I always find the most amazing stuff. LOVE your shelf and the aqua would have worked for me just fine. Great job on the stripping, even if it made you into swiss cheese :)

  3. Very nice this shelf!
    Good paint!
    Bye Bye by Francy

  4. you did a great job with that!!! did oyu test for lead before you did it? or did you wear a protective mask, too?

  5. Thanks for the tips!! I can't wait to see it when your finished with it!! The original blue color would have worked great in my house!! LOVE that blue chippy paint!

  6. Thanks Cassie! I went back and added the part about the mask. Can't forget the safety part even if I'm being silly. ;)

  7. I've had the same experience. When I read the title of this blog post, I immediately knew you probably had the same experience I have had. I actually have stripped to whole desks. Even wearing the thick safety gloves doesnt' protect you from those flying paint chips carrying the painful stripper. I also didn't wear a mask, but I do it in a well ventilated area. Still not the best idea because then you feel like your lungs are going to burn out. I guess that's why they put tht warning on there.

    The good news: It will be worth it!


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