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DIY Wood Paint Stripping

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 by in DIY Furniture | 1 comment

Hand carved room divider after the paint was stripped away.

The hand carved room divider after the paint was stripped away.

How to strip paint using non toxic products

Non Toxic Paint Stripping Supplies

This project has become my third child! I have poured a lot of time, sweat, and tears into restoring this beautiful room divider to its former glory. I bought the beautiful, hand carved, individual fitted, room divider for a steal at a local thrift shop! There are deals and steals at small, local thrift shops. Many do not know the value of a piece or discount merchandise that is painted over, chipped, etc. To the trained DIY eye, this was a diamond in the rough!

Crown’s Low Odor Mineral Spirits
Citristrip Stripping Gel
Paint Roller Brush
Paint Rollers
Paint Brushes
Plastic Paint Container
Dropcloth or Tarp

How to strip paint off a hand carved room divider

The top piece of the wooden room divider.

Before you start any paint stripping project, regardless of how many you have done in the past, ALWAYS test a small area using the paint stripper. You never know how paint and wood will react. Here is the top piece of the room divider. I chose Citristrip Stripping Gel because it was non-toxic, easy to use, and this gel brand will not damage the wood.

After treating the wood panel with the stripping gel, I waited 12 hours. You can wait as little as 30 minutes before you start removing the paint, but I wanted to make sure it was dry. The test was a success! The paint came off with ease and did not damage the wood beneath.

Non Toxic Paint Stripper DIY

Once the paint was removed you could see the beautiful wood underneath.

Painted wood room divider

BEFORE: The room divider was painted with a wall primer.

If the paint comes up without damaging the wood, go ahead and apply Citristrip to the entire piece, using a roller brush. Apply an entire coat all at once and then discard the roller foam head. The gel will eat away at the foam roller rather quickly. As the gel dries, the paint will turn orange and start to peel.

DIY Paint Stripping Tip: You know the paint stripper is working when the paint starts to turn orange.

You know the paint stripper is working when the paint starts to turn orange.

Paint stripping 101.

Gently wipe away the paint.

Again, I waited about 12 hours for the gel to dry and start to peel. If you do not have that time, you should be able to start wiping the paint off after an hour. Take a sponge and lightly wipe back and forth over the orange dried gel to remove the paint.

Paint stripping the easy and non toxic way

Almost done!

Depending on how thick a coat of stripping gel you applied, you may need to apply another coat of gel to remove remaining paint. Do not apply a thick coat when wood is exposed. It will create a gunky layer over the exposed wood that will need to be sanded off. You risk scratching the wood! I learned this lesson the hard way. If you find you added too much gel and left it for too long, apply a very thin amount of gel again and wait 30 minutes, then remove. You may need a tool to help remove the thick gunk in the crevices.

Results of leaving paint stripper on too long.

Gunk on the wood

Once you have removed all the loose layers of paint, lightly sand the remaining stubborn areas with either sandpaper or the bristle pad side of a sponge.

How to remove paint with non toxic products and a sponge.

Use a sponge to lightly rub the peeling paint.

Use a toothbrush to get in the wood crevices to remove paint.

Use a toothbrush to get in the crevices.

If you chose a simple piece to strip, you can skip the following step. The room divider had an insane amount of crevices, so I spent a great deal of time using a toothbrush to brush the stripping gel in all the cracks and crevices.

After the gel dried, I used another toothbrush to remove the last of the paint.

Paint removal with non toxic products and a toothbrush

The paint is gone.

Once all the paint is removed, lightly brush Crown’s Low Odor Mineral Spirits all over. Use a cloth to wipe the oil off. Step back and take in your masterpiece! Congrats!

DIY Hand carved room divider

The sun shining through the room divider showcases the carvings!

Hand carved room divider DIY

AFTER: Restored to its former glory!

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