Good Monday morning to you insanely awesome folks!
I was so inspired by the questions and comments from the video on waxing furniture, that I decided it was time to film another.
Stripping furniture is something I get quite a bit of questions about–but I’m convinced not many people even want to try. It does seem pretty tricky at first glance (and sometimes it can be). But let me tell you a little secret…
It’s way easier than sanding a table down to bare wood. Way easier. Much less back breaking.
My favorite paint stripper is Smart Strip (available at Sherwin Williams). It’s green (meaning if it gets on you, you simply wash it off–no scary flesh-eating nightmare to deal with), removes up to 15 layers of paint, AND it stays wet for 24 hours.
I’ll go into more detail in the video–but let me just say this stuff is awesome.
Here’s a timeline in pics just so you can see close up what’s happening. This above is immediately after applying–at least 1/8 inch thick all over–and I prefer it to be pretty opaque.
Four hours later, I had some more time to start removing. Most of the paint came off of this piece the first time, but not all. That’s okay, though…sometimes it just takes more work. I say this about it in my ebook:
“Stripping furniture is like waxing your legs, painful but worth it.”
After the first removal–and 5 coats of paint at once. You can see the residue left behind. We’ll cover these steps in the video, but I wanted you to have some close-ups to refer back to.
We’re working on the same trunk we waxed last week, so enjoy!
I hope these videos help you go for it!!
P.S. Another type of treatment or process you want me to video? Let me know in the comments–and as always, feel free to ask any questions!
Thanks for this information! I have thought about stripping but then chickened out. This product and your instructions make me feel like I could do it!
Thank you for the video tutorial! I love that you gave a product recommendation, I am hoping to embark upon a project of stripping all the antique doors in our home and using a safe product is really important to me. Thanks for sharing your expertise! Cheers, Chelsea
This post came right when I needed it. I’m on the hunt for a new piece of furnture I can and refinish. I have to admit I’m intimidated when it comes to furniture stripping. Thanks for the tutorial!
I have to laugh…..I have been stripping a dresser for my son all weekend…What a MESSY (least favorite) process…next time I’m going to try your product…Thanks for the tips:)
Thank you Shawnna! I have been stripping with this very toxic, flesh-eating goo and I am soo excited to try it your way. Thank you for all the helpful videos and e-books. You have made life so much easier for me!
I’m about to strip some antique chairs for a client and was looking for a different stripper to try. Thanks for the tip, I’ll be gettin’ me some Smart Strip this time!! The whole “not flesh eating” thing sounds great 😉
I’d love to see a video of how to use dark wax! 🙂
OMGosh…are you really stripping with no drop cloth and aren’t those your brand new chairs?
You crack me up girl! So looking forward to meeting you. I have NEVER stripped anything, so this was very informative…will definitely be looking for that Easy Strip product…thanks for sharing that .
The Empty Nest
Yes! That’s how safe and easy this stuff is! 🙂 Can’t wait to see you this weekend!
Oh my gosh! Thank you for the videos! In your video you said not to waste your life if your peice is painted. However, what do you do if the paint that is already on there is chipped quite a bit? I am basically wasting my life I guess 😉 I figured I should strip it since there is uneven paint. I tried to paint over it to start with,but the paint chipped off when I dropped one of the drawers so I figured I needed to strip it. I had already painted it white, but hadn’t sealed it. It has been a pain in the rear and I am not sure how I am going to get all of the paint out of the groves. I eventually am planning on painting the bottom of this desk white and staining the top. This has been my first peice to ever do….
Thanks for your info! Love your ebook and blog!
Hey Kristina! In that case, I would sand or strip the top–but totally paint over the legs. I would just embrace the imperfections/texture in that part of the piece. That’s what will give the piece natural character, I think! Hope that helps!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Love this video. I’m just venturing into the painting furniture, etc. and have so many questions. One of them would be about how to find the wax that goes over the paint to give it the old fashioned look. I know you can get it from Annie Sloan, but is it anywhere else and how do you use it? I need to download your book and see if the answer is in there, but that would be a good video for us beginners. 🙂
Hey Tina! Check out the waxing video link in the post–it talks about it…and go to anniesloanunfolded.com to find a stockist near you who carries the soft wax. Other alternatives are Minwax Paste Finishing Wax and Briwax. You can find both of those at your local home improvement stores. Hope this helps!!
Thanks so much i just got bunk beds for my kids, from my mom and they have been sitting in a room molding for about 10 years i want to clean them and repaint and i was not excited thinking about having to sand all that down but now i am looking forward to it thanks to this!!
What a great and informative video!
Would you use this same product to strip a varnish off of a stained piece?
I have a gorgeous dresser that I want to paint, but I want to give the top a new stain. The current protective finish seems to be a thick shellac or varnish.
Thanks for all the great furniture and design advice you put out there for us all! I love your style!
Hey Karen! I sure would! I’ve probably stripped about 40 ish? pieces with Smart Strip–this trunk was actually the hardest, but after 2 coats and some sanding, it was good to go. Removing stains seems to be the simplest. Good luck!
Thanks for taking the time to do the video, and especially the recommendation! I recently stripped a piece that had a million layers of bubbled nastiness – but the stripper was so horrid smelling I had to be outside and in the Texas heat it dried almost as fast as I could get it on. Do you often strip inside (ha!) or was that primarily for the purposes of the video?
Thank you for posting this! I am literally in the middle of stripping down an old door and my stripper is not cutting it. I will definitely be looking into trying this stripper out. I am a faithful follower and I LOVE how helpful and informative you are on all of your DIY posts! Thanks again!
I’m painting a small piece of furniture, and it has a lot of layers of paint already on it. I’ve sanded it down pretty well, but they are a couple of spots where the paint is so thick that you can’t see the corners of the door anymore, they look rounded because of the thickness of the paint. I hope that makes sense. I’m wondering if you think stripping those areas would be a good idea?
Thanks for your information. I love your tutorials! I was thinking the stripping one was perfect timing for my project.
Shaunna, this is such perfect timing. I have been stripping a dresser (in my spare time) for a couple of weeks now. I started with stinky, chemical stripper and moved on to a heat gun. I really feel like the heat gun is burning the wood and I don’t like it. I was beginning to think of giving up when I saw this video. I went straight to SW and got some SmartStrip. I have a drawer “marinating” right now. I’m going to paint it again so I don’t have to be perfect. I know, stripping to repaint is not your recommendation, but there’s so many coats of awful paint on there that you can barely see the cool lines of the dresser.
Thanks so much!
I totally know what you mean, Tanya. I’ve definitely had to do it when it was ruined–I will say I have learned to enjoy painting over more texture with chalk paint–it’s just kind of made for that. Good luck–I hope it works well for you–slap that stuff on thick!!
Shaunna, thank you so, so, so much for this fantastic post and videos. I so appreciate all your information. So excited that I can strip some furniture now. I am so grateful for you and your blog. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have found chalk paint (which I LOVE). So thank you for telling us all about this technique.
Oh my! I needed this video last week when I had to strip furniture! 🙂 Thank you for the information. You.are.amazing!
Thank you so much for including the closed captions in this video. Well done! .
Do you really do furniture stipping in your living area? Excellent info! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I’m so glad you posted this – wish I’d have read it before I tried Citrasolve. Ick. Took forever, and I was worried about the whole flesh-eating thing!
Thank you so much for the video and product recommendation. For years I have wanted to restore my great granparents dining room furniture, but I have been leery of using a stripper because of the toxic chemicals. I am excited about the possibility of doing the furniture myself!
I have always striped the furniture I have repainted in the past until the Annie Sloan paint. I agree it is a lot of work but so nice to repaint over the bare wood. Sometimes layers upon layers of paint gets pretty lumpy looking. I have not tried this Sherwin Williams product, I will try it the next time I need to strip something (furniture that is HaHa)
I am refinishing a desk by painting all but the top with AS Old White and then waxing. I have not yet started on the top surface. It is now stained. I plan to take it back to bare wood, restain, and then use AS wax. I had planned to sand it to bare wood, but after seeing your video, do you think I could use Smart Strip and strip it instead of sanding?
Hey Tara! I would totally strip that stuff! Normally, stain removes even easier than paint. You could always give it a whirl and see what happens–then sand any remaining stain off.
Do you know if this will work to remove a thick varnish?
Would this work on a Lane chest that has varnish on it ? The trunk is in nice shape but some of the wood is chipping at the bottom and it’s just down right ugly. I’d like to paint it but don’t know if I should strip it firs. Thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing this video tutorial. I am so excited to get started removing the paint from the stair spindles in my house. Your tutorial came at the most perfect time. Thank you, Shaunna!
Thank you so much for the valuable info. I have just a couple of questions. . .
I am stripping an old pie cupboard. I am afraid the paint on it currently probably has lead in it. I am going to try the sherwin williams stripper. I live in Nebraska and there are no Annie Sloan distributors. Looking on the Annie Sloan website, I don’t think I can order the paint either. What alternative paint do you suggest? It sounds like there is no paint like this Annie Sloan and I wish I could try it! Thank you!
Shaunna, now you know I love my sander and stripping paint is about my least favorite thing about furniture makeovers BUT I’ve got this awesome walnut cabinet from the 1800’s out in my garage that’s painted and you just may have convinced me to STRIP IT! I’ll keep ya posted. Thanks for the video!
Thank you so much for your thorough video. Does this process work for stripping stain from a piece or just painted pieces. I recently purchased a beautiful piece and got it super cheap because there is some damage. I was wanting a project piece and I got it!
Hi Shaunna, Do you always have to strip a piece. For example if the piece just has one coat on it can you just prim and paint. The store looks great. Thank you so much for your time.
Hi!! Thank you for this video and product recommendation. I have a similar question as the one above…I want to refinish/paint an oak hutch, side table, and dining set given to me by a relative. Is it necessary to strip or sand an old piece of furniture with just a stain on it? I’ve never done this before but I sanded out the entire table and it about killed me and took 3 days! I was hoping to just sand out the spots that are dented/scratched on the rest. The stain is pretty even (just not to my liking-I’m more an espresso finish gal). I was wondering if it was possible to prime everything with Kilz or some kind of primer and then paint it and use Annie Sloan wax/sealant you recommend over it all. Would this work or is this going to look horrible? Thanks for your time answering!
Hi, i’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I recently inherited an old dining table and chairs. I’m wanting to change the stain and was planning on stripping and sanding the top. Would you recommend stripping for the chairs and legs or could I just sand and then re-stain them??
I love your blog and thank you for making easy to follow tutorials for all of us do it yourselfers. I am just starting on a heirloom antique from my neighbor. He was a professional painter and tried to strip off the old stain so he could lighten the stain color of the piece. The piece, due to its age did not strip down to bare wood but just a tint lighter. It still has a lot of original stain, lighter stain (from stripping), as well as, a peeled look where they meet. Would the Smart Strip work on stain or it is strictly for paint? Do you have any advise on how to get a smooth base for my piece before I start painting? It has no paint on it, just stain. Thank you for any tips!
It sure would! I use it for both…have fun!
Question for you: Can you do this with something that is stained or is the product just for removing paint? I have a bench on my front porch that came with our house and the finish was cheap and is chipping off. I want to strip that previous stain (it’s more like a painted on stain) and restain and wax it. Is there a different product for stripping stain?
Hey Meg! Yep, this will be great for removing stain, too. I’ve used it for both!
Hi- this is my first attempt at anything creative! 🙂 I have a wood dresser that I wanted to paint. Do I need to strip it before I paint or can I sand, prime and paint a color?
I love to pick up pieces at estate sales or flea markets and give them a makeover. Don’t mind refinishing, but always dread the sanding part. This tip will definitely save me time and make the process more enjoyable. I love your blog, your video and tutorials are great!