Remove finish and follow some basic prep steps to get the most out of your painted furniture.
To remove finish from furniture is sometimes a necessary evil. I know the big selling point with chalk type furniture paint is the “no prep needed”. Truth is even the best paint products, (AND I DO BELIEVE Kristi Kuehl Pure Home Paints ARE THE BEST) must have a secure base to adhere to. If you paint over a peeling paint, finish, or dirt…then expect that the new layer will peel up when the layer below fails. (If you are only here for the after…Then click this link to see where we got to after all the dirty work.)
Finish examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Well kept pieces can be scrubbed with equal parts vinegar and water mixture to remove finish or the old cleaning supply build up. Followed with a wipe down with clear water and a little dry time is enough for painting. These would be pieces that were in a house, or somewhere with climate control. Pieces that have NOT been painted before. Pieces with no major damage, no gouges, and no deep scratches.
If your piece has is a little more damaged. It may need sanding with a 100 grit sandpaper to remove finish, followed by a 120 grit sandpaper to smooth the base. This will remove the finish or lessen the scratches in the finish. Follow with a clean, rinse, and dry. You can see in the photo above how much of the stain and finish is missing. Painting over the varying levels may show the scratches. Our Pure Home Paints are self leveling. I would be more concerned that if the finish is peeling it may continue even under the paint.
Then we have the pieces like this one. Peeling lacquer, shellac, or paint. YOU MUST REMOVE FINISH on furniture that looks like this! If you plan on making these pieces over you will have to use a little elbow grease & you may need to bring in some help. See how there are several layers of peeling? Once that old finish starts to peel, there is no promise that it will stop. There are several ways of removing the old finish. I will share the one I used here with you and hope it helps in your adventures.
Product Supplies for this Step
*Post contains affiliate links to products that I used directly on this project. Affiliate links appear as the blue letters throughout the post. Click them to find out more about the tools and products I used.
Jacobean Hutch Before
I found this rather large Jacobean style hutch for sale. It was being sold by a painter and shop owner (which always makes me wary…Why would they offload this piece?) This hutch was pricey, a little higher than I have paid for similar pieces. …but I had already made up my mind as I made the drive with my kiddos in tow. I immediately loved all the detail! I did not love the heavy layer of urethane shellac that was failing in some areas. This top coat had done an amazing job of keeping the piece looking great. But, once it starts to crackle or peel it is not something you can paint over and expect your paint to adhere to. Always remember that your paint can only perform as well as the surface you apply it to!! I cannot stress this enough
How to remove finish
Remove finish from creases
The straight, flat sides are not easy to remove the old finish from with your scraper. The real challenge is in the detailed nooks, crannies, and carvings. for those I scraped what I could and then used a nylon brush and a fine 0000 steel wool. I brush scrubbed the gunk out of these grooves. This became a labor of love or a need to triumph over the enemy. I will admit to stretching this process over a few weeks. All the interesting details meant that I had a lot of work ahead of me!
Were you just here for the after?