I know I just published a post showing you how I used two household items to refinish scratched wood, but even after I removed the scratches I still wasn’t happy with the antique desk. I tossed around the idea of completely stripping the wood, but it made me tired just thinking about it. I know, that might sound silly, because I love to refinish and paint furniture. Just when I was about to give up on the idea of refinishing the desk, I got a tip from a friend on Instagram on how to strip furniture the easy way with minimal sanding. Let me tell you friends, this is a game changer.
I’ve been stripping furniture for years, and to be honest, it’s not my favorite thing to do. It’s labor intensive and time consuming and takes forever to strip all the paint, stain and polyurethane.
Like I said earlier I was about to give up on my plans to refinish this desk due to, well, my desire for a quick fix. Let me show you what it looked like.
It’s a solid wood antique table with a cherry finish. I love the style of the desk, but I don’t like the red finish. My choices were simple; paint it, leave it, or strip it.
Lately I’ve been finding it hard to paint over solid wood. I love the look of solid wood and I hate to hide solid wood with a paint color that I might not like in the future. I just didn’t want to hassle with stripping the paint. I made up my mind that I would keep the desk as it is.
Just when I almost gave up my idea of stripping any paint off of this furniture piece, I got a great tip from a friend.
Tip or hack to reduce the amount of time it takes to strip the finish off of the wood.
Y’all ready for this? She said to use a spray stripper on the desk and then wrap it with saran wrap and leave it overnight.
Saran Wrap? Whoa, this was a new one.
I’ve been stripping polyurethane, paint and stain off of furniture for years, why haven’t I heard of this? Either way, I had to give it a try.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase from one of these links I will receive a small commission, but rest assured you won’t pay anymore for the product.
Materials used to strip furniture:
- plastic drop cloth
- saran wrap (I still couldn’t believe I would be using this)
- paint stripper
- paint scraper
- brillo pad or steel wool (a couple of these)
- sand paper
- electric sander (not necessary, but helpful)
- paper towels
- Klean Strip After Wash (mineral spirits or TSP work too)
- Klean Strip Liquid Deglosser
How to start Stripping paint;
- spray the desk with Citristrip or any other paint stripper. Make sure the desk is clean before spraying it. I like the Citristrip because it doesn’t create as many fumes as other paint strippers.
- cover the desk with saran wrap (there isn’t an easy way to do this, just make sure the saran wrap is up against all those curves and crevices)
- wait at least a few hours or overnight. It is better to leave it overnight.
- remove the saran wrap and use your brillo pad or scraper and scrape away the residue
- after all the residue is removed, spray a clean brillo pad or heavy paper towel with the after wash solution and wipe away any extra residue.
- start sanding
- For the hard to reach spots like the nooks and crannies of the legs, use a liquid sander or deglosser.
- continue sanding until you have reached your desired finish!
Video on how to strip furniture the easy way
Here are some images from the progress:
I’ve sprayed it down with Citri Strip and covered it with saran wrap.
After I finished stripping most of polyurethane and stain off the wood, it was time to apply the after wash. You can use “after wash” or mineral spirits. I think they both do practically the same thing.
I used the electric sander for the top of the wood and some of the flat areas.
For the legs and the drawers, this is where the liquid sander came in handy. I used a little bit on the legs of the table below to help with the hard to sand places.
Letting the paint stripper sit overnight with the saran wrap made it easy to remove the extra stain without much effort.
After most of the sanding, this is a little before and after of what the desk looked like.
I picked up some new hardware from Ace’s Hardware. I wanted to keep with the “vintage antique” vibe.
I was happy with the transformation so far, but the red tones on the drawer and the top still bothered me.
I tried using a dark wax, a “weathered” stain, and a clear wax with no luck! All these products still brought out the red tones.
After doing a little research, I decided to try to bleach the wood. This is new, I had never done this before, but I’m so glad I did.
How to bleach wood:
FYI: I used regular household bleach because I didn’t have anything else. This isn’t the best option, but it’s all I had at the time.
If you are planning to bleach a piece of wood or furniture I would highly suggest buying wood bleach. You can see a great product HERE.
Above is the drawer before I used the bleach.
I dabbed a little bleach on a heavy paper towel and wiped it all over the wood on the desk. I let it dry and then repeated this process about 5 times.
You can see where the bleach has already dried on the wood, and where it is still wet.
After bleaching the areas of the wood that still had “red tones,” I sanded a little more, and then I was almost done!
Well there you have it; a total furniture transformation.
I love the raw wood look and I’m so pleased with how well the saran wrap trick helped me strip the paint off of this old desk.
For those of you wanting to know how I sealed the raw wood, check out my post on how to seal furniture for high traffic.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve been inspired to strip a piece of furniture the easy way!
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