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Strip Tease

June 22, 2011

Relax!  I’m keeping all my clothes on….maybe….just kidding I am…………or am I?

ANYWHO Jess moved out, leaving behind a large amount of furniture she has no use for anymore.  Knowing my hoarder thrifty tendencies, she told me I could take anything I wanted before the new girl moves in (um….I don’t want your old shit….I mean…uh….AWESOME!!!!) and I walked away with this lovely little number

(We’ll address those safety goggles in a moment)

Only problem with it is…’s BLACK.  Black furniture works well for Jess, but in my blue/pink/omg-I-love-my-life room I’m not suuuuuure black is the best color choice.  I decided my best option was to strip the wood (bow-chica-wow-wow) and then re-paint it in a prettier color.  I couldn’t find a good step-by-step on how to refinish furniture, so after lots of research I decided to put one together on how I did it.

Step one: Assemble everything you’re going to need.

  • paint stripper
  • turpentine
  • a flat edge scraper (something like an old spatula or spreading tool)
  • Paintbrush
  • Empty paint can
  • Old rags
  • Sand paper
  • Swiffer pads
  • Your favorite paint
  • rubber gloves (the heaviest duty you can find)
  • Long sleeves and pants you don’t mind destroying
  • Eye protection

Step two:  Remove hardware and move the dresser to a well ventilated area

Keep the hardware all together with screws etc. so nothing gets lost in this process (it’ll be a few days before you can put it back on)

Ideally you want to do this outside.  Stripping chemicals smell to HIGH HEAVEN and you don’t want to breathe those fumes for any longer than you have to.  If you care at all about the surface you’re stripping on, be sure to use protective covering on the ground….this gets MESSY

Conveniently for me, my porch already looks like c-rap cause my landlord won’t fix it (COME ON MR BRIANSKI!!!!) so I felt confident I could get away with just a few pizza boxes underneath…you should probably use something bigger.

Step three: Put on your safety gear

These chemicals are Nasty (capital N) and you do not want their carcinogenic, smelly, and corrosive selves getting onto you.  The stripper will literally eat through paint and it will also literally eat through your jeans.  Cover up!!! AND all this protective equipment is a good second use for those chemistry goggles from college you never threw away!

Step four: Cue the Marvin Gaye and start stripping!!!

Lay the furniture piece horizontally with the first side you’re going to strip facing up.  Spread a thick layer of stripper on with the old paintbrush.   This is not the time to be stingy, put on as much stripper as you think is enough, and then add some more. It’s best to do this in an area less than 3’x3′ so the fumes stay at a minimum, but if you’re outside or wearing a charcoal filter mask you can get away with a little more surface area at a time.  Let the stripper sit on the furniture for at least 20 minutes.  Don’t touch it, don’t look at it, don’t think about it.  Go inside and have yourself a nice glass ‘o lemonade.  When you come back out, like magic, the paint should be blistering up

Use the scraper or old spatula to *gently* remove the paint.  It should slide off very easily.  If not, apply more stripper and wait longer.  The edges of the spatula can easily cause scratches to the softened wood, so be careful not to press too hard.

Collect the paint/stripper sludge in the empty paint can, then continue to the next section, repeating until the whole piece is stripped of paint.

Step five: Turpentine!

Most strippers leave behind a waxy residue you may not immediately notice that will stop the new paint from clinging to the wood.  To get rid of the residue, apply some turpentine to a clean old rag, and gently wipe down the freshly stripped piece.  The turpentine will also help to eliminate any small bits of paint left clinging to the wood.  Because you’re removing the waxy build up, switch the section of rag frequently so it is still effective.

Step six: Wait.

Put the piece in a well ventilated area, and allow it to dry COMPLETELY.  This will take at least 24 hours, although leaving it longer never hurt anyone.  Bare wood absorbs water like craaaaazy so be sure where ever you leave it is dry, and the piece won’t get, for example, rained on.

Step seven:  Dispose of the sludge

Fun fact: paint stripper sludge can spontaneously combust

Fo realz.  Set the paint can full of sludge in a *cool* well ventilated area and allow it to dry out completely.  Only once dry, put the lid on the paint can, and then call your local waste disposal to find out how to dispose of it properly (you can’t just throw it out with your regular trash).

Step eight: Sand

To get this beauty in tip top shape before painting, sand her down to get rid of any last remaining paint, and any ridges that may have been caused by your spatula scraping.   While you’re at it, go ahead and give her a name.  You two have spent a lot of time together, and now you’ve seen her naked.  It’s only fair.

Step nine: Wipe off the dust

Use a swiffer pad to gently wipe all the dust off the newly sanded piece so the paint can stick properly.  Do this a few times, you’ll be surprised how much comes off

Step 10:  Paint!!!

After all this work you’re finally ready to finish!  Apply your favorite paint all over, re-attach the hardware, and voila! A brand new dresser!!

Final Product

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