You can speed up any refinishing project by using paint stripper. Although chemical paint strippers available at hardware and home-improvement centres work well, they are noxious and potentially hazardous. Fortunately, you can make your own paint stripper that is safe and will work as well as a chemical product. Everything you need for this homemade paste you'll find at the grocery store.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Washing soda
- Paint scraper
- Stiff-bristled brush
Dissolve 230 g (1 scant cup) of washing soda in 237 ml (1 cup) of cold water.
Measure 83 g (2/3 cup) of flour into a glass or plastic container. Don't use an aluminium container -- washing soda will corrode aluminium. Gradually add enough warm water to make a thick paste. Add the washing soda mixture and mix thoroughly.
Place the item you plan to refinish on a tarpaulin outdoors. Spread a 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) thick coat of fresh paint stripper on the item with an old paintbrush.
Allow the paint stripper to soak into the finish for 20 minutes or longer, until the paint or varnish scrapes off easily.
Rinse off the paint stripper with a hose, scrubbing the wood with a stiff-bristled brush as you rinse. The paint or varnish will come off with the paint stripper.
Wipe the wood with a damp towel to remove any residue from the surface.
Tips and warnings
- You might still need to sand the wood before refinishing it. The wood should be completely bare, smooth and dry before you apply paint or stain.
- Don't use washing soda on oak. The soda will blacken the wood.
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