How to remove paint from Bakelite

Written by joshua black | 13/05/2017
How to remove paint from Bakelite
Restore your Bakelite collectibles. (ziquiu/iStock/Getty Images)

Bakelite was a common material used for creating sturdy household goods (including telephones) and jewellery in the early 1900s. If you are trying to remove paint and restore a sturdy Bakelite object to its original form, you can accomplish this using heavy-duty paint stripper. Bakelite is a very durable material and its properties allow it to withstand exposure to harsh chemicals. This process should only be used on sturdy objects.

Fill the metal bucket with paint stripper approximately the depth of the object laying flat.

Soak the object in the paint stripper a few hours, or until the paint begins to peel off easily in small sheets.

Remove the paint. Using a putty knife, gently scrape off the paint. Remove any hard-to-reach areas with a coarse brush.

Wipe off the excess paint stripper with a rag. Allow the Bakelite object to dry overnight.

Restore the Bakelite object to its original lustre by polishing it with a rag dipped in shoe polish the colour of your object.


This method is to be used for larger, sturdy items. This process could damage small jewellery pieces, so you'll want to test a small piece of the item before dipping the entire thing in paint stripper.


Make sure that you use the paint stripper in a well-ventilated and wear eye protection. The fumes can be very toxic.

Things you need

  • Paint stripper
  • Metal bucket
  • Shoe polish the colour of your Bakelite
  • Cloth rags
  • Putty knife
  • Coarse brush

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