Transforming Furniture:
A Guide to Stripping

Reviving old furniture through stripping and refinishing is a rewarding DIY project that can breathe new life into tired pieces. Whether you're restoring a family heirloom or giving a thrift store find a second chance, proper stripping techniques are essential for achieving stunning results. 

A Guide to Stripping and Refinishing

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of stripping furniture to prepare it for refinishing, helping you unlock its full potential.

Assess the Piece:

Before diving into the stripping process, carefully assess the furniture piece. Consider its construction, condition, and any previous finishes or coatings. This evaluation will help you determine the best approach for stripping and refinishing.

Gather Your Supplies:

Equip yourself with the necessary supplies for the job, including chemical stripper, paint stripper brushes or scrapers, gloves, safety goggles, respirator mask, drop cloths (we recommend Zibra’s Speed Drop), and containers for disposal. Ensure proper ventilation in your workspace to safely handle chemical products.

Prepare the Workspace:

Set up your workspace in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors or in a garage with open doors and windows. Lay down drop cloths to protect surfaces from drips and spills. Arrange your supplies within easy reach for efficient stripping.

Apply the Chemical Stripper:

Following the manufacturer's instructions, apply the chemical stripper to the furniture surface using a brush or scraper. Work in manageable sections, applying a generous layer of stripper evenly over the wood. Allow the stripper to penetrate and loosen the old finish according to the recommended dwell time.

Scrape Off the Old Finish:

Once the dwell time has elapsed, use a paint scraper or stripping brush to remove the softened finish from the wood surface. Work in the direction of the wood grain, taking care not to gouge or damage the underlying wood. Repeat the stripping process as needed until all traces of the old finish are removed.

Cleanse and Neutralize:

After stripping, thoroughly clean the furniture surface to remove any residual stripper and residue. Use mineral spirits or a recommended solvent to clean the wood and neutralize the stripping chemicals. Allow the wood to dry completely before proceeding to the refinishing stage.

Sand and Smooth:

With the old finish removed, sand the furniture surface to smooth out imperfections and prepare it for refinishing. Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining traces of finish or uneven patches. Gradually progress to finer-grit sandpaper for a smooth, uniform surface.

Apply the New Finish:

Once the wood is smooth and prepped, it's ready for refinishing! Choose a stain or paint that complements your desired aesthetic and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Whether staining, painting, or applying a clear finish, use quality brushes like Zibra brushes for precise application and professional results. Furniture refinishers love the Zibra Furniture Paintbrush Kit, the Round Paintbrush, and the Palm Pro!

Stripping and refinishing furniture is a labor of love that can breathe new life into old pieces and unleash their full potential. By following these steps and using proper techniques and tools, you can transform tired furniture into cherished treasures that will be enjoyed for years to come. Happy refinishing!

Don’t Forget to Clean Your Brushes!

After painting, clean your brushes with soap, water, and the Zibra Paintbrush Cleaning Tool to remove any paint residue. Proper maintenance ensures your brushes remain in top condition for future projects.

And don’t forget to share your projects with us on social media, using @zibrapainting and inspire others on their painting journey! Want more tips and tricks? Sign up for our mailing list. Happy refinishing!


Great for detail work
Furniture Paintbrush Kit - 4 Piece
Great for detail work
Paintbrush Cleaning Tool

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