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How to Strip Furniture

Learn how to strip furniture in just a few easy steps. This is my go-to tried and true method for stripping any piece of furniture with a full tutorial and supply list for your next project!

Regardless of whether you want to strip a piece of furniture down to its natural tone or you change the stain color, you will likely need to strip the varnish off. So, if your next project involves removing varnish, this post is for you! I will teach you how to remove the varnish and prep your piece for a new coat of stain.

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We purchased this furniture set for our wedding almost 9 years ago. It was long enough ago that you purchased a complete set and it was very matchy matchy. It was also long enough ago that the incredibly dark wood tones were trendy, not so much anymore! Currently, I prefer a more medium toned finish.

This piece is from Pottery Barn. It is incredibly heavy and seemingly well made. However, it does have a layer of veneer which makes the sanding portion a little more challenging. With veneer you have to be careful not to sand too far because you’ll break through the veneer and your only option from there is to remove it completely. A real nightmare if you’re not careful!



Supplies to Strip Furniture

I have all items listed below linked HERE!

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  • furniture stripper
  • paint brush
  • scraping tool
  • refinishing cleaner
  • fine steel wool
  • rag
  • orbital sander
  • sandpaper
  • tack cloths
  • bleach kit (optional)
  • stain of choice (I prefer this brand)
  • Stain pad, brush or rag
  • Top coat to seal

How to Strip Furniture

  • Apply stripping agent

You’ll want to apply using a paint brush and apply it nice and thick on your furniture piece. You want it thick enough that it will not dry out immediately.

  • Allow agent to work for 30 mins at a minimum

You will want to check in every so often to make sure the stripping agent is not drying out. Once to varnish starts to bubble or ripple you are ready to start scraping. You can leave to agent on for up to 24 hours, keeping it wet by covering with plastic wrap.

  • Scrape off stripping agent

This is my favorite part of the project. Warning, it can get messy if you scrape too early. So be patient and watch for those bubbles to form.

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  • Remove any residue by spraying Refinishing Cleaner
  • Scrub Cleaner with Fine Steel Wool

Be generous with the cleaner and use a very fine steel wool. You will scratch the wood grain if the wool is too coarse.

  • Wipe Dry with a rag
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  • Sand piece down, start w/ a low grit like an 80 and work up to 320 for a smooth finish
  • Wipe clean w/ a tack cloth
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  • Apply Wood Bleach (optional for an even wood tone)

  • Add stain color of choice
  • Seal with a top coat (I prefer a Matte finish)
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Shop for supplies to strip furniture here:

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More DIY Tips

Did you try this? Tag me on social and let me know how it went! @fraicheandco

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