How to get chalk paint off

So remember that table that you love so much until you see the paint start to peel off? Well, chalk paint has a really good tendency of doing that after some time especially if it was not done right the first time. So I am guessing you are here because you want to find a way to remove the whole chalk paint on that table without distorting or deforming the table? 

Well, here I am. Today I am going to show you the best way to remove chalk paint from any furniture piece. In the end your furniture piece will look completely different and worth the look. Afterward, people might even think you got yourself a new piece but do not worry. It will be a secret between the two of us. So let us get started and see where this whole idea will take us.

Here is what you will need to complete this task:

  • White spirit or Mineral spirits
  • A sander and sandpaper
  • Gloves
  • Oil coat
  • Water
  • Steel wool and a scrub
  • A mutton cloth
  • Wax
  • Paint brush
  • Floor covers
  • Sunlight and heat

Make sure you are working in a safe environment.

Stage 1: Remove the wax

So we all know that after something has been chalk painted they normally use wax so that it looks less distressed but still keeps the matte finish style. Here you can use the white spirit or some mineral spirits to remove the wax. Scrub the wood with a hard scrub or a rough cloth that is wet from some spirit. 

While doing this you will probably notice some wax start to ball up either on the wood or on the cloth. Continue to do this until you can feel that you are starting to rub on the wood. When you are done, test and see if all the was has been removed. You will probably notice this as you continually scrub as there will be no more wax balling up. 

Stage 2: Scrub with water and a sponge 

Now as we all know most chalk paint is water-based. So you can at this point find yourself that hard sponge and water in a bucket and start scrubbing the paint off. This will take some time but bear with it. It will make things much easier. If you want a trick that will make it easier for you.

Drape some water on the wood and wait a while till it softens then scrub with the sponge. At first, it may be reluctant to come off but it will eventually start dissolving and it will be easier to remove. So scrub down the whole piece until you start to notice the color coming out and you start to see some wood. 

Now make sure that you keep cleaning the sponge and rinsing it with clean water or you will start repainting the piece again. Now when most of the paint has been removed you will find some paint that will be stuck on the wood grains and that is what we want to work on next. 

Stage 3: Remove grain stains

Now here you are going to need that steel wool, dip it in water a bit and scrub the furniture piece until the stains start to rub off. It may again be hard but trust me, once you get the hand of it, it will all seem easy peasy. 

So take your steel wool, moisten it a bit and start scrubbing where the grains have paint stains. Make sure you get every stain out from there and leave your wood piece completely stainless. Now when you are scrubbing down your piece and you are sure that you have removed every possible stain in the grains, do a quick rinse out in the piece and quickly dry it out with a mutton cloth so that the water doesn’t soak in. 

Afterward, let the piece dry out completely before moving on to the next stage. Also not that as wood is quite weak when wet its best to make sure you do this when there is a lot of sunshine to avoid situations where the wood becomes permanently moist and weakens down. So now we move to stage 4.

Stage 4: Sanding down

Here you will require sandpaper and a sander. So what you are simply going to be doing here is sanding down the whole piece to remove any unwanted stains that might have been too tough for the steel wool. So get your sander and sand down all the flat areas. 

You could do targets but that would make the wood look unperfect and unnatural so just make sure you sand down the whole area with a sander and be sure to sand it down in the direction of the grains to avoid deforming it. 

When you are done, check on the areas of the curve and well-hidden joints that are harder to deal with using a sander, and at this point, you may as well use your sandpaper to remove the unwanted stains.

Stage 5: Final Cleansing

So this is the final stage and I am sure you are excited. After sanding it down just dust it off and wipe off and residue and apply your oil coat. It is best to use three layers of coating each 4 to 6 hours apart to allow each coat to dry off. When you are done applying your coat you may choose to apply a scented wax to make the whole piece a tad bit brighter and less worn out from all the scrubbing and sanding. 

Well, there you have it, that’s how you take off any chalk paint from a piece of furniture. I hope this helped you and gave you the best results you could have hoped for. If you did it correctly I am certain that you are looking a what seems to be a new piece of furniture isn’t that right. So congratulations on your job and well done as well. 

See how it’s done

If you are working on a specific type of furniture, this post may help: How to chalk paint a dresser.

Elissa Smith
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