Highboy and Stripping Tutorial

Does the title of the blog sound a little scandalous? Sadly, this process was anything but glamorous. It was a lot of hard work. To be honest I wanted to make whoever painted this dresser come and help me take off all the paint. Now I’m going to try not to whine a lot. This was my first furniture stripping project and it was exhausting! However, there was a lot of really thick paint.


When we bought this at a garage sale months ago, I just liked the size and the subtle details. After it sat in our garage for a few months, I realized I didn’t know how to get the paint off. I usually buy pieces that I can just paint. But the black paint and bright stripes and splatters would not work with that technique this time.
I read Miss Mustard Seed’s tutorial about furniture stripping and decided this was what I needed to do. So I went to Home Depot and bought Citristrip, a mask, thick nitrile gloves, a paint can, and steel wool. Funny note- when I just jumped over to her blog to grab the link I realize one of her recommendations would have made my life easier- only needing to strip a large, flat surface (i.e. no drawers).

The stripper is a powerful chemical so I poured some into my empty can and I started by globbing the paint on with a chip brush (with my gloves and mask on) and let it sit for about half an hour per the instructions.



At this point I started scraping it off with a putty knife. This was working, so I kept on going. The great thing about Citristrip is that it doesn’t reek and it stays moist for up to 24 hours! So in some areas where there was a lot of paint and it was more difficult to scrape off I left it on for several hours so that it was easier to come off.

However, this process was tedious. I mean, there was black paint and bright stripes and splatters all over.  A few times I dabbed more Citristrip on. The red stripes were the most stubborn. It took me a long time to get enough off so that I could paint over. And even then it was sticky, bumpy, and a little discolored. Mineral Spirits helped a little to get some gunk off, but eventually I had to sand. I was able to make it a lot better with a sanding block, but the top was still a mess. So, enter my lifesaver, the orbital! I sanded the top of the dresser with the orbital to make it smooth.

I was never so happy to start painting. Especially because my client wanted AS Duck Egg with the dark glaze. One coat all over and the paint was done. This was followed by the typical glaze procedure: wax, distress, glaze, wax. And of course, the hardware was spray painted ORB.

Talk about a great before and after! What a difference! She looks great now!!


Now, I will say honestly that this project was long and a little frustrating at times. But don’t let this discourage you from stripping! I will definitely do it again, but I will try to be more judicious with my furniture choice.

Have you stripped furniture before? How did it go? Any tips for me?


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