Stripping Your Cabinets – It Can Be Done Yourself


Stripping paint to refinish the cabinets in your kitchen can be a lot of work, but oftentimes, it is time well spent. Before you apply that first coat of paint stripper, take a few minutes to read through the tips below and you will reduce the time and effort that goes into this big project.

Purchase the Right Materials

Before you begin, make sure that you have everything you will need to get the job done right the first time around. These materials include:

  • High-quality paint stripper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Fine steel wool
  • Stiff-bristled tooth brush
  • Hemp string
  • Plastic scraping tool (putty knife)
  • Garbage bags
  • Tarps or drop cloths
  • Screwdriver
  • Slow cooker

Remove the Hardware

The first step is to remove all of the hardware and cabinet doors. Removing the hardware will make things a lot easier for you because you won't have those small crevices to try to remove the paint from.

If the hardware has been painted, put them in a slow cooker and turn it on high heat. Let them "cook" for a day or two while you work to complete the refinishing project. When you remove them, the paint will peel off of them easily and then you just need to give them a quick buff to shine them up.

Protect the Area

Lay tarps or drop cloths on the floor and countertops around the area in which you will be working. This project may take a few days to complete, so you may want to tape the coverings in place to prevent them from sliding out of position and exposing the floor.

Apply the Stripper

Now, apply a generous coat of the paint stripper to every nook and cranny on the cabinets. Work in small sections and cover each area with plastic wrap after the stripper is applied. This will help the stripper to stay where it needs to be and allow it to work its magic without drying prematurely.

Give the stripper a day or so to work before you return to complete the project.

Begin the Removal

Working in small sections, remove the plastic wrap and use the scraping tool to scrape the paint off of the wood. The paint should come off very easily at this point. If it doesn't recover it with the plastic wrap and let it sit a while longer.

Small grooves and crannies can be difficult to get to. Use the tooth brush in these areas. For rounded details, use the hemp rope to work the paint out of the cracks using the same technique you would use flossing your teeth.

Finish the area by going over it with the fine steel wool. This will remove any remaining paint and leave you with a beautifully smooth finish.

After everything is stripped, clean it with a gentle cleaner and hot water and rinse it well. Allow it to fully dry before you apply paint or stain.

If you aren't confident in your ability to strip your own cabinetry, talk with a local stripping professional to learn about hiring them to do it for you, or contact a company like Dip 'N Strip.


18 February 2016

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