I like most all types of DIY projects, but there is one that I usually procrastinate…like…for years. You guessed it. I don’t LOVE to strip furniture When I stop putting it off and finally get around to the task. however, I kick myself for not tackling it sooner. Case in point… My Mid Century Dresser
This MCM dresser has seen better days for sure. Truthfully, I don’t think I would mind if it had it’s original finish and a natural patina, but someone, at some point, (before I picked it up off of craigslist) had attempted a revarnish job… poorly. See pics below?.
Yuck, eh? It was time to stop procrastinating and get to work on this project. Stat!
- Citristrip (spray or paint on version)
- Drop cloth
- Ventalation Mask
- Rubber chemical safe gloves
- Plastic paint scraper
- Stiff bristle brush
- Sand paper of various grits
- Saran Wrap (optional)
I have done a similar tutorial on a different Mid Century Dresser. In this first tutorial I painted on the Citristrip and then covered it in Saran Wrap. This was an excellent technique, and one I would certainly use again if I have a particularly hearty varnish to remove. This time, however, I thought I would try my luck with eliminating that step. See how it went.
Step 1: Empty drawers, remove hardware, and lay drop cloth. Get ready to ROCK it! (note: this stuff will strip your floors and walls too if splattered. Ensure that your workspace is well protected).
Step 2: Paint on a thick coat of Citristrip.
Step 3: Wait about 5 minutes (don’t let it dry). Test a sample area. If it doesn’t look like the finish is going to budget, lightly recoat and cover in Saran Wrap. Test periodically to see when the finish will strip off easily. You can see below that mine finish reacted within the first couple of minutes and I knew the stain would come right up…with a little elbow greese that is.
Step 4: Use a plastic paint scraper to gently remove the gunk. You may need to use a stiff bristle brush or tooth brush to get inside any crevasses. It should scrape off in big nasty globs of slime. After the junk built up I immediately flicked it off into a plastic bag. Once the worst of it is removed use a paper towel to wipe off the remainder. Then use a warm soapy paper towel to wipe off the rest.
If the last step didn’t get your piece as light as you would like you may need to repeat the process, but this time use your stiff bristle brush (or toothbrush if nothing else) to really work out the stain. Note: If you are going to repaint the piece you don’t need to worry as much about each of the drawers having matching wood tone. If you plan to leave it raw, however, pay attention to this detail.
After the stain has been removed remember to let your piece of furniture rest (dry) for a good 24-48 hours before attempting to paint or refinish it. It will continue to lighten as it dries.
To be honest, I’m not certain yet what this piece wants to be when it grows up, but for now I’m smitten by it’s natural wood tone color. Who knows, it may stay like this for a long time…like…for years ☺️.