How to Strip Paint the Quick and Easy Way!

Removing paint can be a chore

You’ve probably Googled “How to Strip Paint” a number of times, if you are like me, and tried a gazillion ways to remove paint from furniture. This quick and easy tip is bound to have you trying this out next time. Here’s How to Strip Paint the quick and easy way.

I’d like to introduce you to one of my loyal Facebook followers. Elisabeth is an avid DIYer and often pops up on the same DIY Facebook groups I’m a part of with lots of great tips and advice.

When I saw this tip along with Elisabeth’s pictures of her first time trying it, I knew there’d be more of you out there who would benefit from this very easy DIY trick!

Guest Post – by Elisabeth Crowe

CONTEMPLATING BECOMING A STRIPPER? … A paint stripper, of course!

I know some paints don’t require you to strip the existing layers, but here’s a handy hint – just in case.

If you’re struggling to remove decades-old layers of paint or varnish, and the fear of spending hours or days, doing a work out with your abrasives, is really putting you off – fear not! This little trick of how to strip paint, may be just the thing to put a smile on your face!

I’ve been stripping two old doors from my childhood home. The house was built in the 1920s, so there was about 85 years of paint and varnish on them. It’s been hard slog, I must say, until I recalled this handy hint on how to strip paint. I’d glimpsed it once in a photo but have never heard anyone talk about it, or recommend it, but I thought I’d give it a go.

This is easy to do, doesn’t require fancy equipment, and gives excellent results!!

Let’s take a look at the original condition of the doors, complete with wallpaper within the panels:

Here’s the first door I worked on, BEFORE I remembered the easy stripping method I’m about to show you (below). And this is after the FIFTH coat of stripper! Took me D-A-Y-S!


Here’s my Step by Step on How to Strip Paint:

  • Gloves and apron on! Add a mask if you’re using a stripper that smells nasty.
  • Take your preferred paint stripper and slather it onto your piece of furniture. I used one of the ordinary sort, which may have been Diggers brand (?), and this worked brilliantly! You could try the more environmentally friendly strippers (eg. Citristrip).
  • Be generous and put a good thick layer onto your item.
  • Get your good old plastic wrap – yes lunch wrap/Glad Wrap or the equivalent – and lay this down over the stripper, extending a small way past the ends of the piece.
  • Lightly press this down all over the paint stripper, trying to remove as much air as possible. Continue to apply the plastic, slightly overlapping at the edges.003 (2)001 (2)
  • Then, step away from the furniture! Yes, just walk away (maybe go for a drive and collect freebies off council strips – just a thought), and stay away for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Ready for the Magic?

  • Return to your project and slowly peel back the first piece of plastic. I found it’s easier to peel back sections, and scrape it off as I went, rather than peel it all off and have to hurry. A lot of the layers of paint will simply peel off with the plastic.
  • What’s left can be easily removed with a gentle scraping.

  • I then wiped any residue off with scrunched up newspaper, until all the stripper was gone.
Glad wrap over stripper

Peeling back the plastic wrap.

  • Here I’ve peeled back the wrap. You can see a lot of the paint has lifted off with the wrap. Then I’ve scraped the paint back – right back to the original 1920s varnish. It really wasn’t at all difficult to remove, and only took 20 minutes, including the detailed work on the moulding.
006 (2)

See the bottom has been gently scraped off.

  • If needed, repeat the process.
  • My door took two goes, and it was so easy to remove. Quite pleasant actually – I never thought I’d say that!


The Bonuses:

  1. I didn’t damage any of the moulding on the door doing it this way. The previous door that I had stripped without using the plastic wrap – only stripper and scraper – was pretty damaged.
  2. It also took far less coats of stripper than the previous door. After numerous coats and scraping on the first door, the paint still wasn’t removed anywhere near as well as my new-found method, using Glad Wrap.
  3. I didn’t have to sand very much at all using this method. I just gave a gentle sand with 220 grit, and the door is beautifully smooth.

Left: without cling-wrap; Right: using cling-wrap

The finished item is on the right. You can see that, even though the whole process was so incredibly easier, and time efficient, the result is also much better. With the first door I actually damaged some of the moulding, trying to remove the built up paint. None of the better door is damaged at all. Far too easy!

Hope you find this useful!



I’d like to thank Elisabeth for passing on this valuable tip on how to strip paint, and I hope you find it “share-worthy”. Please feel free to Pin and share to those who ask you how to strip paint. Here’s a pinnable pic for you to share:

How to Strip Paint the quick and easy way

We are authorised retailers for Fusion Mineral Paint and Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Australia. This blog post may contain affiliate links.

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  • Reply
    January 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks for the tip!! How wonderful to restore these old doors!

  • Reply
    Brooke McAvoy
    July 5, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Thank you very much, your pictures were actually really helpful to me. When you have something that to your knowledge has always been covered in paint, it can be difficult to imagine what it would look like without it. I have a similar project in mind, and your pictures helped me to visualize an end result better, do you have any tips or information on getting a professional paint stripper to do this?

  • Reply
    October 8, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Thank you so very much for posting this way easy way of removing old paint. I’ve been fighting with this antique table for sometime now. Then I came across this site. I tried and the paint just peeled off with ease.


    • Reply
      October 9, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      That’s great, Marty. Thanks for taking the time to comment. So glad it worked well for you too.

  • Reply
    December 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Sounds like this works great on wooden surfaces. I have a question though. What about masonite paneling, does paint stripper cause damage to that?

    • Reply
      January 2, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Steve, I haven’t used this stripper on masonite paneling, so you’d have to refer to the product website to ask specific questions about application for the particular stripper that you are wanting to use.

  • Reply
    January 26, 2018 at 3:06 am

    This looks wonderful. I have a half stripped door that I am going to try this on. Spent way too much time the first time around:) What kind of stripper did you use?

    • Reply
      January 26, 2018 at 9:15 am

      I’m not sure what Elizabeth used on this door, but I use Citristrip as it doesn’t have as much of an odour.

  • Reply
    Lisabeth Morche'
    May 3, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Greetings!! I stumbled upon this site and i’m in the middle of stripping some family heirlooms! I discovered some inlay and it just makes me cry that someone, my Great Aunt, would paint over it! It’s a headboard/ footboard, dresser and a vanity table! I’m going to try your method and I even took a trip to Costco for industrial size cling wrap!
    On my way home from Costco, my husband and I rescued an antique, painted buffet!! That little gem is on my to do list! I wish I could sent photos!!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Oh good on you Lisabeth. How fun for you to be able to restore these pretty things! You can post pictures over on our Facebook group called “I Restore Stuff – You Can too” where we share painting projects and restoration projects we are working on. I’d love you to share your work there!

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