I really didn’ t think that I would be un-cycling a piece of furniture but here we are. I often get asked how do you remove chalk paint to get it back to the wood grain and this was the perfect project to share how to do that.
Ercol Mid Century furniture is hands down my favourite. I love their angler shapes, soft covered edges and distinct coolness.
Not a fan of chalky style paint anymore, for a good number of years now. Thousands of amazing furniture artists that use chalk paint, but I just really, really don’t like it. I don’t like the thickness of the paint and that you can see the paint strokes. I don’t like anything textured and I absolutely don’t like wax, I don’t like the look of it, feel of it and how it’s really hard to clean and live with. (sorry if you’re a chalky paint person)
I do really appreciate the artistic element that it has introduced to the furniture painter/up-cycler world but that’s the end if my admiration for it.
So I have this child’s Ercol rocking chair for years. Always meaning to strip it back but it was in my pile of to-do’s I didn’t get to. I was excited to get this one out of my pile.
- Sandpapers in 80 grit, 120 grit, 150 grit and 240 grit
- Eco Paint Stripper HERE
- Stainless steel ball
- Methylated spirits and a rag
- Tack cloth
- Sandolin Stainable Wood Filler : Crown Decorating Centre
- Danish Oil
Removing Chalk Paint
One of the other problems I find with chalk paint is that it’s really hard to paint back over, as when you wax it, it acts like a barrier and impossible for another paint to stick correctly. The wax layer needs to be removed. Sanding it can really clog the sandpaper quickly, so the only other option it to strip if off to remove it. It is definitely my least favourite job, but worth it for Ercol.
Step One: Scraping off old paint
Scrape off the dried paint with a scraper. (This won’t be the case for every piece that’s painted in chalk paint.) Even though there is wax over this finish its coming off easier in some parts and not in others.
Step Two: Stripping back the paint
Once the flaky areas are removed, sand back the other areas roughly, this is just to help the paint stripper to get into those abrasions and work better. I applied the stripper with a brush, thickly and in circular motion, again to really work the stripper in and get the best results.
Leave this for about 10 minutes to do its work. If you are leaving the stripper on longer, they recommend to cover it in plastic sheeting to prevent the stripper from drying out.
With a scraper, scrap off as much paint as you can and have newspaper handy to remove the old paint.
With a stainless steel ball, remove the last bits of paint, this is great for getting into areas like on the spools that the paint scraper can’t reach.
With a cloth and methylated spirits, wipe again the last residue, this will make the sanding job easier.
Sanding: With a 120 Grit sandpaper and orbital sander, I sanded all the flat areas in the grain of the wood. I don’t use an electrical sander on the spools as I don’t want to risk damaging them so for those areas I hand sanded.
I started with a 120 grit worked up to a 150 grit to remove the last bit of paint around the spools and hard to reach areas and then I went in with a 240 grit sandpaper and smoothed the wood out section by section.
A little bit if wood glue to pop the handles back into position, and left them dry overnight. I also repaired a crack that was on the wood from a wood knot on the leg just to make sure it wouldn’t weaken over time. Leave to dry and then with a 240 grit sandpaper, sanded it back flush with the wood.
With a clean cloth I rubbed in the first layer of Danish Oil.
Work area by area and used another cloth to buff off the extra Danish oil. Leave to fully dry and them I worked in three coats of Danish Oil.
Love how the finish worked out.
If you are wanting to paint a piece you have stripped back and are wondering about sanding this blog post may be useful: SANDING