Condo Blues: How to Strip Paint the Non Toxic Way

Sunday, June 7, 2020

How to Strip Paint the Non Toxic Way

I have a love – hate relationship with spray paint. I love that spray paint will cover almost every surface (if you use the right formula) and easily paint hard to paint areas like indentations and intricate moulding. I hate that many of my spray paint projects en up with paint bubbles and drips.

how to strip paint from wood
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The best way to avoid spray paint bubbles and dripping paint is to hold the can further away from object you are painting and use several light and even coats of spray paint rather than blasting a thick coat of spray paint from close up. Using a spray paint handle (you can find several types of spray paint trigger handles here) will help you paint with even coats of paint and not kill your fingers from pressing the can’s spray nozzle. 

Spray paint bubbles are also caused by painting a second coat of paint on an object when the first coat is not completely dry. I know this because 9 times out of 10 I get spray paint bubbles because I thought my last coat of paint was dry after 24 hours and it was not. The joys of living in a humid area!


2 Ways to Repair Spray Paint Bubbles and Drips


There is an easy way and a hard way to remove spray paint bubbles and drips:


  • The Harder Way is to use paint stripper to completely strip the paint from the object, sand the object if applicable, wipe the debris away with a tack cloth, and repaint.


Unfortunately my mirror has a lot of spray paint bubbling and dripping in areas that are difficult to sand completely even with a flexible sanding sponge like this one. I went with the nuclear option and stripped the paint.


how to fix spray paint bubbles and drips

 I am not proud of this

How to Strip Paint from Wood the Non Toxic Way


There are a few things you need to think about before you grab just any ol’ bottle of paint stripper off of a store shelf. First, you have to read the label to make sure it is a formula that will work on your project’s surface  and what you want to strip from it such as paint, varnish, stain, etc. because not all chemical strippers are interchangeable.

Many old school fast acting paint strippers contain methylene chloride, which has harsh fumes and is high in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which demand you work in an extremely well ventilated area. I’m not a fan of VOCs and I’ll be working in my not as well ventilated as I’d like garage on this project. Fortunately there are now some “safer” paint strippers available that are low in VOCs with an easier disposable and clean up. This is the type of paint stripper I used.


You will need:


Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

 Cheap paint brush – The paint stripper will probably damage the brush during the project so this is the one case when you should cheap out on your paintbrush. I used a chip brush that looks like this.

 Plastic paint scraper – a metal paint scraper may accidently gouge the surface

 Safety goggles

 Gloves – I buy disposable work glove by the box here

 Glass container to use as a paint tray – I cleaned a small wide mouth jar from the recycling bin

 Covering for your work surface  

Step by Step How to Do this Project


1. I can’t remove the mirror from the frame. I used painters tape and Kraft paper that came as packing in an online order to cover and protect the mirror.


2. Wearing your safety gear and working on a covered surface and in a well ventilated area, pour some of the Citristrip into your separate container. We will use this as a paint tray of sorts and it will keep your paintbrush from contaminating the rest of the container of paint stripper when you dip it in the stripper to paint it on your project.


3. Use the paint brush to apply a thick and liberal coat of paint stripper to your project and wait the required amount of time for it to loosen the paint.


how to strip paint from wood
Scraping time!

4. Use the plastic paint scraper to scrap the loose layer( s) of paint from the wood.

 5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 if needed to remove all the layers of paint from your surface.


how to paint a bathroom mirror
As you can see, I didn’t remove every single bit of paint from my mirror because I planned on priming it and repainting it. If It were something that I planned on staining, I’d strip every last bit of paint from the frame.


For good measure, I sanded the mirror with a  220 grit sanding sponge to give the primer something to stick to and primed it with my all time, coats everything favorite low VOC primer Kilz. I’m not brand loyal to many things, but one of those things is Kilz.


I painted the mirror with two coats of chalk paint with a foam brush to give the mirror the matte black finish I wanted. 

Bathroom mirror makeover

 Now the big question. Should I replace the bathroom light, paint it black, or leave it alone? I’m not sure. Give me your opinions in the comments below!

If you are looking for more creative ideas, check out the following options – and more! – below!


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1 comment :

Life Diet Health said...

Thanks for sharing these tips at Fiesta Friday - what a great job you have done! Personally I like a ceiling light in the bathroom so I would swap the light for somethng else (& probably move the mirror up a bit and make it level with the shelves)! Your house, your decision though!

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