Most of our refinishing takes place inside of our house. Due to that fact, I have specifically hunted out products to use that are non-toxic and/or low odor.
We do it for this baby!
And this one!
After seeing it on a milk paint site, we recently bought and tried a paint stripper called Soy Gel! You can read more about Soy Gel here. The main selling point to me is that it is made from soybeans and has very little odor. The odor it does have is a sweet, nutty smell so it is optimal for indoor use. As long as you follow the directions on the bottle I think you will be very pleased with the results of this product.
My mom and I both used Soy Gel for three different dresser tops and covered all possible exposure times: on too short, to0 long, and just right!
Let’s start with too short of an exposure time. When the bottle says put the product on and let it sit a while, they mean it. The product needs time to work. For our dresser my husband only left it on for probably 15 minutes and then had to do a second coat. Ahh, I hate waste! Either way, 2 coats of gel and the coating was successfully removed. In the few places where we had a little residual stickiness, we used a palm sander and got it right off. Since I had it out I gave the whole top a quick sand.
|Check out the difference between the original finish and the stripped top!|
Now for too long of an exposure time. My mom placed the Soy Gel on the top of one of her dressers (she was doing a set) and then “bring, bring”. Telephone rang! She had to run out because of a family emergency. Needless to say the Soy Gel sat on there for hours. In this case it started drying which if you can guess means the surface coat she was trying to remove started drying back up too. After scraping the original coat of gel she had to reapply a second. The second coat also ended in success!
|1st go ’round|
|2nd go ’round reveals a lovely driftwood/barnwood-esque look!|
That brings us to just right! If you follow the directions and keep checking to see if the coats of paint, or sealant are soft enough to scrape off then you will be able to take the gel off when it is just right. In her case she left it on several hours and when she scraped it off SUCCESS! A beautiful down to the wood, raw finish.
|Sigh, so pretty!|
Just so you know, I told my mom she had better not restain the tops of these pieces! 😉 People pay good money and/or spend a ton of time and energy to replicate a wood finish like this! Guess what?! For now, she listened!
Big step up from this!
Now on to staining!
If you are looking to stain the wood after you have finished stripping it I would recommend using Minwax Express Color wiping stain and finish. It is water based (so low odor and easy cleanup…yay!) and available in 8 colors. We used one of the wood finish colors, Walnut, for this project but I am excited to try one of the contemporary color finishes, specifically the green one, Emerald! Wipe it on, let it dry and you’re done! I chose to put a coat of clear wax on top but it didn’t seem to change the appearance or texture of the finish so it probably wasn’t necessary. Minwax Express Color was very easy to use and I think it turned out beautifully!!
|stain with original finish|
|stain with custom tinted Annie Sloan Chalk Paint finish|
I would use, and plan on using both products again!
Have you used either product? If you have, let us know what you thought.