How to remove chalk paint

4 Practical Ways On How To Get Chalk Paint Off Furniture

In Tips by Jamie P.

Chalk paint has taken the furniture painting world by storm, it has gained a lot of popularity over the years. Some people love the chalked look while others can’t stand hiding that wooden finish. No matter what your goal is if you want to remove a small amount of chalk paint or a bundle of it, you have come to the right place.

The easiest way how to get chalk paint off furniture is to apply a paint stripper using a sponge brush and then leave it undisturbed for 20 to 30 minutes. When the chalk paint has bubbled up, remove the loose material with a plastic scraper.

Using a paint stripper is the most common way to remove old chalk paint, but it isn’t the only way. I am going to show you multiple ways you can remove chalk paint from your furniture and step by step for each way.

4 Ways How to Get Chalk Paint Off Furniture

1. Paint Stripper

Paint stripper can be used to remove all sorts of materials on furniture, I have used it on chalk paint, regular paint, various topcoat finishes, and also on materials that I didn’t even know what they were. I have never used it and said “I wish I didn’t use paint stripper” because, for the most part, it removes what I am trying to remove.

When it comes to using paint strippers on chalk paint the process is extremely easy. You want to follow your instructions on the product you have, but typically all go through the same steps.

Stripping Chalk Paint Steps
  1. First, you lather the stripper over the painted surface you want removed.
  2. Next, you wait for the recommended time which is on average 20-30 minutes. You will begin to see the paint bubble up and then you know it wants to come off.
  3. Grab your scraper, plastic or metal, and begin pushing and peeling away the old paint. Before starting I like to test a small area to make sure it’s ready to come off.
  4. Once you fully remove as much stripper and old paint as you can, its time to do some clean-up work. Read the full guide on how to clean wood after stripping paint here. But in quick words, take mineral spirits and fine steel wool, apply the mineral spirits to the surface and use the steel wool to rub all the paint stripper residue off of the product. Go with the wood grain to prevent damaging your piece of furniture from scratches.
  5. Finally, grab a damp lint-free rag and wipe your surface one more time.

If you didn’t remove all of your paint and stripper after using the mineral spirits and steel wool you can apply paint stripper again to remove chalk paint from any difficult areas. Follow these steps again and your chalk paint will be off in no time.

After these steps and your piece is clean you can carry on with your project by lightly sanding for stain or getting ready for a new paint job. No matter your plans you’re free from the old chalk paint!

Tips When Using Paint Stripper

A few helpful tips when using paint stripper, when removing it is ideal to have an old bucket of some sort so you can dump the old paint in. Just remember that bucket will forever be garbage, paint stripper is really sticky and once on the bucket, it’s super hard to remove when it dries.

Also, wear gloves when dealing with paint stripper because the materials can be harmful to your skin. Depending on the product, some are more dangerous than others but please be aware of the potential risks. Furthermore, wear a respirator when dealing with toxic fumes and do your best to work in a well-ventilated area.


2. Sanding

You can choose to fully skip stripping the chalk paint if you want. You will create a pretty dusty area, but it still works. Stripping takes time to get started but sanding you grab your electric sander and attach a sheet of sandpaper and get started right away.

Sanding Chalk Paint Steps
  1. Grab a rag and apply some warm water, use the rag to wipe your piece of furniture clean. You want to make sure your furniture is free from grease and grime because it will impact your sanding ability.
  2. When starting to sand your piece I grab 120 grit sandpaper and begin sanding. 120 grit is perfect for removing the layer of chalk paint, move with the wood grain, and slowly sand back and forth removing the chalk paint all over. This can take some time, if on a flat level tabletop it will be faster, but if sanding legs and smaller detailed areas you might want to consider using a detail sander or go by hand.
  3. Once most of your chalk paint is removed, or all of it, grab 220 grit sandpaper to polish off the furniture. This will prepare it for a new stain or paint job, or you can seal the bare wood.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

Not my number one choice and nor do I choose this method often. I think using rubbing alcohol is a good method to use when you mix it with sanding. When sanding you might not get every small corner and the legs might even be difficult to reach. For hard to get areas, such as detailed pieces and table legs, you can apply rubbing alcohol on a rag or a scrubby pad. Apply pressure and rub back and forth almost as if you are sanding. Once applied, you could use steel wood to rub these difficult areas as well.

Overall. rubbing alcohol is perfect for smaller hard to get places, I would not recommend this idea to remove chalk paint from an entire project. See the video below to see how its best used on a table leg.


4. Hot Water and a Scrubby

If you want to avoid the harsh chemicals like paint strippers, rubbing alcohol, and mineral spirits, you can try grabbing a scrubby and using hot water. Chalk paint isn’t always durable and typically rubs off quickly, if you happened to spill some or your paint has dripped down your furniture using a water fast will wipe it right off.

This method is simply designed for small chalk paint incidents, let’s say you were painting a chair seat, and some chalk paint dripped down the leg. Grab your scrubby and dip it in hot water, it will rub off easily. If completely dry in small amounts it will wipe off, but a full piece of furniture will require stripping or sanding.


FAQs About Chalk Paint Removal

How to Get Chalk Paint Off Plastic and Laminate?

The best way to remove chalk paint from plastic or Laminate is to use a paint stripper or to grab a sanding sponge and wrap 120 grit sandpaper around it and begin sanding it off on the corner (preferably the back). Once you get down to the plastic material you can grab a plastic paint scraper and try scraping it off. If this doesn’t work, you can use a number of products to help break down the paint. First, try some oils such as WD-40 or cooking oils such as canola oil, these can help loosen the paint for easy removal. If you want, you can use stronger products such as mineral spirits or paint thinner, get the odorless versions though.

If all else fails grab some paint stripper and begin the stripping process. It will help remove the paint over the plastic/laminate for an easy removal.

How to Get Chalk Paint Off Metal?

The best way to remove chalk paint from metal is to use a coarse rag and begin rubbing it off. Chalk paint isn’t extremely durable on a surface and should rub right off. If that fails, grab a bristle brush and try scrubbing it off.

You can also apply a paint remover and quickly rub it off following instructions.

How to Get Chalk Paint Off Fabric?

To remove chalk paint from fabric you grab some rubbing alcohol, a toothbrush, and a sponge. Apply the rubbing alcohol on the painted area of fabric, then use the toothbrush to scrub the painted spot, then use the sponge to wipe the paint away.

This process is time-consuming but it works, if you really want to remove the paint start scrubbing!

How to Remove Chalk Paint from Brick and Concrete?

If the surface is completely flat, using a paint remover would work best on concrete, Simply apply, wait, and scrape off. But with brick, it is a touch surface and hard to scrap. You can still apply paint stripper, but you will need a touch bristle brush to wipe it off. Once rubbing it off and you can’t really get more, feel free to grab a pressure washer if nothing else works. Just remember to clean up your mess.


Final Thoughts

Removing chalk paint from furniture isn’t always fun, it takes time and patience. Some projects take a lot more time than you would ever think. If you believe you can get it done in a certain amount of time, think about doubling it just in case. You would rather have spare time remaining than going overtime on the chalk paint removal process.

I hope my 4 tips on how to get chalk paint off furniture has helped you with your next DIY project.

Good luck refinishing!