How to Remove Chalk Paint from Furniture

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Last updated: April 19, 2023

Learning how to remove chalk paint from furniture is crucial if you want to change the appearance or update the look of your favorite piece. Maybe you used chalk paint to paint your furniture in the past, but you are now tired of looking at it.

Removing it is easy and straightforward, whether you want to paint the furniture with a fresh new color or completely eliminate that chalk paint appearance. However, it may take some physical effort and time on your part.

To remove chalk paint effectively and efficiently from painted furniture, it is essential to remember that different surfaces also need additional materials and tools for removal.

Table of Contents

How to remove chalk paint from furniture

Several methods for removing chalk paint from furniture, like a wood table. You can use a heat gun, a sander, a paint stripper, and lots of hard work and elbow grease. This guide will focus on removing chalk paint using a paint stripper.

While there is nothing wrong with using pure elbow grease, a heat gun, or a sander to remove chalk paint, using a paint stripper is significantly less time-consuming. It also requires a minimal amount of physical labor.

For this process, the materials and tools you need are the following:

  • Dry cloth
  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint stripper
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Sandpaper (100-120 grit)
  • Steel wool

The following steps will help you remove chalk paint from your wood table.

Before removing the chalk paint from the wood table, see that you wear your gloves and masks and are in an area with proper ventilation. You must also cover the floors under the furniture with a protective sheet.

  • Use a paintbrush to apply the paint stripper to the table based on the instructions indicated on the product container. Generally, allowing the paint to sit first for 30 minutes to 1 hour is recommended, and following the stated wait time on the bottle is essential.
  • After the paint stripper has sat on the table for some time, you might observe that the chalk paint has already started to crinkle. This is when you can start removing the paint using the putty knife. The secret here is to apply even and gentle pressure to eliminate more significant paint sections.
  • You can now grab the steel wool pad and start scrubbing off the last traces of paint. Use a mild soapy water solution to wet the steel wool. You can wipe away the scrappings with a dry cloth and continue scrubbing using the steel wool pad.
  • Others may recommend adding the paint stripper to the soap and water solution. There might be no need to do it since there might still be leftover paint stripper on the table.
  • Once you have removed all the remnants of chalk paint, allow the table to dry completely, which may take 12 to 24 hours. After this waiting time, you can smooth out the wood using fine-grit sandpaper. You can also apply Danish oil for wood protection if you have no plans to repaint the wood table.
white chalk paint on a antique style bedroom dresser

How to remove chalk paint from wood without sanding

Technically, you don’t need to sand the wood to remove the chalk paint, and you just have to use a putty knife and paint stripper to eliminate most of the chalk paint. After this, a steel wool pad, sponge, and water can remove the tiny bits of leftover chalk paint.

However, you must sand wood furniture before repainting or refinishing it. If you don’t sand the wood, there is the possibility that the new color won’t adhere very well. You might also notice some noticeable blemishes and bumps on the finished project.

To remove chalk paint traces from wood without sanding, you can use heat guns, paint solvents, or paint strippers. Just apply the paint stripper over the standard paint. Allow it to sit for around half an hour, and use a putty knife to scrape it off. Heat the paint and wait for it to soften before scraping it off. Finish the job by scrubbing the paint with steel wool and soapy water.

Is chalk paint easy to remove from wood furniture

Removing chalk paint from wood furniture is easy if you prepare beforehand. It is also important to react to any issue immediately so that you don’t cause a disaster just because you don’t know how to remove either freshly applied or dry chalk paint.

Follow the steps below to remove chalk paint from your wood furniture pieces:

  • Start by removing the chalk paint’s layer of wax.
  • Rub the leftover chalk paint from the furniture using a cloth or sponge.
  • Use steel wool to remove the remaining residues of chalk paint from the wood surface.
  • Rinse the wood surface and allow it to dry.
  • Sand the remaining chalk paint stains with sandpaper.
  • Use a lint-free cloth to clean the wood surface.

Does chalk paint rub off

Chalk paint rubs off but only on glass surfaces, and you can easily remove it on other surfaces using water alone, thanks to how it is made. Compared to typical paints, chalk paint is weaker, which allows it to be broken down quickly with water. However, you must still put in some elbow grease to scrub off the chalk paint from the surface.

white distressed chalk paint on smaller farmhouse style living room table


Can you wash off chalk paint

Yes, chalk paint can be washed off using a scrubbing sponge and soapy water. Start by wetting the paint with water and using a sponge to scrub the paint off. Always use a damp cloth to remove the paint residue from the wood.

Can old chalk paint be removed from furniture

You should remove the old chalk paint from your furniture before refinishing it. While you can repaint walls several times throughout their lives, you must strip off the paint from furniture anytime you wish to change its color. Stripping the paint between applying new paint colors is essential to ensure the furniture looks smooth and bulky.

light blue distressed chalk paint on farmhouse style living room drawer chest

Will vinegar help remove chalk paint

You can use vinegar to weaken chalk paint to make it easier to scrape off the color from any surface. You must combine vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and warm it before applying it to the paint. Vinegar is a cheaper and more natural paint stripper alternative. Remember, though, there is no guarantee that the vinegar will weaken the paint enough for you to easily remove it.

Can you remove chalk paint from a glass surface

Removing chalk paint from a glass surface is easy because you can simply rub or scrape it off. Soaking a clean cloth in a solvent is often enough for the job.

Can you remove chalk paint from a metal surface

You can often rub off chalk paint with a solvent if it is on a flat metal surface. A stripper might be necessary if the surface has any grooves.

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