Did you catch last week’s post full of inspiration images on how to decorate with brass?
I’m definitely on a bit of a brass kick lately (Ha! When am I not?), so I thought I’d continue the brass theme this week with a follow-up on the vintage brass reindeer head bookends I found at the thrift store and shared back in December.
If you remember, they were covered in white spray paint that was starting to chip and I mentioned that I would be stripping off the spray paint to reveal the brass underneath…
Presto change-o! Two gorgeous shiny brass bookends now completely paint-free!
I can’t believe I put the project off for this long – it only took around an hour and was so ridiculously easy to do.
If you’ve ever found a spray painted brass object at the thrift store or if you’ve ever spray painted a piece and then changed your mind later, here’s how to quickly and easily remove spray paint from brass (or really, any metal and most non-porous surfaces.)
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You Will Need:
- Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel – I like Citristrip because it’s safe for indoor use and has a pleasant orange smell instead of nasty chemical fumes, but at the same time it’s great at lifting off layers of old paint!
- Old container – any old plastic container will do (I love old sour cream containers for jobs like this!) – just choose one you won’t be re-using in the kitchen, for obvious safety reasons!
- Cheap chip brush – You can buy packs of 24 through the Amazon link at a great price, but you can also pick these up at your local hardware store for just around $1.
- Plastic wrap
- Gloves – latex, vinyl, or even those re-usable rubber cleaning gloves; you just want some skin protection from the stripper.
- Paper towels
- Old toothbrush – for scrubbing paint out of any little details/crevices.
Start by preparing a work surface (I laid down paper grocery bags) and pouring a small amount of Citristrip into your container:
Use the chip brush to liberally slather the Citristrip over every last inch of the painted surface. The gel should stick pretty well, even on vertical surfaces. Really glob it on there!
Now, take pieces of plastic wrap and press it onto the gel-covered surface of your painted object. Seal the whole thing up in plastic wrap. This will help keep the gel from drying out until it’s had a chance to loosen the paint.
Let your object sit until the paint gets really wrinkly. (I got excited at this point and stopped snapping photos.)
Once all the paint has developed wrinkles and started to peel away from the object in patches, use the paper towels to begin wiping it off the surface. Safety note: It gets messy – wear your gloves!
If you’re working with a relatively flat surface, you can use a plastic scraper to help you remove the paint, but on a brass figurine for example, wiping with something flexible like paper towels is a lot easier!
The toothbrush will help you scrub the softened paint out of any small crevices.
If there are any patches of stubborn paint, blob on a little more stripping gel, allow it to soften, and then wipe again.
Finally, use a wet paper towel to clean all remaining stripping gel residue off your piece and you’re finished! You can follow up with some Bar Keeper’s Friend to polish if you want, but I liked the slightly aged brass I found under the paint on these bookends.
I love them up on my dining room mantel – I’m so glad I finally buckled down and stripped that paint!