(Stripping the varnish with Citristrip & Repainting)

Level of Difficulty: Toe Pick

Time Frame: Approximately watching first two films in The Hunger Games Series

I found this amazing entryway table at Goodwill for under $10. I liked the look of it as is, however it had a few blemishes and I really wanted it to be white to compliment the rest of my home. Mission Entryway Table DIY commence!!!

Naturally, my first instinct was “I can do that” even though I had no idea what I was about to take on. Story of my life, lol.

I did a bit of research and decided I was going to strip the varnish, and repaint it.

I went to my local Home Depot, and got some tips and product recommendations.


  • Rubber Gloves
  • Protective Eyewear
  • Tack Cloth (workforce)
  • Cleaner (industrial strength)
  • Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripper (spray can or gel)
    • ****MY NEW OBSESSION****
  • Drywall Knife (plastic)
  • Sandpaper (150 fine, or sandpaper block would work too)
  • Paper towels
  • Painters Plastic
  • Killz (primer/sealer/stainblocker)
  • Rustoleum Spray Paint (high performance enamel in white)


  • Always wear protective gloves and eyewear when working with chemicals
  • Make sure to put painter’s plastic or a tarp down or both. I would hate to have any of the chemicals I use eat through the plastic and ruin my floors.
  • Clean Surface of furniture. (this was at Goodwill, so it was pretty dusty and there was a LOT of debris. Use an industrial strength cleaner if you need to)
  • Spray a generous coat of Citristrip on the surface you will be working on
    • I would recommend testing a smaller area first to see how it’s going to work for you
    • It is somewhat like the consistency of yogurt and smells orange like and pleasant almost
    • Allow it to sit for 30 minutes at least (it can remain on it for up to 24 hours)
    • Scrape the citristrip and varnish/paint using the plastic drywall knife from the surface going in the same direction of the wood grain. It came off much easier than I had expected:

  • Rinse and repeat
    • I just did the same thing to the remainder ofthe piece including legs and drawers (this will take as many steps as it takestil it’s stripped)
    • Though this is quite easy, it’s a bit time consuming because you have to let it sit for 30 minutes after every coat
  • Sand the piece
    • Once stripped, I sanded it to make it nice and smooth.
    • I did use sandpaper, however I ended up switching to a sanding block because it was easier, quicker and I am impatient.
    • Just give everything a once over to remove any excess debris
  • Clean the piece with the Tack Cloth to get any of the left over dust from sanding
  • Clean the piece with the cleaner
    • Let it dry completely
  • Paint the piece
    • I wasn’t super sure what I was doing because this was my first attempt at painting furniture.
    • I went with spray paint, because I thought it would be more smooth and even (since completing this piece, I have painted furniture with brushes and rollers as well. All have pros and cons)
    • I painted the piece with Killz first as a primer coat (went on easy and even…It almost looked finished with just the primer)
    • I then painted with the Rustoleum paint
  • Hardware
    • I got 2 dresser knobs from Ikea and then proceeded to spray those gold for a pinch of drama.

**I added a clear coat after I finished the product to prevent it from getting scratched and to add a bit of shine

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