The Strawbridges/Creative

Top Tips for Tackling a Paint Stripping Project

When we moved into The Chateau there were dozens of doors in need of TLC so it was time to get stripping! If you’d like to embark on a paint stripping project, keep reading…

When we moved into The Chateau we knew straight away that the original doors were a feature that we wanted to nurture and bring back to life. The first stage was to strip the doors of the flaky paint, some of which contained lead which is dangerous. The first door was a revelation! Although not perfect in my technique, the door looked stunning, in fact, it looked like I had bought it from a very expensive designer store! 

When we moved into The Chateau we knew straight away that the original doors were a feature that we wanted to nurture and bring back to life.

- Angel Strawbridge

And as my technique got better, so did the finish of the doors – which I sealed with a matt varnish. All live on, receiving lots of compliments! So, if you’re thinking about reviving an old door then here’s what you’ll need. 

  • Paint stripper – eco friendly & water soluble are available
  • Stripping tools of various sizes and shapes – straight flat blade, multitool, thin flat tool like an old screwdriver
  • Old paint brush and old glass or metal bowl
  • Wire wool
  • Bucket of water
  • Plenty of cloths
  • Sand paper
  • PPE – masks, gloves, goggles & boiler suit
  • Cling film
  • Wire brush
  • Bucket
  • Dustpan and brush


Before starting understand what type of paint you are stripping. An old door is likely to be lead based paint so just sanding it is not an option. Choose the right kind of stripper for your project. Be very careful and use the right protective equipment.


Work in a well-ventilated space and protect the floor. Ensure the item you’re working on is secure and at a comfortable height. Once you are happy, start stripping (oh lala!)


Some strippers work faster than others – it depends mostly on the number of layers of paint and the temperature you’re working in. Be patient! Test a small area first. If it’s taking ages wrap it in cling film…it stops it drying out.


Start at the top and work down and work on a third or half of the door at a time. Work the stripper into all the corners using an old paint brush (because it won’t be reusable afterwards).


Do big areas first with a broad flat tool – important! Keep your stripping in one direction.


Use the multitool to get into all the shapes of the door – take care not to dig the tool edges into the wood and damage it. Keep the blade on the tool as clean as you can.


Sweep up the dust and old paint regularly to keep your working area clean. Keep all the stripped paint in a bucket for disposal. When you’ve got most of the paint off, use the wire brush to get into awkward areas and use the wire wool to get all the last bits of paint off.


Using a damp cloth wash the door thoroughly afterwards to remove any remaining stripper. Dispose of the old paint responsibly, in line with the stripper manufacturers guidelines.

Don’t forget, you can also join the Escape to The Chateau Fan Club on Facebook and join a community of like-minded creative people who love to share their craft and DIY projects. So, if you’ve completed your own paint stripping project, the team and I would love to see it! Make sure you tag us on Instagram @the_chateau_tv or post your project in the Escape to The Chateau Fan Club on Facebook.