See Update Below: 12/11/2011:
My life is pretty simple and relatively boring. That was all about to change when I met a vintage chandelier that needed some TLC. It lead me down a road that most would not have taken. Ominous? Kind of. Friday the 13th? Not so scary. It involved stripping (and not the pole type), Franmar Chemical Soy Gel, an Earth friendly solution, and bring back a sleeping beauty back to life.
My green decorator, Nancy of NLM Designs, knows that I love antiques and used furniture. I like to purchase used furniture because it is a great value, significantly cheaper than new furniture, and it is green. No additional carbon footprint was created to buy something that already exists. (Check out my comfy used office chair article and vintage furniture one and hop upon the used furniture bandwagon.)
Back to Nancy. So she always keeps her eye out for me for a fabulous find. She found this beautiful chandelier at a local antique place which was just right for my second floor. I flipped when I saw it. Isn’t she a beauty?
When I went to put it up in the ceiling, my electrician noticed that it was missing an escutcheon, which is the cap on the ceiling. Thinking no big deal, I ran off to the lighting shop to find a replacement. Once I got there the sale lady shook her head and explained that my beautiful chandelier had been spray painted! She could not find a matching escutcheon for me.
Spray painted! I fumed. How can anyone spray paint a light? Well, she went on to explain, back in the sixties people painted everything white. (I have no authority if that is true or not, so don’t hold me to what she said.) I would have to find a similar color spray paint to match the chandelier, she told me. I broached the subject of stripping it and she looked with me with disbelief and replied that would be very hard with all of its nook and crannies.
So, there I was outside the store feeling a little dejected. How was I going to find the right gold? Well, my husband saw that “determined” look in my eye and knew something was up. It would require hard work, time, and tedious concentration. Something he wanted no part of, but I would drag him into.
Right then and there I decided to strip the chandelier thinking that the color underneath the paint was an antique brass. I continued to rationalize that maybe this is why the prior owners painted the chandelier. It was too dull looking for them.
As the light bulbs ideas kept popping up from my head, I remembered that I had Franmar, the perfect eco-stripper sitting in my basement! I was definitely up for the challenge! (All I could hear was a slow exasperated sound from my husband as if to say, here we go again.)
Applying the Stripper
I applied a thick layer of the stripper all over the chandelier using a paint brush. There was very little odor. I forgot to wear gloves and the stripper started to make the tips of my fingers feel a little numb. Meticulously, I pushed the soy stripper into all the nooks and crannies. I even painted the electrical wire and chain. The prior owner had sprayed painted these items too! When I was done, I covered the entire chandelier with used dry cleaning bags to sit for 24 hours.
According to the directions, you can check to see if the stripper is working in about 20 minutes. I thought letting the stripper sit 24 hours would help when I tried to remove the paint. The plastic kept it wet.
The next day, the paint dripped off. I basically wiped off the paint. It was a messy job since the paint was like a liquid. I did scrap a few areas since there were so many uneven areas. To be honest, the chandelier did not look much different than when I started. It was still really gold. My husband said it was not as bright.
Plus, I really screwed up when it came to putting the stripper on the coated electrical wire and chain. The soy ate through the wire and the chain was such poor quality that the paint fell off and exposed a dark steel looking undercoat. The directions warned me against using the stripper on plastic.
See picture above of my “bowl” I used. The coating was literally stripped away. You don’t want to know how bad my fingernails (what was left of them) looked like. (Wear gloves…)
I did have some darker spots so I “painted” some areas again with the stripper to see if it made a difference. More came off.
What was my thoughts on the stripper?
- Wear gloves.
- Follow the directions. Which means actually read the directions. I tend to wing things.
- Easy to use and no toxic odor.
- Very easy clean up. I just washed my brush.
- Would have been easier on a flat surface.
- Not too time consuming. The stripper does all the work.
What Happened to the Chandelier?
Since I screwed up the electrical wire, I took it to be rewired and decided to have it darkened to an antique bronze. The lamp shop had to remove the old color and resurface it with the use of toxic chemicals which according to them would take your skin off. Did I do a good job? They did not say although the woman at the front desk was impressed that I tried to strip it myself.
Did this exercise deter me from stripping again? No. I will be removing the paint from an antique table as soon as it gets warmer outside. That paint removal will be much more obvious to see how well Franmar works.
Tomorrow, read my how to remove tarnish recipe with a common household product. Does it work? Read and see.
Join the Conversation
- Have you ever used Franmar’s Soy Gel Stripper? How did you like it.
- Have you used any other eco-stripper? If so, what were the results.
- Would you consider stripping furniture yourself? If so, have any tips?
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