How to Get Acrylic Paint Off Wood?

Getting rid of old and dry acrylic paint splatters from wooden surfaces is definitely way more difficult than applying that paint.

And since wood is quite easy to scratch or damage when removing the old paint, people often wonder how they could do this accurately and delicately and get the desired effect at the same time.

In this article, we will tell you how to remove dried acrylic paint from wood surfaces, but this is not all that we want to share with you!

Except for a few paint removal methods that will help you find out how to remove dried acrylic paint from wood, you are also going to learn what nuances you should take into consideration before you begin, as well as what tool you will need to succeed.

Finally, you will figure out what products remove acrylic paint from this type of surface.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood?

Getting acrylic paint off wood might be rather difficult because wood is not that durable surface. We would say, it is even quite delicate and must be treated with proper care and attention.

If you work on it too hard when scraping the old paint off, you may leave deep scratches or cause even worse damage! On wooden surfaces, such flaws will be perfectly seen.

So how do you get old and dry acrylic paint off wood, you may be wondering? Well, it is not as easy as dealing with the fresh blot of paint, of course, however, it is still possible.

Acrylic paint can end up on your wooden items for different reasons, either as a result of your home painting project, or after your kids decided to explore their artistic talents!

You might also want to strip the old acrylic paint off in case you want to repaint your wooden furniture that has been previously painted.

No matter the reason, there are several methods and thus paint removing products that we can suggest to you. Below, you will find a detailed description of how to use each of them.

Removing acrylic paint stencil from wood without damaging the finishRemoving acrylic paint stencil from wood without damaging the finish

Rubbing Alcohol

This is a true staple in every household when it comes to dealing with old paint blots! If you decide to use this product on your old acrylic paint to get it off the wooden surface, you will have to follow a few easy steps.

  • Scrape the paint stain with a putty knife. Do your best to gently chip off as much of the top layer of paint as possible. The more paint can be removed this way, the less paint will be left that the alcohol has to cut through. However, be careful not to dig into the wood and leave scratch marks behind!
  • Apply some alcohol on a cloth. We recommend you make use of a basic rubbing alcohol, which can be purchased at most drugstores or grocery stores. Saturate a small section of the cloth with the product first.
  • Rub the remaining paint with the cloth. At this stage, you need to keep adding alcohol to the cloth and continue rubbing until all the paint is gone.
  • Wipe the alcohol away.
  • Damp a clean cloth with water and wipe the area to remove the residue.
  • Wipe the surface with a dry cloth. Make sure that you rub the damp spot until all excess moisture is removed. The wood will still be wet, but should dry within twenty four hours.

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Soap And Water

This is another handy and easy to make product (let us call it so) that can successfully cope with the old acrylic paint on wood. However, please take into consideration that this method will most likely be ineffective on stains and paint blots that have dried very long ago!

  • Wipe fresh acrylic paint with a wet cloth.
  • Moisten a fresh cloth with hot water and put some glycerin soap (liquid or bar) on it.
  • Scrub the remaining paint gently with the soapy cloth.
  • Wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove the soap residue. Continue to wipe at the spot until the soap suds are gone.
  • Use a dry cloth to remove the moisture from the area. Wipe away as much excess water as possible.
How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood
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Use a Heat Gun

This method is also useful and affordable since heat guns are not expensive – that’s in case you don’t have it and decide to buy one just in case! Also, make sure that the surface you are going to use the heat gun on is large enough.

If you need to remove old paint from the entire door or table top, for example, using a heat gun is worthy.

But on smaller surfaces, you should consider using other methods and tools.

  • Aim the gun at the paint and turn it on. Hold it 3-4 inches away from the stain for about 10-20 seconds at a time.
  • Scrape at the stain with a putty knife.
  • Wipe down the surface once it’s cool. Wait until the wood is no longer hot, and wipe it with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

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Use a Solvent

Before you proceed with this option, you need to choose what solvent will be used. The most common paint stripper is methylene chloride, it is very potent so make sure that you use it with care!

There are also other solvents that are citrus-based and more environmentally friendly, but these are still dangerous and proper safety precautions should be taken.

  • Put on safety gear: safety glasses/goggles, and a ventilation mask, gloves and long sleeves.
  • Create proper ventilation. Work outside if possible, but if the wood can’t be moved, open all windows and doors. Set a fan behind you so that the airflow blows the fumes away from you and out a window or door.
  • Roll or brush on solvent. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
  • Scrape off bubbled paint.
  • Cleanse the area with mineral spirits.
  • Wait a week to refinish the wood. We would recommend you give the wood about a week to completely dry and air out before you apply any stains or waxes.

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Sand the Wood Using a Sandpaper

Sandpaper is another effective way of removing old and/or dry acrylic paint from a wood surface. But if you need to work on a large surface, we recommend you use power sanders.

  • Rub the paint using steel wool or sandpaper. If there’s a lot of paint to remove, start with a coarse sandpaper, like 80-120 grit or, in extreme cases, 40-60 grit.
  • Clean the wood with a damp cloth. Run a wet rag over the wood to wipe away sawdust and debris.
  • Refinish the wood.
Sand the Wood Using a Sandpaper
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Vegetable Oil

Quite an unusual method to most of you, however, vegetable oils also work! Moreover, unlike soapy water, oil is way more effective for dealing with oil paint marks!
To use this method, prepare the olive oil, paper towels, clean rag and a putty knife.

  1. Drop some olive oil directly on the acrylic paint and rub gently with a paper towel.
  2. Leave the oil to soften the paint for about 15 minutes. If possible, let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. Scrape the paint off using a paint scraper.
  4. Use a damp rag to wipe off all the paint and the oil traces. Repeat the process to remove remaining paint if you didn’t manage to get all the paint off your wood in the first attempt.

Acetone

One more handy option if you have no heat gun, solvents, or rubbing alcohol at hand. Acetone is cheap and powerful, besides, it is easy to buy almost in any store. Make sure you have enough of the liquid, as well as gloves, a clean rag, and a plastic paint scraper, and we can start!

  • Apply acetone directly on the paint and cover it with a paper towel. Let it sit for about five minutes.
  • Scrape off the loose paint using a paint scraper. Then saturate a clean rag in acetone and gently rub on the leftover paint. Rub in a back and forth motion until you see paint transfer to the wet rag.
  • Use more acetone and more clean rags if the paint requires it.
  • Once you get all the paint out, wipe the wood with a damp soapy rag.
  • Finally, wipe the wood using a dry rag. Allow the surface to air dry for as long as needed.
Acetone
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Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is a bit stronger than rubbing alcohol. Note, however, that denatured alcohol is not only poisonous but also highly flammable! So remember to work in a well-ventilated area when using this acrylic paint remover for wood and have a fire extinguisher close by.

  • Wet a clean rag or paintbrush in denatured alcohol.
  • Apply a generous coat of alcohol over the dried paint to be removed. Let the alcohol dissolve the acrylic resin for about two to five minutes.
  • Use a putty knife to scrape off the softened paint. Be gentle as a putty knife can damage the wood. Dispose of the scraped paint appropriately.
  • Dampen a rag in cold water and use it to wipe the area and remove any acrylic paint left or denatured alcohol residue.

These are all the known methods and products/tools that you can use in order to get rid of the layer of old acrylic paint on your furniture or other wooden surfaces, as well as for scraping the dry acrylic paint off if it accidentally ended up there (for example, after you finished your home painting project).

But no matter which of these methods you choose, remember that most of them require using chemical products (denatured alcohol, rubbing alcohol, acetone, etc.).

Those are often flammable and all of them are harmful for your skin and eyes! So make sure that you protect yourself with gloves and/or goggles, as well as a mask if needed, before you start working with the old paint removal.

Things You Should Consider Before Acrylic Paint Removal From Wood

Once again, since acrylic paint removal mostly requires using chemical products, it is essential to follow the basic precautious rules to keep things safe.
For safety reasons and to prevent any further damage, please read our safety tips and tricks before you start cleaning.

  1. When using any type of detergent, make sure to keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
  2. Make sure that you air the room out properly: open the window before you begin cleaning, and leave it open for a while after you’re done.
  3. Before attempting to clean the paint stain, perform a safety test. Apply a small amount of the substance/detergent to a hidden part of your furniture. Rub it in and leave it to dry. If it doesn’t stain, you can continue.
  4. Adjust the method based on the type of wood. Alcohol, acetone, and lacquer thinner will work on bare, unvarnished wood. For varnished wood, we recommend hot soapy water. Alcohol may discolor varnished wood or dull the shine, so perform a test before you attempt to use it.
Things You Should Consider Before Acrylic Paint Removal From Wood
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Well, now you know every single piece of information needed for removing old and dry acrylic paint from any wooden surface be it a door, a piece of your garden furniture, or your dinner table that survived after your kid’s artistic experiments!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐Does dry acrylic paint wash off?

If it’s not fully dry and hard, then yes, it can be washed off. Otherwise, if you don’t remove it, it can peel off itself after a while.

⭐Can vinegar remove dry acrylic paint?

It depends on the surface. But in the majority of cases, vinegar is an easy and effective way to get rid of paint splatters from almost any surface. Moreover, it’s simple.

⭐Is it possible to paint over the dry acrylic paint?

Yes, it’s possible. But you should be using oil paint for this purpose if you need to paint over the dried acrylic paint.

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