Operation butterfly/flower removal: Total Failure Edition

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Every time I walk into our master, I’m haunted by the painted butterflies and flowers.  It’s cute for a girl’s room, but maybe stenciled onto painted walls, not directly onto the wood that wraps the room…

The guys at my (not so) local Sherwin Williams suggested Mineral spirits for removing the paint which was a great, because we’d already bought a container at Menards.  Our main concern is damaging the wood, so we wanted to start with the least aggressive measure and escalate from there.   I was going to take photos and show how awesome it worked and make a great post but, spoiler, it didn’t work at all.  Like… not even a little bit.  I tried soaking with paper towels and the sponge and scrubbing with both.  Yeah… nothing.

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On the way out of the room I noticed this.  Someone has tried to remove these before, perhaps when they tried to sell the house pre-forclosure.  What you’re not seeing too clearly is the ghost line that still remains and the finish that has been totally removed from the wood.  I can’t decide which is a worse-r case scenario here – use paint stripper and/or sanding to remove the paint then have to refinish the wood, or just entirely paint over the affected walls… which…. I don’t really want to do that.  Ugh.  Thoughts? Suggestions?

2 thoughts on “Operation butterfly/flower removal: Total Failure Edition

  1. Is that acrylic craft paint? I have used alcohol or acetone to remove dried craft paint from a wood surface before. I am not certain you won’t effect the finish of the polyurethane under it, much like you show on the last picture. Could you spot sand and try and feather/blend a coat of poly on only the sanded areas? It can be difficult to achieve that aged poly color, as it yellows over time, but we have replaced a section of hardwood flooring and didn’t want to refinish the whole floor and my husband was able to match the existing color with a little stain and poly top coat. Much better than redoing the whole thing.

    Also, I wanted to say I am digging your new light fixtures, especially the kitchen. Jadeite green!

    • I can’t figure out what it is! I originally assumed craft paint because it’s glopped on pretty thick and I can’t imagine someone buying 8 different colors of interior house paint. After closer inspection I’m really not sure… Sherwin Williams agrees with you – the next step is a stripper or acetone. The picture with the two next to the crazy sconce is in our bathroom. Since it’s relatively hidden, I’ll continue to test options there. I think no matter what, we’re going to have to suck it up and apply new finish to some spots.

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