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Decorative Arts/Wood picture frame with plaster decorations


QUESTION: My daughter has a planned project of refinishing a table and using a picture frame for the top.  She would like use the same finish on both.  The picture frame is wood with the plaster decorations on top and I was wondering about removing the gold paint from the plaster.  I found two responses from you about this particular idea.  In one you said do not use stripper because it would harm the plaster but in a earlier response you said that using a cheap bristle brush and liquid stripper would not hurt the plaster.  What should we do?

ANSWER: Hi Carol
Nice to hear from you.
I said both ways as I have done both. With sucess, and not.
If I remember, one frame was original and one someone had painted.
When you say your daughter wants to use the same finish on both, do you mean she wants to paint the entire piece?
If thats the case there is no need to remove the gold.
Can you get back to me?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: She plans on using stain or varnish which leads to another question.  Will plaster take a stain or varnish if she takes off the paint?

Hi again Carol
Plaster will not take the stain and look nice.
It will absorb the stain and look awful.
But suggest to her that she can paint the plaster part a color that matches the wood, then use antique jel on the painted plaster to bring out the detail.
Antique gel is available at craft stores in various colors.
So if the paint is brown get a darker brown gel or even black.
If she goes this route, don't strip the plaster and get back for info on how to apply gel.
Thanks for a great question

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Eileen Cronk


If you are decorating your home on a budget I can answer most questions about what to look for when buying "good old stuff" at garage sales, yard sales or auctions. I can answer most questions about the refinishing, and repairing of wood items. I have had lots of experience in this area and made lots of mistakes over the years which I may help you avoid.


I have been haunting auction sales,flea markets etc. for 30 yrs. I have worked extensively at refinishing, and repairing all the old stuff I bring home. I also work for other people, and do repairs and refinishing for several antique stores.

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