Peeling Away

On Friday morning, Noel coated the niche in Peel-Away. It's absolutely the best way of handling curved and finicky surfaces covered in paint, and we have buckets of it purchased for use on our woodwork. Doesn't make a dent in the lead battleship paint, alas, but nothing is perfect.

Niche coated in Peel-Away

The niche avoided the battleship paint, but it did have several layers of paint to get off. This morning the Peel-Away had made good progress, visible through its protective paper layer:

Paint peeling under the paper

So tonight, after a fairly decent day of other work, I pulled away the paper and scraped as much of the paint off as would come off reasonably.

Paint peeling away from the niche

There are two great things about Peel-Away, and number one is that most of the paint really does peel right off when you pull off the paper. The other great thing is that it doesn't require a neutralizer before repainting.

Detailed view of the paint peeling off

My usual method is to allow as much paint to come off with the paper as possible, them pull off the really loose stuff left behind hanging off the surface, then go through and scrape off the lower stuff.

Paint scraps in the bottom of the niche

(The colour is really messed up on some of these photos; the niche is painted a sort of aqua blue, not lime green.)

Pulling away the paper

This is the first time I've used Peel-Away on plaster, and it worked OK. Underneath the layers of latex paint is the usual chalky paint on most surfaces in this house. Even though the niche is still weirdly coloured, it's good to no longer have it pink, which was just ridiculous.

Scraping away at the niche

A new little tool for us and very useful on this project was a little plastic chemical paint removal brush, very handy for rubbing the loose paint off the curved surfaces.

Using the paint remover brush

And there we are, all nice and not-pink. (Not that particular green, either, but I wasn't going to wait to do this post tomorrow when the light would be better.)

Niche, as finished

We still need another go-round on the sill, which is wood and has more layers of paint on it.

Niche sill, half painty

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posted by ayse on 05/16/09

9 Comments

Ooo...I really like the niche. I know you've had some thoughts of replacing it with a window, but I like it as is. More so now that it's not bright pink.

Last night Noel suggested we make a piece of frosted plastic to put in the place of the back, so we have a window-niche.

My real issue with the niche is that I'm not a "big flower arrangements" kind of gal, so I never quite know what to put in it. Apart from a BVM statue, but those are pretty pricey for a joke.

Did you know that you can use plain old waxed paper in place of the Official Expensive P-A Paper? The main point of the paper seems to be to keep in the moisture of the goo, so it works on the paint. The paint doesn't stick to wax paper quite as well, but it still works just fine.

I'd vote for keeping the niche, myself. I think I'd be going to a local art fair, and having a look at nice pottery or a small sculpture. (Support your local artists!)

I did know about using waxed paper (they actually tell you that in the instructions we have). Parchment paper also works well, and sticks to the paint better (though it is very expensive). Our buckets of Peel-Away came with the special paper, though, so we're using that until we run out.

As for supporting our local artists, we are already frequent purchasers of art, and spend a lot of time at art shows, but none of our pieces work in the very narrow vertical space. Anything large enough to fill that niche would be quite expensive which would not incline me to put it right where the stairway curves and it would be most in danger of being whacked or toppling in an earthquake. I'd not be looking forward to re-plastering that niche after drilling through to tie in to a structural member for support.

As I said, I was a big niche fan before we ended up with this niche -- I do some sculpture in my copious spare time and sculptors love niches. However, I've spent seven years trying to figure out how to use it without much luck. Maybe before we get around to removing it and putting in a window, the perfect piece of sculpture will jump out at me. But I'm not holding my breath.

Hi - I have some Peel-Away to use, but I thought you had to neutralize it with a vinegar solution afterwards, before painting? Is this a new formulation? I bought my Peel-Away several years ago, but haven't used much of it because I dread having to neutralize, etc.

From reading this blog for a while, I know the former owners had questionable taste in paint colors -- but what you uncovered in the niche looks like an unappetizing combination of guacamole with raspberry sherbet.

By the way, are you saying "neeche" or "nitch?"

Barbara, it would really depend on what product you are using to do the stripping (I think Peel-Away does have some strippers that need neutralizing, but I'm not sure). In our case, the instructions on the bucket definitely say we don't need to neutralize.

en_jay_aitch, I'm pretty sure they didn't have all those colours in there at the same time. :)

I say niche as "neeche." I think it's a regional thing.

How cool! I also say keep the niche. But it's your house:-) I wish I were a friend of yours and share in your reno. I'm really THAT in love with Victorians. *Sigh*

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