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Removing Paint from Copper Ship Lanterns


I am in possession of two copper coal oil ships lanterns that have been around my family for about 50 years, they were stored outside in a garage and some spilled paint managed to seep underneath then. I want to hang these lanterns in my living room but don't want the bottoms hanging there with all the paint on them for every one to see! How can I remove the paint?

Thank You,

Ian Munroe
Home upgrade - Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, Canada


As soon as you remove the paint, the color of the copper will be different, but in a decade or so, they should be the same.
Talk to a real live paint store, rather than a paint department for the proper paint remover. It is a nasty chemical, so work outside and follow the instructions carefully.
You might, if the paint is thick, be able to very carefully get under the paint with an xacto hobby knife and peel most of it off.
You can very carefully and slowly ash the paint with a micro torch from a hardware type store. These are small and use lighter fluid, butane gas.
I would not bake it or try to sand it off.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


Try Acetoneamazoninfo or 1 part ammonia/2 parts acetone mixture!When finished rinse it well!Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia


If the lantern will not be damaged by water, you can put it in an old pan of water and boil it for 30 minutes or more and the paint should peel off. Some people add some baking sodaamazoninfo or TSP [trisodium phosphateamazoninfo] to the water to help the process. If you have recesses with paint in them,carefully use toothpicks or popsickle sticks to get it out to avoid scratching the copper. Do Not use the pan for food preparation after this.

Rod Walters
- Des Moines, Iowa


The simplest thing to do is to purchase the lowest price stripper ... semi paste or liquid ... and strip the lanterns just like furniture ... rinse with water .. you will have very little color change since they have been stored outside and are no doubt rather dark.


Dean Wallace
- Wilmington, North Carolina


I have two old ship lanterns a port and starboard someone sand blasted them and I was trying to look for the right paint color to paint them can anyone help.

Greg Janik
painter - Chicopee, Massachusetts

(2007) -- appended to this thread by editor

What is the best way to strip several coats of paint from copper heat vents. My house was built in 1947 and has those ornate heat vents fitted into the wall and I would like to strip off the paint and put a clear coat of varnish to prevent tarnishing.

judith spencer
home owner - peterborough Ontario. Canada

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