How to Loosen Drawers Stuck by Dry Paint

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Things You'll Need

  • Metal putty knife or butter knife

  • Paraffin wax

  • Fine-grit sandpaper

  • Paint


Remove the drawers and paint them separately to avoid painting them shut.

Painting your kitchen cabinets or an old dresser is an inexpensive way to make over these and almost any other pieces of furniture. However, in your haste to finish the job you may have accidentally painted the drawers shut. Using brute force alone to open the drawers can damage the paint job and wood, creating an even bigger disaster. Use the correct technique and tools to perform this task and avoid ruining your freshly applied paint.


Step 1

Slide a thin, metal putty knife or butter knife around the outside of the drawer, paying attention to avoid damaging the wood or paint job.

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Step 2

Continue to work the knife around the drawer until you break through the paint. Slowly pull the drawer out. If the drawer doesn't budge, move on to the next step.


Step 3

Rub a piece of paraffin wax around the perimeter of the drawer. The wax provides extra lubrication to help loosen the drawer. Slowly pull the drawer out, applying extra paraffin wax if necessary.

Step 4

After you open the drawer, scrape away the excess paint from around the drawer's front. Sand the front edges smooth with fine-grit sandpaper before applying a thin layer of paint around the edge, paying attention to keep the drawer open to avoid painting the drawer shut again.

Step 5

Allow the paint to dry for at least four to five hours before closing the drawer.