Here are some quick tips that will help. First you can try using a hair dryer to heat the paint. The heat will eventually destroy the film and make it easier to scrap away. But to really get things moving, you may want to consider getting a heat gun to do the same thing, only it's much faster. You can also try a heat gun to remove varnish.
An electric heat gun looks like a heavy-duty hair dryer, but produces a much hotter air stream that is concentrated on a small area. You will need to give it needs a few seconds to get hot after. Be sure to wear heavy gloves to protect your hands and don't point the gun at surfaces you don't want to strip. Direct the nozzle at the painted surface and move the gun around slowly in one area. Hold the gun in one hand and a scraper in the other as you work. But you will need to switch hands because the gun gets heavy.
Be careful though you never want to let the gun stay in one spot so long that it damages the wood. Keep moving it often to avoid brown marks from excessive heat.
Scrape away the paint as soon as it's heated. Once all the paint is gone, you can sand, refinish or paint your project to perfection.
Here are some more tips to get rid of paint where it is not wanted.
In order to remove fresh latex paint from carpet: soak with dish detergent diluted with 20 parts water; agitate it with a sponge or cloth; blot; rinse; and blot again. If the paint has dried, a little lacquer thinner will soften and remove it (be careful though, lacquer thinner could also melt certain kinds of carpet, so test first).
You can get paint out of a carpet by sponging with a solution of 1 tbs. of detergent and 1 tbs. vinegar, in 1 quart of warm water.
Go to the medicine cabinet and get a few cotton swabs and dip them in paint remover. Then use it to remove a hard drop of paint This will also soften the paint back so it can be blotted and rinsed out.
To remove oil-based paints or varnish from carpet: Check the label on the paint or varnish for the specific thinner or solvent to use. If the spot is already dry, soften it by covering it for several hours with towels dampened with the appropriate solvent; agitate with a brush, repeat as necessary; apply detergent solution and work into the stain; blot; rinse with warm water; blot dry.
Soften paint splatters on a window with hot vinegar, then scrape off with a razor blade.
Make a paste of starch and hot water and apply it to spills on vinyl floors such as linoleum. Let it sit for 30 minutes then wipe clean.
A paste-type paint remover will remove paint spots from brick.
If you're painting wooden siding, doors or furniture, the surface must be smooth and free of loose, flaking paint. So it's often necessary to begin a paint project by first removing heavy layers of old paint.
While sandpaper has been around for a long time, it's most effective smoothing the surface after heavy paint has been removed. Get an inexpensive sanding disk that fits onto an electric drill and use an open coat 80 grit abrasive disk to feather rough paint spots smooth. Be careful with this disk because it removes paint quickly and can gouge the surface.
There are a variety of chemical paint strippers on the market and the best ones are the new water-based strippers that are biodegradable and take off layers of paint without the danger of using harsh chemicals. The secret is allowing the stripper time to work. Apply it with an old paintbrush and then be patient. Let it set for as long as the manufacturer suggests. Wait until the paint lifts up from the surface before you scrape it off.
When the paint has softened or bubbles up it is ready to scrape away. Gently dig the scraper into the paint and push it up onto the scraper. Be careful not to gouge the surface below the paint with the blade of the scraper. Use a putty knife the approximate width of whatever you're stripping and use it on the flat surfaces. A wad of medium grade steel wool is ideal for getting old paint out of curved areas because its course texture lets you wipe off the paint.
The key to the operation is a sturdy cardboard box with its flaps cut off at the top. As you work, wipe globs of paint off of the putty knife onto the sides of the box and contain all the messy steel wool and paint inside the box.