I bought mine and found that I had through 3 layers of paint to get to through before I got to the wood. If you are going to paint yours then this won't be such a big deal. I wanted to stain mine, which created a lot of work for me!
Another downfall to sanding off the paint is that I had to sand away the detail on the slats of wood that make up the different panels.
The only other thing that I could think of was to use paint remover. I decided against that since I had already invested all of the money that I wanted to in this. Plus, I was paranoid to have that in the house with a 6 month old baby. For those of you who would like to know. I ended up spending about $60 on my project. The window cost me $30. I didn't have any of the supplies so I ended spending an additional $30 to buy sandpaper, wood stain, stain protector, wood glue, hooks, wall mounts, window screen, scrap book paper, spray mount, foam board, and door knobs. Okay I take that back I did have some supplies thanks to my husband. I had eye protectors and a mask to wear. It's a good thing too! Dust and junk was flying everywhere!
There was old glue and gunk on the back so that took some time removing so that I could fit the screen and paper into each slat.
A Helpful Hint: Since you most likely will not know how old your window is make sure you to take all the precautions needed since you do not know if there is lead in the paint.
Even though this project took longer than I anticipated (and that is mostly because I only had time to do it when the baby was asleep, daddy was home, and/or the weather was fine to work outside.) I really enjoyed making this. Plus, I am quite proud of my self. :) It now hangs beautifully in my bedroom and matches our bedding.