refinishing painted design

My daughter wants to refinish a used dresser she purchased. There is a small pastel colored painted design on each drawer, the entire dresser is not painted (looks very natural). She tried sanding the paint off and although the color of the paint is no longer visible, the shape of the design is clearly still visible. She sanded by hand using a block sander. After sanding, the wood around the design is slightly darker in color than the area that was painted (varnish??). Her question is: would a chemical stripper alleviate the outline of the painted design?
Thank you, Windy
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