Looking to give your laminate furniture a fresh new look? Painting laminate is an easy DIY project that allows you to transform the look of laminate surfaces affordably.
In this simple, step-by-step guide, I’ll walk you through the complete process of preparing and painting laminate furniture to get a smooth, durable finish. With just a few supplies and some basic techniques, you can revive old laminate pieces and customize the look of your space.
So if you’re ready to try your hand at painting laminate yourself, read on for pro tips that will have you stylishly upgrading your furniture in no time!
How to Paint Laminate Furniture: A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide
Looking to revive laminate furniture? Painting laminate is an easy, budget-friendly way to transform the look of laminate dressers, tables, cabinets, and more. With proper preparation and application, you can create a smooth, durable painted finish on laminate surfaces.
Follow this simple DIY guide to learn pro tips for successfully painting laminate furniture yourself. We’ll walk through every step from start to finish to help you upgrade your furniture with a fresh new look.
Step 1: Prepare the Laminate Surface
Proper surface preparation is key for paint to adhere correctly to laminate. Here’s how to get your laminate piece ready for painting:
- Wipe down with a mild cleaner to remove any dirt, dust, grease, or grime. Clean laminate prevents paint problems later.
- Disassemble furniture pieces when possible to make the painting process easier. Remove doors, drawers, hardware, etc.
- Lightly sand the laminate surface with a fine-grit sandpaper. This roughens up the glossy laminate finish so the paint can grip better.
- Clean again after sanding to remove all dust. Use a lint-free tack cloth for best results.
- Mild household cleaner
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Tack cloth
Proper sanding and cleaning is essential prep work. Now the laminate is ready for paint!
Step 2: Prime the Laminate
Now that the laminate surface is prepped, it’s time to apply primer. Priming is an essential step that allows the paint to properly bond with the slick laminate surface.
Use an oil-based primer or bonding primer specifically made for slick, non-porous surfaces like laminate. Latex primers don’t adhere as well. Some good options include:
- Zinsser® Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer
- KILZ® Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Primer
- INSL-X® Stix® Waterborne Bonding Primer
Apply primer in thin, even coats using a foam roller or nylon/polyester brush. Heavier coats can lead to drips or cause soft edges. Be sure to extend the primer coat just beyond the edges of the furniture piece.
Allow proper drying time between coats based on the primer’s instructions. Typically 1-2 hours between coats works well. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper between coats for best adhesion.
2-3 thin primer coats are ideal to build up a proper base coat. Primer provides a uniform surface for the paint to stick to. Taking the time to prime correctly will help the paint job last.
- Oil-based or bonding primer
- Foam roller and/or nylon/polyester brush
- Fine grit sandpaper
Pro tip: If using water-based primer, reduce the first coat by 10% with water to help penetration into the laminate.
Primer is a crucial step that ensures proper paint adhesion. Now the laminate is ready for the colour paint coats.
Step 3: Paint the Furniture
Now for the fun part – applying the colour paint! Follow these tips for getting a smooth, durable painted finish.
Choose a high-quality latex or enamel paint for the best durability on laminate. Both provide a hard finish that stands up well to normal use and wear.
- Latex paint is easier to apply and clean up. It cures to a semi-gloss sheen.
- Enamel paint provides the hardest finish most similar to original laminate. It cures to a glossy sheen.
Apply the paint in thin, even coats using a foam roller and angled brush. Thin coats prevent drips and create a smooth finish. Allow proper drying time between coats based on paint instructions.
Lightly sand between coats with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any brush marks or texture. This creates a glass-like painted finish. Be sure to clean away the dust before applying the next coat.
Use painter’s tape to create clean edges and lines. Taping off edges, hardware, and trim prevents messy paint lines. Remove the tape promptly after painting before the paint fully dries.
2-3 thin coats of paint are recommended to fully cover the primer and build up an even colour. Patience leads to the best results.
Pro tip: Add a coat of clear polyurethane over the paint for extra protection and durability.
The right supplies are painting essentials. Have these materials on hand:
- Latex or enamel paint
- Foam roller and angled sash brush
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Painter’s tape
- Paint tray
Careful paint application allows for a durable yet smooth finish. Now you can enjoy your revamped laminate furniture!
Step 4: Finish and Protect the Paint
Once the painted laminate finish has fully cured, protect it with a clear polyurethane topcoat. This helps shield the painted surface from potential scratches, chips, and wear.
After the paint has cured for the recommended time, apply 2-3 thin coats of clear polyurethane. Use a product compatible with the paint.
- For latex paint, use a water-based polyurethane.
- For enamel paint, use an oil-based polyurethane.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application, dry time, and recoating. Applying too heavily or too soon between coats can cause issues.
Use a foam brush or lint-free cloth to apply polyurethane. Work evenly over the surface to prevent drips or sags. Extend the coats just past the edges for full coverage.
Lightly sand with fine-grit sandpaper between coats to ensure a smooth finish. Be sure to remove any dust before recoating.
Polyurethane seals the painted surface and provides extra protection from potential damage over time. Taking time to apply it correctly is worth the effort.
- Clear satin or gloss polyurethane
- Foam brush or lint-free cloth
- Fine grit sandpaper
Let the finish cure fully before use. Oil-based polyurethane can take up to 7 days to harden completely. Now you can install hardware and enjoy your freshly painted laminate furniture!
Painting Laminate Furniture? Follow These Pro Tips for Success
As a homeowner, I’m always looking for budget-friendly ways to give my home a mini makeover. Painting laminate furniture is an easy DIY project that allows me to customize and update the look of my space.
After some trial and error over the years, I’ve learned some essential tips for getting professional-looking results when painting laminate.
Here are my top 8 pro tips for successfully painting laminate furniture:
1. Properly Clean the Surface
This first step is crucial. To ensure the paint adheres properly, I always wipe down the laminate thoroughly with a mild cleaner or dish soap and water. Getting into the grooves, crevices, and corners removes any dust, grease or residue that could prevent the paint from bonding. Taking doors off cabinets or disassembling furniture allows for easier access to clean every spot.
2. “Rough Up” the Slick Laminate
While laminate is super durable, the glossy surface needs a little prep for the best paint adhesion. I lightly sand using a fine 220 grit sandpaper to rough up the finish so the paint can grip better. Just a quick scuff in the direction of the wood grain does the trick—you don’t want to actually scratch the laminate.
3. Prime With Adhesion-Promoting Products
Priming creates a foundation for the paint to bond properly. Because laminate is non-porous, paint doesn’t soak in and grip the way it does on raw wood. I have the best success using an oil-based primer or a bonding primer made specifically for slick surfaces like laminate.
4. Opt for Durable Paints
Latex and enamel paints work great for laminate’s hard surface. The extra-tough finish of enamel paint mimics the original laminate. I prefer to use satin finishes for furniture since they resist scuffs. Thin, even coats allow the paint to fully dry and cure between layers.
5. Sand Between Coats
This step really helps me achieve a smooth, professional-looking finish. I lightly sand again using fine 220+ grit sandpaper between each coat of paint. This scuffs away any drips or imperfections. Removing the sanding dust with a tack cloth before the next coat is also key.
6. Seal the Painted Finish
I love to use clear polyurethane once the paint has fully cured to add extra protection and durability. The polyurethane topcoat guards against scratches, water rings, and everyday wear and tear. For laminate, I like wipe-on polyurethanes for easy application.
7. Use Painter’s Tape for Clean Results
Painter’s tape is a painter’s best friend! I use it to cover edges, borders, and any areas I want to protect from drips or overpainting. The tape helps create super sharp paint lines and edges. I remove it immediately after painting while the paint is still wet.
8. Allow Plenty of Dry Time
Having patience allows each layer of primer, paint, and polyurethane to fully dry and cure. This is so important for a long-lasting finish. I try to wait at least 24 hours between coats. The results are so worth it!
Follow these tips and you can update your laminate furniture with a fresh, custom-painted look. Just take your time, use proper paint products, and prep the surface right. Happy painting!
Painting Laminate Furniture? Avoid These 8 Common Mistakes
As a DIYer who loves repurposing laminate furniture with a freshly painted finish, I’ve made just about every mistake in the book. While painting laminate furniture can give it a stylish, updated look, the process takes patience and proper techniques.
Avoid these common missteps for the best-painted finish:
1. Skipping Surface Prep
Proper prep is crucial for paint adhesion, so don’t skip cleaning and lightly scuffing the laminate surface. Using a mild cleaner or dish soap and water, wash away any dirt, grease, or residue. This lets the paint bind directly to the laminate. Lightly sanding with 220 grit sandpaper roughs up the slick surface so paint can grip better.
2. Not Priming
Applying paint directly to laminate often leads to peeling or flaking. Laminate is non-porous, so paint doesn’t bond well without a primer coat. Use an oil-based primer or a bonding primer specifically formulated for slick surfaces. This gives the topcoats something to “stick” to.
3. Rushing the Process
Patience is key for successful results painting laminate. Rushing through steps can ruin the finish. Allow proper drying times between coats so paint cures fully. Don’t overload paint or poly on too thick, as it requires longer drying time and can drip or pool. Taking your time pays off.
4. Skipping Sanding Between Coats
For a smooth finish, lightly sanding between coats is a must. Use 220+ grit sandpaper to gently scuff and create a “tooth” for the next layer of paint. This helps hide any imperfections like drips or brush marks. Always wipe away dust before adding another coat.
5. Using the Wrong Paints
Since laminate is so slick, not all paints adhere well. Avoid standard interior wall paints, which won’t cure hard enough. Use satin or semi-gloss enamel or latex paint to get a durable finish. Oil-based paints also work, but may yellow over time.
6. Brushstrokes and Drips
Applying primer, paint, or polyurethane too thick often leads to visible brushstrokes and drips. Thin, even coats are the solution. Use a foam brush or mini foam roller to apply a smooth, consistent layer. Let it fully dry between additions.
7. Forgetting Hardware Detail
For a pro-looking end result, remove all hardware like knobs and hinges before painting. Use painter’s tape to cover any surfaces you don’t want painted. Re-attach hardware after the final clear coat fully dries.
8. No Taping Edges
Neglecting to tape off adjacent surfaces leads to messy, imprecise paint lines. Painter’s tape protects areas you don’t want painted. Apply tape around borders and edges before starting. Pull it up immediately after painting while the coat is still wet.
Avoiding these common missteps helps ensure your painted laminate furniture looks fantastic. Take your time, use proper painting products and techniques, and you’ll love the new custom look!
can you paint laminate furniture?
Yes, you can paint laminate furniture to give it a fresh new look. Laminate furniture refers to cabinets, countertops, and other items made with a plastic resin and a decorative paper overlay.
While laminate is designed to be durable and stain-resistant, the surface can become worn and dated over time. Painting laminate is a popular DIY project that allows you to update the look of your furniture affordably.
When painting laminate, there are some important steps to follow for success:
- Clean the surface thoroughly – Use a degreasing cleaner or soap and water to remove any dirt, grease, or wax. This helps the paint adhere properly.
- Lightly sand the laminate – Use fine-grit sandpaper (220-400 grit) to scuff up the shiny surface. This helps the paint grip. Be careful not to sand through the laminate overlay.
- Apply primer – Choose a high-quality primer specifically made for plastics and laminates. The primer creates a base layer for the paint.
- Use acrylic latex paint – Look for interior paint with an eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss sheen. Acrylic latex paint adheres best to laminates. Apply 2-3 thin coats for even coverage.
- Seal with polyurethane – Once the paint is fully cured, apply 1-2 coats of water-based polyurethane for added protection. The clear sealer prevents scuffs and scratches.
With the right prep and products, you can give tired laminate a bold, updated colour scheme. The painted surface holds up well to everyday wear and tear. Just avoid using harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbers, which can damage the finish over time.
FAQs: How to Paint Laminate Furniture
What paint works best on laminate?
The best paint for laminate is latex acrylic paint. Acrylic paint adheres well to the laminate surface and dries to a hard, durable finish. Make sure to use acrylic paint specifically formulated for use on plastics.
Does laminate need to be primed before painting?
Yes, laminate should be primed before painting for the best results. Priming helps the paint adhere to the slick laminate surface. Use a primer made for plastic or a multi-surface primer made for use on both wood and plastic. Let the primer dry completely before painting.
How do I get a smooth finish when painting laminate?
To get a smooth finish on painted laminate, sand lightly between coats and use a high-quality trim brush. Sanding with fine grit sandpaper smooths the surface. A quality brush gives you control for even coverage. Applying thin coats also prevents drips and brush marks.
What sheen is best for painted laminate?
For painted laminate, semi-gloss or satin finishes give the most durable yet attractive sheen. Semi-gloss or satin is shiny enough to help cleanability, but not so shiny that it looks cheap and plasticky. Stay away from flat paints that show scuffs and stains.
How long does it take for paint to dry on laminate?
On properly prepared laminate, latex acrylic paint usually dries within 1-2 hours. Drying time depends on temperature, humidity, ventilation, and paint thickness. Let the paint dry 24 hours before normal use of painted laminate surfaces.
Is painting laminate furniture durable?
Yes, painting laminate can produce a very durable finish when done properly. As long as the laminate is sanded, primed, and painted with quality acrylic paint, the painted finish can last for many years with only occasional touch-ups. Proper prep is key for long-lasting results.
Painting laminate furniture opens up so many possibilities for customizing and updating the look of your home without the high cost of buying new furniture. With some simple preparation, high-quality acrylic paint, and proper techniques, you can transform laminate surfaces with a fresh-painted finish that lasts.
The key is to start by lightly sanding the laminate and applying a plastic-specific primer to help the paint adhere. Use a quality trim brush and apply thin, even coats of latex acrylic paint formulated for plastics. Allow proper drying time between coats.
Finish with a durable semi-gloss or satin sheen. With a little time and effort, you can freshen up tired laminate furniture with a painted facelift. Try your hand at DIY painting laminate – the results can be amazing and save you money over replacement furniture.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to help with tips to make your laminate painting project a success.