Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Guest Post: How to Properly Paint Laminate Furniture

Today we have a guest post by Jennifer Riner from . She will be teaching us how to properly paint laminate furniture. 

Take it away, Jennifer!

Source: Lukas Machnik

Some do-it-yourself enthusiasts mistakenly assume their painting and restoring efforts can only be applied to wood furnishings. Luckily for laminate owners, painting over plastic is possible and relatively simple.
To detect laminate, closely observe the coating. Laminate furniture is covered by a thin layer of clear plastic. Unlike wood, laminate surfaces cannot be sanded down to absorb a fresh coat of paint evenly. Therefore, stylists looking to restore laminate pieces should complete the following steps for best results.

Clean and Repair
Make sure surfaces are clean of any debris or dirt by scrubbing with antibacterial solutions or soap and water at least twice before painting. Use wet cloths to remove any soap residue and remove ingrained dirt with small picks or toothbrushes. Use a cloth to dry surfaces completely before priming.
Dented or damaged laminate can be repaired before painting. Heat a traditional clothes iron to medium heat and cover the dent with a few drops of water and an old cloth. Position the iron onto the damaged spot and let sit for 15 seconds or until the dent pops back out. Wait until the surface cools before continuing with priming.
To repair chips and divots, apply wood filler into flaws and allow to dry overnight.

Prime Carefully
Pick cool, dry rooms to use as work spaces for renovating laminate furniture. Homes in warm climates tend to trap humidity, causing paint to bubble – especially on challenging surfaces such as laminate. Opt for air-conditioned spaces and don’t set furniture in direct sunlight during the process.
Since laminate cannot be sanded, priming is a vital step in ensuring top coats adhere properly. Otherwise, paint tends to visibly rise after drying. Use primers to create surfaces that won’t scratch, peel or emit odors.
Some restoration experts recommend using shellac-based primers, as they tend to stick to surfaces easily. Apply one to two coats of primer, precisely covering all spots evenly. Oil-based primers are also effective at casing laminate surfaces for optimal effects.

Paint and Seal
After allowing ample time for primers to set – preferably overnight – gather angled paintbrushes and foam rollers. Angled brushes help paint get into hard-to-reach edges and corners. Smooth over surfaces with foam rollers for a mark-free finish. Use two coats so faux-wood finishes on linoleum stay concealed. Remember to lay tarps down before painting to avoid messes that could potentially ruin carpets and hardwoods.
Seal with polycrylic or wax protective finishes. Brush one to two coats on top of dry paint, allowing a few hours in between each coat for pieces to dry.
Laminate can even be distressed to match more rustic, shabby-chic interiors. Sand very lightly, careful not to break through paint and damage laminate. Or, paint over with a crackle medium and then cover in latex paint. Use an opposite hue to display a noticeable contrast between the latex and the crackle. Again, lightly sand to fit with more natural, weathered interior styles.

Don’t throw away or look past perfectly built dressers and chests just because of their plastic surfaces. They can be primed and painted to fit any room and color scheme, as long as the proper preparations take place to make sure paint sets correctly.


Thank you Jennifer! I will be trying this process out on my bookshelf... I will be sure to share the before and after pics with y'all once it is done! 

Have a good day!


  1. So does this apply to all of that cheap ikea furniture? Not sure if that's laminate or not!

    1. Some if Ikea's furniture is laminate, and I would assume this would work great for those pieces that are!


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