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Painting Laminate Furniture {and other lengthy tales}

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I've been wanting to paint two pieces of laminate furniture for a long time. They both lived in our guest room and were mismatched. The dresser was a medium Oak color while the bookcase was a light Birch color. Neither color looked attractive and both had a little wear.

I figured if they were only being used here and there for guests and "decoration", why not try a little paint to bring some life back into them?

So I dragged both into the garage, gathered my supplies, and went to town. After two coats of primer, three coats of paint, and two coats of polycrylic I've refreshed a dresser and a bookcase {that now match!} I couldn't be happier!

Here's how you can do it, too. And don't be intimidated by the number of steps involved. I broke things down pretty darn simply because I wanted to add photos of some of the in-between steps.

 - Go shopping: buy medium to fine grit sandpaper, a primer that can be used on laminate furniture {I did lots of research and ended up with this Zinsser BIN Shellac base one}, a crappy brush for the primer that can be tossed out afterwards, a quart of paint in the color and finish you desire, a nicer brush and/or roller that will be washed and reused, and a polycrylic for the top layer.

- Prep your area. You're going to be painting for a few days, so make sure there's space around you and you don't need to use the area you're painting in while everything is drying. {See the blue in the corner in the photo above? That's an ugly old blanket that protected our garage floor from paint drips.}

- Lightly sand your furniture with your sandpaper. You don't have to go crazy - just a quick once over will do. Then wipe off all the dust and grime with a moist towel. Let air dry.
Yes, I realize this isn't the bookcase... this is a laminate table that I also redid at the same time. It just so happened these pictures turned out about sixteen times better than the photos of the process of the bookcase. Be on the lookout for the table makeover and office reveal in the upcoming weeks!

- Bust out your primer and crappy brush. Paint a light layer on your pieces. It's going to look streaky and horrible and bad... and you're going to curse yourself for even starting such an ugly project. But it gets better, I promise you.

- Let the first coat of primer dry {according to package directions, mine was 45 minutes} and apply a second coat.
Remember that comment about looking streaky after one coat? Yeahhh...

- Let the second coat of primer dry and apply a light layer of your color using your nicer paintbrush. There's going to be a longer dry time on this coat so I suggest tossing your good paintbrush into a zippered plastic bag so you don't have to wash it and it doesn't dry out and ruin the brush..
While this may look gray, it's actually the table after two coats of white primer.  That's what I get for shooting photos in a garage. Lesson learned!

- Let the first coat of color dry according to the package directions and apply a light layer of color again. By now, you should start seeing how lovely your furniture will look when it's not the laminate or a streaky primed piece. It's all coming together - I told you! Note: this was the end of Day 1 for me

- Let the second coat of color dry and apply your last coat of color.

- Let your final coat of color dry {I gave it some extra time between coats just to ensure the paint was dry all the way through} and then apply the first coat of poly with your nice paintbrush that has been washed.

- I waited a couple days between poly coats because the can said to wait at least 24 hours... so I doubled that and called it good. After the two days passed, I applied my final coat of poly.

- I waited three days before even touching the furniture after the final coat of poly was applied. So far, even with moving it around and bumping it into every wall between our guest room and the garage, it's held up just fine. no chips or paint tears here!

This is how the bookcase looks today - nice, right? At the very least it's definitely an improvement over the laminate from before!

Come back tomorrow to see how I transformed the back of the bookcase. Spoiler: it's cheap and easy!

check this out!

1 comment:

  1. Love this, it looks so pretty! It is amazing what a few little touches can do :)


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