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The Key To Painting Laminate Furniture

One of my very first DIY furniture projects was when I was 18. I helped my best friend paint a set of identical laminate bookcases with latex paint. She needed them to display her My Little Pony collection. (She’s a little crazy, but I still love her.) We slapped a coat of white paint on the entire set and within a few minutes the paint bubbled up and peeled right off. Clearly this was not the way to paint laminate furniture. So, what is the right way?

Through this experience and many others of painting laminate furniture, I can now present you with the abundance of knowledge I have accumulated on this topic. Is it the right way? I don’t know about that, but it is what works for me.

Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 5

The particular piece I worked on for this post, is an IKEA Expedite Shelf like this one…


1. Light Sanding
This step is optional, but recommended. Laminate is smooth and glossy. Lightly sanding it dulls the surface enough to assist the primer and paint to affix for a long lasting look.

Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 1

2. Primer
Primer is awesome, and the key to the success of this entire project. It sticks to the laminate and creates the perfect surface for your paint to adhere to. It will help prevent the paint from peeling or being scratched. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer is generally my pick, but Kilz works well too. I usually let it dry overnight, but some primers can ready in just an hour. Be sure to check the label for accurate timing.

Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 2

3. Curing Time
This is also a very important step. Because latex paint can be a little tacky and sticky for a while even after it’s dry to touch, it is important to let the furniture sit without being used for at least one to three weeks after being painted. I know this sounds like a crazy amount of time, but it really pays off in the end. You know when you touch two items recently painted, the paint from one will peel off on the other. This curing time will allow the paint to harden and you will avoid this little problem.

Tips for Painting Laminate Furniture 3

Have you ever attempted painting laminate furniture? If so, was it a success or a fail? Tell us all about your experience in the comments! We would love to hear from you!


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