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Rescued Furnishings

How to paint Laminate Furniture!

You may remember our giveaway from the very beginning of the year. We combined a dresser with a Newborn photo session from Michelle Lunn Photography. 
If you are refinishing a laminate piece of furniture this post will help you tremendously. How do you know if you are dealing with laminate? 
Laminate usually has a gloss. If it is yellow french provincial than there is likely laminate SOMEWHERE ON IT. Usually the top. Sometimes laminate looks like wood veneer. To know the difference...take a power sander and start sanding. If it starts to just look dull or chalky but you are clearly not going through the finish with in a couple seconds then it is probably laminate. Often times parts of a piece will be laminate and parts will be veneer. Laminate is much more challenging to paint. 
So here we go! We have laminate folks! In this case, this piece had a horrible yellow coating and hard white laminate top. 
Step 1) Take all the hardware off!
Step 2) This step depends on what kind of paint you are using. In this case, we were using latex. So we sanded through the yellowing cover. You can see in the picture below we went down to bare wood or at least down to where it was white.   YAY for wood!
Step 3) Sand all the edges! The top of this was a solid piece of laminate..which is sooo depressing. I roughed it up as best I could with 80 grit sand paper and then used 120 grit to go over it again. However, I got a lovely surprise! The edges of this were solid wood! Even around the curves! I am telling you this because often times...even on the high end wood french provincial the edges (or sometimes the corners) are particle board so you have to be extra careful sanding this area. 
Step 4) Clean the dresser using a TSP solution. This is an "extra" step but helps to get the piece ready to paint. It is especially important for laminate and we ALWAYS do this step no matter laminate or not.  Then clean the TSP off because paint doesn't actually adhere to TSP. (ironic right?)
Step 5) Prime! We use BIN 123. It is a water based primer but has a lot of the oil based qualities. It is my favorite one. We sand after this step as well! We don't typically prime furniture because General Finishes paints are actually a better quality paint than primer but laminate is one of those special exceptions where any extra assistance can be welcome. Somtimes, certain laminates don't need it but if you are a novice I reccomend just priming it.  If it is a white laminate, you should always prime. White laminates are the most difficult surface to paint. WHY?!?!?!??! I have no idea. But if you do, please share :) 
Step 6) Paint!! We always use General Finishes paints. It has amazing adhesion properties. Technically, it is a no prep paint as well but you all know I don't believe in no prep. :) When painting laminate, be sure to let the paint properly dry between each coat. No rushing. Lightly sand between coats when painting laminate as well. 
Step 7) SEAL! We now seal everything with Modern Masters Supreme. It's durability is unmatched and we have used at least a dozen different kinds of sealers.There is a learning curve but so worth it! 
Do you have any laminate tips??
Jan 28, 2017

Wish top had been left alone. High grit paper cleans top beautifully! Left white with white accents would have been amazing.

Gloria Arzadon
Sep 24, 2016

Which Modern Masters Supreme sheen did you use? Matte?

I noticed this listed on their under all 4 sheens:

“MasterClear Supreme is not recommended for surfaces painted with Metallic Paint Collection, white or light colored surfaces or for use on floors”

I am putting it on white furniture like your did, but now am concerned why they suggest not putting it on white.

Mar 19, 2016

ThankYou for explaining the process! I have six pieces of a bedroom set, all have the laminate top. It’s going to be a long project!

Mar 11, 2015

I love these! Did you have to sand the piece first? I want to paint a coffee table but I’m afirad to. Is there a special kind of paint you have to use?


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