If you google “How to paint laminate furniture” you will get dozens of different results. Â Being able to paint cheap laminate furniture and give it new life is the hallmark of the DIY blogger. Â I will admit that until recently I usually ignored these posts. Â I’ve been painting laminate furniture since before most of these bloggers were out of diapers – back in the day when everyone said it was impossible to do! Â I got great results – I have a cheap WalMart shelf in my kitchen that I first painted 19 years ago and it still looks great – but it was labor intensive with days of sanding, priming, painting and more sanding to get the desired results.
Well, I am glad that this old dog finally paid attention to some of those DIY bloggers and learned a new trick; I’m converted! Â I have always used Kilz brand primer, and I’m sure I still will, but what I have learned is that some primers are gripping primers and some are not. Â If you want to paint a surface that the paint won’t adhere to, you’ve got to give it something to stick to. Â Enter this wonder:
It grips to the surface to be painted with NO SANDING. I bought this straight off the shelf at Home Depot (have them shake it up for you while you’re there!). Â It is pretty pricey stuff, but it seems to go a long way. Â It comes in both white and grey; get white if your paint is light and use grey if it is dark.
I had an Ikea wardrobe that I have been wanting to paint forever, but I knew all that sanding was going to be a pain so I kept putting it off. Â I thought this was the perfect project to try out the Gripper on.
I forgot to take a picture of it before I took the doors off, but you get the idea…
Take the doors off, tape around the mirror and remove or tape all the hardware. Â I chose not to paint the inside, so I taped around there too. Â Give everything a good coat of the Gripper with a regular brush or roller.
You can see here that I wasn’t even too careful about getting the coat even. Â Here are my thoughts on this – I wanted this finished project to be something I could sand back into and expose some of the “wood” underneath. Â Usually when you try that on laminate furniture, the paint will just lift right off. Â I was curious how it would work here, so I only did one coat of Gripper. Â I have a dresser that I used it on that I wanted to be solid and smooth so I used 2 coats of Gripper and I was more careful to brush it on smoothly.
Let that dry according to the directions on the can, then cover with the paint of your choice. Â I didn’t get a picture of this step, but I used 2 coats of pale blue Satin interior house paint
Once that is dry, I went over the whole piece with a fine grit sandpaper on a small detail electric sander, roughing up the whole surface and concentrating (holding my breath!) in a few spots along the edges to wear the paint down to the wood. Â The paint came off very worn and natural-looking just as if it had been on raw wood! Â Wonderful!
Next I put on a wood stain. Â Just brush it all over with a paintbrush – working in small sections –
and then rub it back off with a rag. Â If you want it darker, then leave the stain on longer. Â If you want it lighter, continue to rub and buff it off with a rag until you get the desired results. Â Be sure to leave more stain in the crevices and cracks, where age build up would naturally occur.
Replace the doors and hardware – I got these cute little white ceramic knobs on a 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby for $2/knob. Â I saw the exact same knobs at Anthropologie for $7!
This has been sitting in the middle of our massive-messy remodel now for 3 weeks waiting patiently for us to finish the floor in it’s eventual home. Â It has been bumped, scraped, brushed up against and generally abused and it still looks great and COULD NOT have been easier to do.