How to Paint and Distress a Laminate Bookshelf

5 Materials
4 Hours

Hi friends! My name is Mauri and I blog at where I share ideas for all things home to help women bring beauty into their homes and ultimately make them places to gather. I love sharing easy-to-follow, budget-friendly, and beautiful DIY tutorials!

Here's an overview of how to very easily and inexpensively give laminate furniture an antique look. I have the full, detailed tutorial on my blog!

Here's the before picture of the laminate piece that I got at Goodwill for $25. If it's not already painted, no need for rough sanding. Just some light sanding will do.
Paint the entire piece with regular latex paint you'd find at Lowe's or Home Depot. No need for priming!
After you fully paint your furniture with a few solid coats of latex, you'll use some acrylic paint to make spots all over your furniture where you're going to end up giving it a crackled look.
Once the acrylic paint dries, you'll generously spread Elmer's glue on the spots.
After applying the Elmer's glue, let it sit for just a bit and then generously apply another coat of latex paint over the glue/acrylic spot with the paint roller.
You'll see it crackle after just a few minutes.

Once you've done all of the crackle, you can do some dry-brushing to give it more of a distressed look.
After it's completely dry, it's time for the finishing touches! Put on the backing...
And some wooden detail.
Such a beautiful piece without too much work or financial investment!
You'll have so much fun with this project!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Tanya Miller Swing
    Tanya Miller Swing
    on Oct 13, 2018

    Omg! It’s beyond gorgeous!! Thank you for sharing this with us! Would the Elmer’s glue distress technique work on any type of furniture or glass or ceramic? Just curious... THANK YOU!😊❤️

  • Teresa
    on Nov 9, 2019

    Looks nice but how about posting the redo also?

  • Grambo
    on Nov 9, 2019

    Where did the doors come from, you didn't mention them?

    • Jacx
      on Nov 10, 2020

      They were a part of the piece to start with, look at the photos once again and you'll see her painting the doors.

Join the conversation

2 of 41 comments
  • Jacx
    on Nov 10, 2020

    Love this idea, to use Elmer's glue. I bought a kit once, it cost the moon and barely got the piece done! The side wasn't really good. This is inexpensive and wonderful!

  • Carolina
    on Nov 10, 2020

    That is a big WOW. Beautiful and unexpected.

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