How to paint laminate?


I have 2 cheap laminated book cases I would like to paint, but, am a little leery cause I don't want to ruin them.

  18 answers
  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Jul 31, 2020

    They’re probably melamine or “foil”, over particle board. This is paper thin plastic.

    If the particle board is exposed at the edges or gouged, water based paints will soak into the exposed particle board and “mushroom” which will ruin them. So chalk paint is out.

    I would consider spraying them with enamel spray paint after cleaning them with acetone (nail polish remover).

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on Jul 31, 2020

    You could spray paint them

  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Jul 31, 2020

    Instead of using paint, you could try covering them with Contact paper or self-stick wallpaper.

  • William William on Jul 31, 2020

    Clean well. Prime with Kilz primer. Then paint

  • Good to know William!

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Jul 31, 2020

    Good primer and then any paint can go on

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jul 31, 2020

    Hello Selarson,

    If it is laminated wood finish, use Easy Surface Primer (ESP) then undercoat and then paint. Don't over wet the surface, let it dry well between coats and don't try to rush the drying by using a heat source. Best wishes.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Aug 01, 2020

    Hi! Clean and use a good primer like Kilz so you have better adhesion. Good luck and stay safe!

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Aug 01, 2020

    Quality paint and brushes are not inexpensive anymore.

    If the book cases are cheap, think about how much money you want to put into them and decide first if they are worth it before you rush out and start purchasing supplies.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 01, 2020

    A good deglosser will get you started. Then a primer such as Kilz or Zinsser 123, the the paint of your choice. I prefer using a small sponge roller so there's no brush makrs, though a brush is sometimes necessary in small areas. Even then you'll need to take additional care not to scrape the paint with anything too sharp. Also, be sure to let the paint dry very well between coats and let the piece "cure" well before adding items back into the bookcase; otherwise items left on the shelves for a lengthy time may "stick" and remove the paint when removed.

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Aug 02, 2020

    Hi, laminate is pretty easy to paint if you prep it well before the time. Probably the most important thing is to sand it so the paint has something to grip onto and wipe it down well afterwards to get rid of any sanding dust. Have fun, I'm sure your bookcases are going to turn out beautifully

  • Cindy Cindy on Aug 02, 2020

    I would put contact paper on them. Wal Mart sells some pretty patterns at a reasonable price and easy to use.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 03, 2020

    Hello a good bonding primer would be recommended after a cleaning. The prep that goes into a project can ensure results you’ll be happy with.

  • Janice Janice on Aug 04, 2020

    You can purchase a "deglosser" from your local home improvement store along with a package of steel wool. Apply the deglosser to the laminate and rub in a circular motion wherever you intend to paint. Rinse with a clean damp cloth until all is removed, let dry and paint with a primer, then the paint color of your choice. A lot of work and often will take 2-3 coates of paint to get a nice smooth finished look but well worth the effort if you plan to keep the bookcases long term.

  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Aug 05, 2020

    Here's a post I wrote about my experience painting laminate -

  • Betsy Betsy on Aug 06, 2020

    Hi Selarson: I agree with the rest, but I would seal the cut edges before painting. What to use? Well, a solvent-based primer such as oil or lacquer is required to prep the surface for paint. Latex, oil or lacquer paints can be used once the primer dries. Or, apply a coat of clear acrylic sealant to all edges of the boards. Add an extra layer to any area that might be exposed to moisture. Do this by shaking up the can of sealant, opening the lid with a screwdriver and painting the product onto the wood using a paintbrush. Good luck

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 07, 2020


    Hope it works for you!

    You can paint with a preparation called ESP first and then pain as you like after.