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How to Paint Flat Packed Veneer Laminate Wood & Chipboard Furniture

Updated on June 23, 2014

How to paint veneer laminate wood furniture.

What are laminate woods ?

Laminates are fine strips of synthetic material or wood, bonded together with a resin. This manufacturing process produces smooth exterior finishing for much of today's modern furniture.

Medium Density Fiberboard ( MDF ) or chipboard / contiboard are the typical types of man made wood boards used in furniture construction of which are covered with laminates.

The veneer is designed to keep the interior boards dry, keep out insects, and provide a smooth surface which is long lasting and easily cleaned.

Thrift stores, charity shops, and other outlets for used furniture allows old furniture to be bought at very cheap and discounted prices.

Step 1


Remove all hinges, handles and any other foreign objects from the laminated furniture to be painted.

Piece by piece, disassemble the flat packed furniture item, whether it is a chest of drawers, shelving unit, or wardrobe. This will allow even strokes of the roller or brush when painting.

Most chipboard or MDF furniture is not made to be dissembled easily, and can break, chip, or even fall apart during the process. If in doubt, leave it whole and paint it as it is.

Step 2


The coating veneer provides no key for almost any substance to adhere effectively. Like any surface, it needs to provide a surface to which paint can stick to.

If no effective surface is offered, then the paint will be more difficult to put on and will flake off quite easily.

Using a normal orbital sander with a fine sandpaper, simply sand over each piece to be painted several times.

This will make the veneer lose color.

By hand, sand any corners or recesses to ensure a 'key' for any paint which is to be added.

Step 3


Do not attempt to paint without first applying undercoat. The undercoat is usually more coarse paint which will adhere to laminates. You will also use less coats of the finishing paint.

Apply sparingly with a radiator roller or other small roller. Allow to dry as to manufacturers recommendations and then apply a second coat.

The second coat will help fill any larger scratches and give a good base color and cover over all the darker laminate color.

Please allow to dry as per instructions for a better finish.

Step 4


Once the undercoat has dried, very lightly sand it. This will remove any small bubbles or foreign objects which may of landed on the undercoat whilst it was drying.

Using a small roller, apply the first coat of paint sparingly. There is never any need to apply to much paint at once. Several thin coats present a better finish than one or two thick coats.

For corners and recesses, use a fine painting brush. Once the first coat has been applied, seek out and remove any blobs or drips of paint.

After the drying time has passed according to manufacturers instructions, apply the second coat in the same way.

Continue applying coats until the desired color or shade has been achieved. This is usually 2-3 coats.

Step 5


This is an integral part of keeping the newly painted furniture in pristine condition for years.

Without it, the paint is easily susceptible to scratches, stains from coffee cups and food and will discolor in a short amount of time.

The polyacrylic varnish will help protect the paint from the elements and dyes in drinks and food. It also allows the unit to be kept cleaner easier and gives a soft shine to the paint.

This type of furniture renovation is an ideal way to help save money and adorn a home with loved and color co-ordinated pieces of art.

Step 6


Put the item of furniture back together. Add on the handles, hinges etc etc.

Some people prefer to reassemble the furniture prior to coating the piece with polyacrylic.

This method reduces any chance of scratching the polyacrylic.


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