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Follow this tutorial to see how to paint laminate furniture the easy way. With this no sanding, no priming method, you can paint laminate furniture in three easy steps.

Follow this tutorial to see how to paint laminate furniture the easy way. With this no sanding, no priming method, you can paint laminate furniture in three easy steps.

Follow this easy, 3-step process to paint laminate furniture – no sanding and no priming!

Today I’m going to share with you what I call the lazy girl method for painting furniture. There is no sanding and no priming for super easy prep. Everything that you’re going to use is water-based, as opposed to oil based, which means that washing your paintbrushes and cleaning up is going to be easy. This also means that there are no harsh fumes or special ventilation to worry about.

Let’s get painting!

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Watch this VIDEO to see my Step-by-Step process for painting laminate furniture:

Here are a few helpful links from this video:

How to Paint Laminate Furniture

For this project I decided to paint this little IKEA shelf that will eventually be part of the dining room table IKEA hack. Sorry, it’s not a big fancy before and after reveal. We are just going from Ikea gray to black, so the shelf coordinates with my furniture.  

How to Paint Ikea Furniture

When painting IKEA furniture, I tend to prefer painting all of the furniture pieces first, and then I assemble. This really only works when you are buying IKEA furniture brand-new. If you buy something off of craigslist, it makes more sense to paint the already assembled piece.  There will just be more nooks, crannies, and corners to watch out for and make sure paint doesn’t drip or pool.

Setting up a Workspace to Paint Laminate Furniture

You can see here that you don’t need a special workspace for painting. I ended up just laying all of the shelf pieces on the flattened IKEA cardboard boxes in my living room.

how to paint ikea furniture before assembling

Supplies Needed to Paint Laminate Furniture

For this painting process you need three products a liquid sandpaper or deglosser, milk paint, and the clear protective finish. I prefer the General Finishes brand paint and clear finish which I will link to below. I buy my General Finishes paints at my local WoodCraft store. The staff there is always super knowledgeable and helpful, but you can order online if you don’t have a store nearby.

Supplies Needed to Paint Laminate Furniture

Here are a few helpful links:

First things first, you want to be sure your furniture piece is clean to begin with. Since I started with a brand-new piece of furniture from IKEA, I went straight to the liquid sandpaper for this. I just wear rubber gloves and grab a scrub cloth. You just saturate the cloth and wipe down a section of the furniture. As you move between different sections or areas of the furniture you want to be sure that you are using a fresh clean section of the cloth. This means that if you are painting a larger or more intricate piece, you will end up using 2 or 3 scrub cloths.

Use a good quality paint brush or else I recommend using a foam roller. On this project I used an angled brush for the paint and a foam roller for the clear topcoat. You’ll notice there is no sanding and no priming. Because I used the liquid sandpaper I don’t need to sand. And milk paint is such high quality that you don’t need to prime. I have used this exact same milk paint on shelves in my kids playroom and two years later there’s not a scratch on them. This paint is seriously the real deal.

How Many Coats of Paint does it Take?

I had complete coverage with this paint in three coats. I’ve sped it up and skipped the dry time between coats. I usually wait 4 hours between coats, so you will spend considerably more time waiting for coats to dry than you will actually painting.

Here’s what my shelf pieces looked like after each coat:

How to Paint Ikea Laminate Furniture - How laminate furniture looks after each of three coats of milk paint

Also, don’t feel like you need to wash your paintbrush between coats. I like to wrap the end of my brush or my foam roller cover in a damp paper towel and then stick the whole thing in a plastic bag in the fridge. If you’re going to finish your painting project within a few days, this is a great way to skip all of that unnecessary washing.

How to keep a paintbrush from drying out between coats

After my three coats of black paint had dried, it was time for the top coat to protect my shelf. I LOVE General Finished high performance topcoat in a satin finish. I’ve used it on several furniture pieces. Since it’s water-based it goes on without any fumes and clean up is a breeze. Once it’s dried, it’s incredibly durable and washes up well.  I typically use 2 coats on a lesser-used item like a dresser, but I actually used over 6 coats on my DIY dining table top.

Painted Furniture Assembly

Before I assembled my shelf, I had to take care of paint that had pooled in the shelf peg holes. For this I like to use a penblade to scrape away any dried paint, but you could use a razor blade just as well.

So, that’s it! My lazy girl method for painting furniture. Like I’ve said, I’ve used this method on furniture pieces for my kids, so I know the finish holds up well. The only thing you’re really limited by are the hues of milk paint that are offered, but I’ve never found that to be a real issue.

I hope you enjoyed this painting tutorial. Until next time, happy making!

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