PAINTING OVER HIGH GLOSS FURNITURE | MELAMINE VS FORMICA VS LAMINATE… WHAT I DIDN’T KNOW! | VIDEO TUTORIAL
Has a shiny piece of furniture ever left you scratching your head on whether it’s laminate, Formica, or melamine? Well, you’re not the only one! Today is all about Painting Over High Gloss Furniture! When I found this super shiny dresser, I thought it was time I do a little research and demystify (for myself!) the difference between Formica, melamine, and glossy laminate. Because quite honestly, even though I’ve been painting furniture for 10+ years and thought I knew the difference I was only half right! — and half wrong. 😉
It’s also Furniture Fixer Upper day my friends – one of my favorite days of the month! I’m joining my furniture painting besties and linking to their makeovers below.
Here’s the boxy-glossy dresser I started with. I picked it up from the Restore for $30. I knew it was laminate because of the slick plastic finish. Also, the grain pattern is EXACTLY the same on each drawer. I’ll be sharing another laminate indicator down below.
But before I get into the how-to, here’s the new look. SOOOO much better!!!
The Conch Silk Paint (love this color!) and revamped hardware really steal the show, don’t you think?!
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
Glossy Dresser – SALVAGED
Titebond Wood Glue
Dewalt Orbital Sander
Sandpaper | Tack Cloth
White Mud Wood Filler
B-I-N Shellac Base Primer
Conch Silk Paint
Gold Gilding Wax
FORMICA VS MELAMINE VS LAMINATE
I like keeping things simple. So after doing some research, on the difference between Formica, melamine, and laminate, here’s how I broke it down for myself.
A veneer is a Laminate. Melamine is a Laminate. Formica is a Laminate.
The term laminate can be applied to veneers, melamines, and Formica. I didn’t know this! They are ALL laminate because the definition of LAMINATE is to cover a flat surface with a layer of protective material. A thin decorative surface layer is usually glued onto a base to create a color, a pattern, or to simulate wood or granite.
I also learned Formica and Melamine (for the purpose of furniture prepping/painting) are the SAME! Melamine is a low-pressure laminate while Formica is a high-pressure laminate, but there is basically NO difference in how to prep and paint them! Good to know, right? I’ve been painting furniture for 10+ years, I did NOT know this!
Melamine Laminate – the word melamine is short for melamine-formaldehyde which is a hard plastic for surface coatings. Like what I believe is on this dresser. (But let’s say I’m wrong… it doesn’t matter because prep for ALL GLOSSY LAMINATE PIECES is the same!)
PAINTING OVER HIGH GLOSS FURNITURE
The key to painting over high gloss furniture is a good scuff sanding to break up and dull the shiny finish and an excellent BONDING PRIMER!
Also, a big question is what type of paint to use on high gloss furniture? Once your shiny piece of furniture is prepped properly — ANY type of paint will work. Chalk paints, mineral paints, latex paints, acrylic or enamel paints — paint away!
Here’s the 411 for this dresser…
CLEAN AND REPAIR
This piece had some damage. There was bubbling and scratches on the top plus some damage on the bottom. The pic below is a perfect example and dead giveaway of a laminate piece of furniture. You can see an additional layer has been placed on the wood and that it’s peeling away to expose the MDF.
I sanded the imperfections with an 80 grit and my Dewalt Orbital sander. The reason for sanding is to scuff this glossy surface so it accepts a bonding primer. I did more than a ‘scuff sand’ because of the damage on this piece. If you’re not into sanding, you can use this product here but be sure to read the next step before you decide.
PRIME & PATCH
You might be wondering why I didn’t use Slick Stick… it’s because Slick Stick is for BONDING but NOT bleed through. And once I sanded down the bubbled top and damaged areas, there was bare wood showing which would lead to bleed through in the finish.
If your glossy furniture is in need of some repair and you have to do a little more than scuff sand, to ensure no bleed-through, I suggest this shellac-based primer.
B-I-N is my go-to bonding primer because it’s a stain blocker as well but I’ve heard good reviews on Gripper, Stix, Bulls Eye 123 and, Kilz Adhesion to name a few. If you’ve tried any of these I’d love to hear how you like them!
I gave it two coats of primer and patched the imperfections with this wood filler. TIP – I sometimes like to apply one coat of primer and then do my patchwork. The primer makes it so much easier to see every scratch or flaw that needs some wood fill. Then I sand and apply my second coat of primer.
I sprayed two coats of this Conch Silk Paint. This was my first time using this color. Feminine and calming… it’s gorgeous!
This paint is self-leveling and brushes on beautifully but I’m kind of addicted to spraying it. Here it is in progress.
I found these MCM feet with brass bottoms that I had taken off of this dresser here.
I thought they would be perfect to add a little height and interest to this box dresser. Plus the brass on the bottom goes SO well with the newly painted hardware!
To finish this piece I scuff-sanded some old hardware and painted them with Golden Gemstone Mousse. * Update – I don’t believe the Gemstone Mousse is available any longer but this Gold Gilding Wax is a great alternative. Omgosh… I absolutely love how they turned out and it pairs with the Conch perfectly!
I’m loving this new look!
Here’s the step-by-step on Youtube. If you have any problems viewing below, feel free to watch it on my Youtube Channel here… and don’t forget to subscribe! 🙂
AND NOW FOR SOME FURNITURE FIXER-UPPER FUN!
3. SALVAGED INSPIRATIONS (HAPPY YOU’RE HERE!)
Here’s another look at this before and after. I hope it’s inspired you and given you some new ideas for your high gloss projects.
LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS FURNITURE FLIP. ALSO, DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BONDING PRIMER OR PRODUCT FOR HIGH-GLOSS FURNITURE? I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. IT MAKES MY DAY! 🙂
Also, a big thank you for all the well wishes in regard to the kidney stone ER visit. You are the sweetest… thank you!
Happy furniture painting friends!
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