I am excited to introduce my very first DIY furniture painting project! (Well, it’s my first completed piece since last year’s coffee table that ended up half sanded and hauled to the dump). This time, my special motivation was our move into a NEW HOUSE! So I am basically going through a crazy non-pregnant nesting phase and refinishing everything in site.


This beautiful bookcase actually came from a friend who moved off island recently. When she sent me this picture, I wasn’t sure if I could refinish it because it’s not solid wood. Well, I just took a look-see on Pinterest and there was all kinds of advice on how to paint laminate furniture. It’s really just as simple as a light sand, primer, 1-2 coats of paint and sealer!


Since this was my first project, I hadn’t planned on taking pictures of every step, but you will at least get to see the before and after. I also didn’t go out and buy every tool or material I needed. I borrowed from the husband or bought the absolute minimum, not necessarily expecting to continue after this piece.




You’ll want a medium grit sand paper (I stole some from my husband’s workspace in the garage), but they have all kinds at any paint or hardware store. I did this lightly by hand on every side of the bookcase where I would paint. According to my Pinterest sources, sanding is roughing up the material to allow the primer / paint to adhere. In later news, I graduate to an electric sander (way way way faster).




I took a simple paint brushing applied a white primer (it’s usually white anyway) to the sanded areas. You don’t need to worry about being too meticulous with this step, just get it on there and get good coverage. It was dry to the touch within an hour.






I went to Sherwin Williams and picked a really light minty blue-y chic color called Copen Blue and had them shake me up a $7 sample container in a satin finish. The guy was like, “You know this is recycled paint, right? Like, it will probably chip off easily.” As in, I needed to buy the $20 gallon of “real” paint for it to come out right.


“Really?” I asked. “Even if I prime it first and coat it with polycryclic? Because I don’t need that much paint. ” (I had just read that on Pinterest like an hour before).


“Oh, well then it should be fine,” he said.




The kids and I rolled this on with a tiny touch-up roller and a small paintbrush for the hard to reach corners. Dried within and hour and applied a second coat for a nice non-streak finish.


Clear Coat


One of the articles said to use Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish. The Sherwin Williams guy reminded me that the Minwax-Polycrylic-600x568paint I use needs to be water-based to work with this kind of coating. Otherwise an oil based pairing would work better together. Why this type of coating vs. polyurethane? Because it’s better for inside furniture pieces, dries fast, and I just had to pick one for my first trial run. Here are some more tips on the difference between polycrylic and polyurethane.


Contact Paper Backing


The last thing I did was to add contact paper to the back. The paper was a $5 roll at City Mill, our local hardware store. I had to unscrew the thin wood backing that came off in four separate pieces (it was like 30 screws…bleh), cut and trimmed the contact paper to each piece and reapply all the screws. Although it was more work, it was much cleaner than applying the paper from inside the bookcase.


Contact Paper – Peachy Green Speckled (my own name for it) matched my color perfectly!



Before and After


I’m going for that French Country Farmhouse look in a relatively small cottage type house, so it’s important to me that our furniture be refinished in lighter colors to make the rooms feel open an airy. DIY success!






…but it didn’t stop there. More painted furniture to come.


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