In this blog post, I’m going to describe to you the easiest way to paint laminate furniture – and distress it too! After all, everyone loves a modern farmhouse these days. I know I do.
A few weeks ago, I decided to try painting my laminate dresser that had been scratched pretty badly during our move. I know laminate dressers can’t really be repaired, so I wondered… could I just paint it? I’m not much of a handy woman, so I had to read a few different blog posts before I even knew if was possible to paint laminate furniture. I found a few blogs about painting with chalk paint, but I didn’t find one single post about distressing laminate furniture. I didn’t even know if it could be done! But I wanted to distress my dresser and make it look rustic. So, I just went for it… and it worked!
My entire project cost me under $60. I ordered everything online from Home Depot and did curbside pick-up. Here’s what I bought:
- Fine Grit Sanding Block
- Paint Brush
- Chalk Paint
- Decorative Wax – this one does not turn yellow
- Ultra-Fine Sanding Sheet
- Old T-Shirt or Rags
Here’s how I did it (aka: the easy way):
Step 1: Prep
Remove the handles from the dresser drawers using a screwdriver
Step 2: Prime
This is where some people sand the dresser. I did not! I don’t have patience for that crap. Instead, I chose to simply prime the dresser with a clear spray primer. Why? Because it sprays… therefore it’s less work! Again, I’m super impatient, so I let the primer dry for only 20-30 minutes before I decided to go in with the chalk paint.
IMPORTANT: Do not skip this priming step. I initially tried painting the chalk paint directly onto the dresser because people say that chalk paint can stick to anything. The chalk paint did not stick to my dresser. Once I primed the entire dresser though, which took only a few minutes, the paint stuck immediately.
Step 3: Paint
Here’s the fun part! You’ve finally done the pre-work, now you get to actually see a difference. Paint the dresser! I used a standard paint brush that I had lying around the house & Rustoleum Chalk Paint in shade Linen White. One thing I noticed with the chalk paint is that it dries very quickly. I recommend working fairly fast. Don’t worry about your first coat too much, as you will apply a second. Just get a nice & even base. I waited about an hour before applying the second coat. I painted both coats before moving onto sanding – no sanding in between coats for me!
Step 4: Sand
Now that you’ve painted the furniture, you’ll notice that it feels a bit… chalky! This is where it gets messy. You’ll want to lightly sand the furniture to create a smooth finish. I used a fine sanding block, which made this job super easy. You won’t have to apply much pressure at all. The roughness comes off fairly easily, but it does get messy! Wear a mask if you wish. Gently sand the piece until you feel like it’s smooth all over.
Step 5: Distress
Okay, this part is fun too! Here is where you get to be creative. Distress this baby! I found it was easier to use a finer sand paper sheet here, so I had more control over the distressing process. Start with the top of the dresser & distress the edges. Just go for it! You literally can’t make it look bad – don’t worry! I suggest starting with a little bit first because you can always add more. Once I got confident in my distressing, I made my way to the drawers and began distressing all of the areas where the wood pieces met (the corners of the drawers and front faces). I even got a little crazy and decided to distress the actual surface of the dresser in some places. I also switched back and forth between my sanding block and the sand paper sheet to create different textures in places.
Step 6: Wipe Down
Your entire work area will recovered with chalk now! My friend Taylor taught me a trick: if you have a leaf blower handy, blow the extra chalk off with the blower. It works like a charm! If you don’t have a blower, grab a cloth and dust the dresser off the best that you can. Using a damp cloth will help you get the extra chalk off.
Step 7: Wax
Now it’s time to grab that old t-shirt or paint rag that I talked about. You’re going to wax! If you’re painting your furniture white, make sure to use this specific wax: Behr’s Clear Decorative Wax. I did a ton of research before selecting this wax and it is one of the only waxes that doesn’t have a yellow finish.
Use the cloth and dip it in the wax then apply in strokes to the dresser. It sounds more complex than it really is. I had no idea what I was doing here, but it turned out great! Just create a smooth layer of wax on the entire piece of furniture. This will seal it. Let it dry & voila! You’re finished! If you want extra protection, you can apply another layer of wax. I only applied one layer and my dresser has remained in perfect condition! This stuff is great.
I had plenty of chalk paint left over after this project – it goes a long way. So, I ended up painting a tall mirror of mine as well. I still have the nightstands to go, but that’s for another day. It’s summer in Florida after all… I really need to get a fan for my garage.