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Chalk Paint Laminate Furniture Using Spray Paint

I've been holding onto a few home DIY posts for a couple of months, and I can't wait to start sharing them with you guys today! I wanted to make it through the holiday craziness before I started dropping all of these ideas in your lap. 🙂 I'm so excited to start showing peeks of our home and let you know how everything got there at the same time.

Let's start with our playroom furniture! It doesn't look like it now, but this was previously a very cheap set of laminate furniture that Noah and I bought when we were first married. It definitely showed its age too – it was covered with water spots and cup rings.

See? Not so pretty. This set has more than served its time (it's been in our living room for almost 10 years now), but I knew it had a little more life in it with some TLC.

I loved the idea of using chalk paint…I've used it before to redo an end table for Emmie's room. It's gorgeous, but doesn't exactly go on smoothly without a lot of work. I wanted to find an easier way to apply it this time around, since I was redoing 2 tables that looked like this, a coffee table, a bookshelf, and an entertainment center. I was in need of a quicker, more streamlined way to apply it, and I definitely think I found just that!

Great tutorial on how to chalk paint laminate furniture - in this tutorial, she uses only spray paint to refinish cheap, damaged laminate wood!

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One of the keys to this refinishing project was starting with a flat, clean surface. I completely wiped down the entire piece first to remove any stuck-on gunk or dirt.

Once it was clean, it was even more obvious that there was some damaged that had to be addressed before any painting started. The laminate had started chipping at the top and there were a few bubbles from water damage.

At that point, I used a medium grit sandpaper (a 220 grit wrapped around a sanding block) to go over the whole piece and really concentrate on the uneven parts.

After cleaning the piece of any dust, I did the “hand test” to see if there were any uneven spots (just rub over the top with your hand to feel for places that still needed to be sanded). I had to do this process a couple of times to get it perfectly smooth. I'd really recommend this – uneven parts will show through your paint if you don't get it smooth!

Having a cute helper for this step is totally optional. 😉

Once the piece is nice and even, I used the absolute key to getting this process to work – Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer Spray. This is a must-have if you're trying to adhere any kind of paint to laminate. It gives the surface a little bit of a grip that will adhere to most any paint, but works especially well for chalk paint! And don't worry, it's incredibly easy to distress the piece later with this primer.

The primer coat doesn't have to be even by any means – it's ok if you see the original surface through the primer, just as long as there is a thin coat. Make sure to spray this at least a foot away from the piece and move the can quickly and evenly so you don't get clumps of primer.

This coat of primer doesn't need a super long time to dry – maybe an hour or two. I used about a can per medium-sized piece of furniture.

After the primer dries, it's time to paint! I highly recommend the Rust-Oleum Chalked Spray Chalk Paint. I used the Charcoal color…it's a super pretty dark gray that looks great with our playroom colors.

It took 2 coats to completely cover the table (using most of a can of paint). Again, make sure your nozzle is about a foot away from the piece and you move the can in quick, even strokes. I found it helpful to have a small sponge brush on hand to smooth out clumps of paint before they dried.

After letting those two coats dry for a few hours each, I did a little bit of distressing to the piece. It doesn't take much – using a 120 grit sandpaper, I just did a few lights strokes around the edges. Depending on how much pressure you apply, you might either get a peek of the primer or the original finish (which were both pretty with the color I chose).

After that, your final step is sealing your piece. I've tried wax before and it was an absolute disaster – I've found it to be really fussy and not quite as effective as the sealant I used. I've used Minwax Polycrylic in the past for our kitchen table refinish and absolutely loved it – it's held up incredibly well. I was thrilled to find the same polycyclic in a spray too.

One tip I'd give when using this is to make sure your finger isn't in the way of the nozzle…I made this mistake for the first few minutes and ended up with lots of bubbles of sealant on my piece. If that happens, using the sponge brush to smooth it out does help. I gave my table 2 good coats of this, but if it's going to be in a high-traffic area (like a dining or coffee table), I'd recommend more.

Refinishing a whole room of furniture was as easy as that! You can't beat refinishing 5 separate pieces in just a couple of days.

I'll be showing the rest of the playroom (and its many projects) soon…stay tuned!

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8 Comments

  1. I love this technique. I have a large oval kitchen table which I believe is veneer, not laminate. I have been trying to decide how to refinish. It used to be beautiful, but after raising twin boys (now 17) I have areas that are stained and the polyurethane used is now sticky and gooey. I can never get it clean! I put a table cloth on it and now the bottom of the cloth stuck to the table from warm plates. So, now I have cloth stuck to the table I can’t seem to remove. I tried Murphy’s Oil, Dawn, everything. I resigned myself to the fact I will need to sand it and re-stain or paint it. I also love Rust-Oleum paint and this seems easy enough.

  2. Thanks for sharing the technique. I have a bedside-table that also need to be renewed somehow. I will try to refresh it

  3. I’m a newbie to all this but I am now forced to try to refinish not one but three pieces. I have a hand me down wardrobe with great bones and recently sold my old bedside tables to accommodate my Mom’s Pembroke tables. I have been researching colors and want to paint to Pembroke table tops woth ebony black and the rest in a blue gray distressed. Annie Sloane has paris grey but I think they are worth the TLC. Thought I would use Java gel for tops but after seeing the spray on your tables I’m wondering.
    wardrobe I will use white chalk paint and wax to give it age and distress just a bit.
    I would so appreciate any ideas you have. Again these are my first pieces so may be too enthusiastic. Thanks

  4. Donna Boco says:

    Could I use paintable chalk paint instead of spray? Would it work the same once primed? I didn’t realize the bed was laminated until I was prepping it. 😢.

    1. Oh sure! I’d definitely use the primer first though.

  5. Christa Brien says:

    Where can I find BLACK spray chalk paint?