Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Paint Veneer {Not Wood} Furniture

Have you ever tried painting veneer? The paint doesn’t stick to it. It’s rather annoying.
Well I’ve been searching for a small bookcase to put in my son’s nursery. Last week when I was in my local thrift store, I found one for $5. The only drawback – it was veneer.

So my brain started wondering….
“If I painted it with chalk paint first, would that solve the problem?”
The answer…
Here’s the original bookcase.
Not bad for $5, eh?
I got out my chalk paint. I had a lot left over from my first experience with it, which you can read about HERE if interested. However, since then I’ve seen lots of tutorials for making your own, which is a much cheaper option. Jamielyn of I {Heart} Naptime, just posted this great one.

First coat.
Veneer is a beast. The chalk paint did go on much better than regular paint, but it still repelled it some.
See when we look a little closer?
Since it was sticking better than regular paint, I went for a second coat.
Ignore the uneven color…the darker spots are where the paint was still wet.
Much better, right? Now it is perfectly primed!!!

I painted and glazed it just like I did the rest of the nursery furniture in this post. The spray paint went on like magic and you’d never know the bookcase was made of veneer. It was fabulous!!
After a coat of polyurethane, it was done and ready to join the nursery!!!
Thanks for reading!


  1. Great makeover! Chalk paint has rescued 2 of my veneer bookcases. I went the DIY route, I've had some scrape-age on the inside from moving books around but the outsides have held up to the (not at all gentle) playing golden retriever and (insane) cat

  2. ok, that was awesome. i have a big veneer shelf i've been wanting to paint, but i'm totally lacking motivation. this definitely helps. thanks for such a great idea!!! i never would have thought of that! i'll link to this post if i ever get around to my project, haha

  3. great tip! We have a lot of IKEA furniture in our apartment, so this is a great tip for sprucing things up!

  4. So I am wondering...will the spray paint made for plastic adhere to laminate? Have you tried? I have a bookcase that I want to move up to my studio but the bookcase is from Target and is laminate (or probably fake wood contact paper!) and my other bookcases in the studio are white. I think I am going to experiment!

  5. Gorgeous! Glad to see and hear of some way to pain veneer!! Good to know

  6. I looove you for posting this!!! I posted a while back on my blog about making a doll clothes closet out of that same bookcase the only problem was I could not figure why my paint looked so ended up being the look I went with but I was so frustrated!! Thanks for sharing your wisdom! :)

  7. I'm so glad that worked out for you! It looks great! I have the same bookshelf, maybe I should try something like this! Thanks!

  8. @Suzan: I've had mixed results with the "fusion" spray pain on laminate/vaneer. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, it takes a few coats to tell. I'll try it with smaller pieces that I don't mind having to redo if it doesn't go over so well (picture frames, drawer faces, etc) but for large pieces that take a ton of work (like the horrid changing table that needs some extra care in my nursery) this chalk paint route seems like a dream come true. Can't wait to try it!!!

  9. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  10. I'm so glad you posted this! I just rediscovered the exact same bookshelf in my garage and wondered if I could paint it for my little guys nursery. This is great!

  11. This is fantastic!!! Thanks so much for sharing. I have 3 pieces of furniture that are in need of some work that are veneer and I never do it because I never really have the time sand it down and all that. I've definitely found my projects for the weekend. Thanks again for sharing.

  12. I have that exact same shelf in my daughter's room. I have been staring at it, trying to pick a color to get rid of the fake wood brown. I am finally taking the ASCP plunge this weekend for some other projects, so this post came at a great time.Great styling too.

  13. thanks a lot for the tutorial. It is indeed very helpful page.

    office furniture Perth

  14. Thanks for this tutorial. I have a veneer bookshelf I don't like but haven't wanted to get rid of. Now I can update it!

  15. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! I've been pondering what to do with a veneer chest of drawers I use in my craft studio. It's super old and the veneer is dinged up and looks terrible, but it's the PERFECT size for my craft room, so I've just been dealing with the ugliness of it. But, no more! I will definitely add this to my must-complete-soon project list. Thanks for sharing!

    - Jennifer @ JennJill Designs

  16. So how is it holding up? Any chipping/flaking? Is it wearing well?


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