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How to Paint Laminate Furniture Using Mod Podge & Acrylic Paint

If you ever are wondering how to paint laminate furniture, I discovered a quick and easy DIY way to make a paint that will stick with minimal prep work – no sanding necessary!

Laminate furniture can be inexpensive to buy or even find for free from people who are giving it away – but the downside is the fake wood look can sometimes be a bit discouraging to deal with.

Most laminate furniture has a bit of a glossy coating to it – and if you’ve ever tried painting it before, you’ve probably found yourself frustrated that the paint starts chipping/scraping off if you didn’t properly prepare it before you painted.

Sometimes this means sanding it first with a heavy grit sandpaper to rough it up and then painting and then sanding again and then painting again. That’s probably the “proper” and “best practice” method – but it’s also very time consuming and a lot of labor if you are working on a bigger piece.

I’ve done a lot of research on paint formulas – for example everyone’s really expensive beloved chalk paint {which also doesn’t require much prep work before you use it} – typically is nothing more than some cheap flat latex paint you can buy for $9 a gallon at any home improvement store mixed with calcium carbonate powder – which you can buy on Amazon for $11. Way cheaper and more economical than the fancy stuff they sell at the stores. I’ve used it before and it works really well.

But, alas this particular day I didn’t have any latex paint, and if I were to share my honest opinion, I really prefer working with acrylic paint. Latex paint technically isn’t that much different from acrylic paint other than the fact that it has way less acrylic resins in it – hence why it doesn’t stick that well to stuff when not properly mixed – not to mention it generally does’t cover as well as straight up acrylic paints.

Is Acrylic paint more expensive than Latex? Yes and no. If I were to use my favorite studio quality acrylic art paints such as Golden or Liquitex brand, most definitely you are going to pay a LOT more for the acrylic.

But, if you go to the craft paints section and pick up some Acrylic craft paints, which usually aren’t quite as well pigmented but still do the job – you might find them for anywhere from $1 for a very tiny bottle to $4 for an entire gallon. The other advantage to this is you can really easily pick almost any color without having to wait for someone to mix it – quite possibly even mixing up your own shades & styles.

So, if you’re wondering how to paint laminate furniture cheaply, without sanding or other prep work, and be assured that the paint stays on after several years, I’ve made a magic super top secret formula that works great. {It’s not really magic or top secret, but I enjoy calling it that, lol – I don’t think I’ve seen to many people use this trick!}

Here’s How to Paint Laminate Furniture With Zero Prep Work

If you noticed in my picture above, I’ll show you again below – you’ll see my handy dandy trusty Mod Podge and some cheap Apple Barrel Acrylic paints, both of which are made by a company called Plaid.

To make this paint, all you need is any type of cheap craft acrylic paint in any color. The only important thing here is make sure you choose matte finish instead of gloss. The gloss paint probably will work just fine, but it won’t necessarily look the way you want it to – for whatever reason I think the matte finish makes it look more authentic instead of looking like laminate. But I suppose it’s all a matter of personal preference and the style you want to achieve.

And then, of course, matte mod podge, which I’ve found for sale here on Amazon for a great price – maybe half as much as what you would expect to pay at a store that only carries the tiny bottles of it.

Mod Podge is awesome – I bought a giant 1 gallon container of it because I use it for a lot of different projects – not just painting laminate furniture. I use it for collage, for painting all sorts of stuff I’m feeling a bit too lazy to sand down properly. This, also is a good way to paint metal I’ve found. See, this secret paint recipe is not just for laminate painting – but this formula works on almost anything!

Here’s the ratio I use:

  • 1 cup of Acrylic Craft Paint {which is about half of the 16 oz jar shown above}
  • 1/4 cup Mod Podge

Sometimes I’ll mix in darker shades of acrylic craft paint & mix in with the white paint to get a lighter shade and stretch the color pigmented paint even farther!

Mix this formula thoroughly – you can use a thick oversized popsicle stick or paint stick. If you want to go for a white washed brushed on paint shabby look, you can also mix in other colors but don’t be too concerned with mixing the colors perfectly or consistently – having little subtle differences between brush strokes sometimes adds to the effect!

Why Does This Paint Recipe Work?

The science of paint and glue is pretty fascinating. Most paint is made of two things – pigment {this is the color} – and then the binder {in this case, acrylic is used as the binder}.

I’ve noticed with other craft projects, acrylic paint can sometimes double as being used as a glue – it’s not the strongest hold, but it will work if you’re painting and collaging or art journaling. Mod Podge doesn’t work very well in books or journals because it is very, very tacky and sticky – using mod Podge is a guaranteed way to ruin an art journal – and it’s not exactly a sealer for this reason, even though many people think it is used that way.

Mod Podge is sort of like clear glue {thought not quite the same as Elmers glue} – and its the tackiness that allows it to really truly grip onto the laminate without needing any sort of prep work beforehand.

When you paint your item using this recipe, you want to make sure you’re working on a dry day – too much humidity or moisture in the air can cause this to take forever to dry.

For even paint coverage on your item, I recommend using foam brushes – but of course you can also always use a 1″ or 2″ brush if you prefer a brushed on shabby look – that is often my preference because it still looks great but doesn’t require being perfect or even and consistent.

I don’t have any pics of the finished laminate pieces available to share right now, but will try to add some later to this post so you can see how it works.

The best part of course is once after the paint is fully dry for 24-48 hours {depending on climate conditions and weather} – you are NOT going to get that paint off unless you take a sander to it! The magic of glue and adhesives!

Have you tried this method of painting laminate furniture before? Have a paint and glue recipe you’d like to share or have questions about using Mod Podge mixed with acrylic paint? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “How to Paint Laminate Furniture Using Mod Podge & Acrylic Paint”

  1. Thank you because I have wondered how I was going to paint an old dresser I took home from someone throwing it away. Now I wanted a mettallic chrome look so this helps

    Reply
  2. How much will the above ratio cover? I’m wanting to do an old desk, cabinet, and night table all to match and needed to know how much to buy of the paint and modppdge.

    Reply
    • Hi Veronica, it depends on the project. Fortunately, that ratio works for any amount you need to make, just double the quantities like you would for a kitchen recipe!

      Reply
  3. Hi! I had a large, round, 48” low laminate table, something from a kindergarten. I sanded it, applied 3 coats of white primer, then 2 coats each of a white latex paint, and white spray paint. Then someone suggested acrylic? And I added 2 more coats! No matter what I do, it looks “off white,” or gray, depending on the light! I wouldn’t mind, but I am trying to make an American flag on the top? As a lasting family piece, with the names of of our lost military family members. And off -white and gray will not do! Not to honor our flag, or our service members! Any help would be greatly appreciated! I’m rushing to get it done by July 4th! THANK YOU!!

    Reply
    • Hi Cindy, sometimes the problem can be the paint, other times it can just be the lighting. I would probably recommend using a high gloss titanium white paint, with primer underneath. Hope that helps, it sounds like a beautiful project to honor veterans & those currently serving our country!

      Reply
  4. I found this technique on painting mason jars by accident! I had a different brand of podge which is in a white bottle I mistaking my mixed it in with my acrylic paint thinking it was white paint!🤣 It turned out beautifully! I am going to do this more often! Thanks for info😊

    Reply
  5. Hey there, I was wondering can I mix the modge podge with Enamel paint? This is such awesome advice, if not happy to use acrylic 🙂

    Reply
  6. Hi, This may be the answer to my dilemma. I painted laminate file cabinets with spray paint. 3 coats. I’m worried that it will just peel off because I didn’t sand them first. Do you think the mod-podge is the solution?

    Reply

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