How to Paint a Formica Table Top

Updated April 13, 2018

Formica was the tabletop material of choice for decades, and its colourful durability still has many fans. Replacing the formica on a tabletop is beyond most casual do-it-yourselfers, but that doesn't mean that your stained and cracked table top is beyond help. New paint formulas and better bonding primers mean that you can have that old formica tabletop looking new again in no time.

Clean the tabletop thoroughly with a strong cleanser.

Rough up the surface a little with the fine sandpaper, and then wipe away any dust.

Fill any cracks or chips with the wood filler.

Sand the wood filler with the medium sandpaper until it is even with the tabletop. Finish it with the fine sandpaper until it is very smooth, then wipe away all dust.

Cover the table's trim, if any, with painter's tape.

Lay the drop cloth or newspaper beneath the table to protect the floor.

Spray the Fusion plastic paint, or apply the formica paint, directly onto the formica.

Let the first coat dry overnight, and then apply a second coat. Let this dry overnight as well.

Carefully apply the non-yellowing sealer and let it dry for twenty-four hours before using the table.


Read all labels to make sure your paint will adhere without primer. Use very fine sandpaper between coats of paint for an extra-smooth finish.


Always wear your dust mask when sanding or painting. Keep the paint area well ventilated.

Things You'll Need

  • Strong cleanser
  • Fine and medium sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Rags
  • Dust mask
  • Painter's tape
  • Fusion spray or other Formica paint
  • Non-yellowing sealer
  • Newspaper or drop cloths
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About the Author

Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.