How to Paint Over Veneer Furniture

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An easy and effective way of modernizing the look of your veneer wood furniture is to paint over the veneer. If prepared correctly, painting your veneer furniture will provide an inexpensive, durable and attractive new look to your favorite furniture pieces.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 150- and 220-grit sandpaper
  • All purpose sandable filler
  • Flexible putty knife
  • Fine bristle paint brushes
  • Water based primer
  • Water based enamel or cabinet paint

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  1. 1

    Lightly sand all the surfaces of the furniture with 150-grit sandpaper, being careful not to sand so vigorously that you chip off the veneer finish. For the smoothest finish, use a putty knife to fill holes and gouges in the furniture with all purpose filler. Let the filler dry, then sand the filled areas smooth with the surface of the surrounding wood.

  2. 2

    Choose your paint brush based on the size and complexity of the furniture. For a detailed veneer chair, a 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch paint brush will work best. For a larger piece such as a table, use a 3-inch-wide brush on the table top to minimize brush strokes.

  3. 3

    Using a brush, prime all the surfaces of the piece of furniture with water based primer. Let it dry, then sand primed surface lightly with 220-grit sandpaper. Clean the brush thoroughly in water.

  4. 4

    Paint the first top coat on furniture piece with water based enamel paint. Use even brush strokes that follow the grain of the veneer for the smoothest result. Let the paint dry thoroughly for few hours, then lightly sand painted surfaces with 220-grit sandpaper.

  5. 5

    Paint the final coat, using even brush strokes. Let the piece of furniture dry for at least 24 hours before use. Avoid placing heavy, permanent objects on newly painted furniture for a least three days to allow the paint to fully cure and harden.

Tips and warnings

  • Water based paint is very easy to use and cleans up in water. Paints with low VOCs, or low volatile organic compounds, do not give off gas as much as mineral based paints, making them easier to work with and better for the environment.
  • Always follow paint manufacturer's recommended instructions.

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