How to Paint Melamine Laminate

Melamine laminate is a substance that is used to cover up particle board or medium density fiberboard. Melamine laminate is very smooth, durable and cleans up easily. Melamine laminate can be purchased in sheets ans can be found in your home on furniture or cabinets. Wherever you find your melamine laminate, you can give it a custom appearance with a little paint. The surface takes paint well when properly applied.

Mix trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water is a bucket according to the package directions. TSP is a powerful cleaner that can be found with the cleaning products in the hardware store. Dip a rag into the solution and scrub the melamine laminate to remove residues.

Look for dents, scratches or gouges in the melamine laminate. This may not be an issue on new laminate. Scoop wood putty onto a putty knife and fill the holes. Scrape the knife across the patched area to remove the excess putty. Let the putty dry.

Sand the melamine laminate with medium-grit sandpaper. Work the sandpaper in a circular motion across the surface of the laminate. Sanding will create texture that will help the primer adhere. Wipe away sanding dust with a damp rag.

Apply a thin coat of primer to the melamine laminate with a smooth foam roller. Let the first coat dry to the touch. Apply a second coat of primer using the same technique. Let the primer dry for four hours.

Paint the melamine laminate with interior latex paint. Apply the paint using the same techniques you used to apply the primer. Multiple thin coats of paint will be more durable than one thick coat. Apply two to three coats of paint. Let the final coat dry overnight.


Choose a primer formulated for slick surfaces. Oil based paints are also good for melamine laminate applications. The drawback to oil based paints is that they are difficult to clean up. For easy clean up, choose disposable paint pans and disposable rollers.

Things You'll Need

  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Rags
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Palm sander
  • Low-tack painter’s tape
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.