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How to Paint Formica Dressers

Transform old Formica dresers with any color.
paint play image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • 180- to 220-grit sandpaper
  • Rag or sponge
  • Foam brushes
  • Bonding primer
  • Latex paint
  • Polyurethane coating


  • Wear a face mask and work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhalation of sanding dust or chemical vapors.

Known for being durable and easy to clean, Formica is a form of laminate sheathing used to cover a wide range of household furnishings. However, despite its versatility, Formica can become faded or appear outdated and mismatched with your current home décor. Formica dressers can be refreshed with a coat of paint, as long as the Formica surfaces are properly prepared.

Remove the handles from the drawers, if your dresser has any. Use a screwdriver to back out the screws that secure the handles. The screws are located on the backside of the drawer front.

Remove the drawers for separate painting.

Lightly sand all Formica surfaces with 180-220 grit sandpaper. Sand until the Formica looks dulled. Scuffing the surfaces will create an abraded surface that will ensure proper adhesion of the paint.

Wipe down the Formica with a damp rag or sponge to remove the sanding dust.

Use a foam brush to paint the Formica with an even coat of bonding primer. Allow the bonding primer to dry as instructed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use a foam brush to apply the first coat of paint. Use latex paint. Allow the first coat to dry for at least eight hours.

Apply a second coat of paint to ensure adequate, consistent coverage. Allow the second coat to dry for at least eight hours.

Apply a coat of clear, polyurethane coating. This will provide a protective coating over the paint. Allow the polyurethane coating to dry as instructed by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Reattach the handles and replace the drawers.

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