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How to Paint Over a Faux Wood Product

Products made of faux wood can be beautiful when new, but a challenge to refinish after years of use.
high definition tv cabinet image by James Phelps from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Drop cloths
  • Screwdriver
  • Masking tape
  • Wood filler
  • Wood glue
  • 220-grit sanding paper
  • Tack cloth
  • Primer
  • Paint brush or paint sponge
  • Paint


For long-lasting results, use a primer formulated to work well on plastic, laminated surfaces.

If you don't want to cover your paint with a coat of polyurethane, use either semi-gloss or gloss paint.

Water-based paints and primers are easier to use because they don't require chemicals for clean up after painting, but oil-based paints and primers may last longer and dry quicker.


  • Wear a mask and goggles when sanding. When sanding, do not sand down to the material under the laminate coating. Only sand enough to remove the gloss from the laminate coating. If you skip either the sanding or the priming step, or both, please note that your results will not last as long under heavy use.

Faux wood is a common alternative to using natural wood. Faux wood products can either be entirely made of plastic or they can have a plastic, laminated surface adhered on top of particle board or wood chips that have been glued together. The surface of faux wood is usually very smooth. To hold paint, the surface needs to be cleaned, sanded and primed first.

Place the faux wood item on drop cloths to protect the working surface. If you're painting stationary items like kitchen cabinets, cover the surrounding area with drop clothes.

Remove any hardware from the faux wood product that you don’t want to paint, such as metal knobs, pulls and door hinges. If these items are too difficult to remove, cover them with masking tape.

Clean the surface and let dry. If needed, fill in deep scratches and holes with wood filler. Reattach loose laminated surfaces with wood glue, and then carefully hold the glued areas together with masking tape. Let dry.

Sand the faux wood product using fine, 220-grit sandpaper to remove the gloss from the surface while leaving a smooth finish. Remove the sanding residue from the faux wood product with a tack cloth.

Prepare the surface for painting by brushing on primer. Let the faux wood product completely dry.

Paint the faux wood product with a paint brush or paint sponge. Apply a second coat of paint, if needed. For extra protection for high use products, finish with a coat of polyurethane.

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