After running this DIY blog for eleven years, it’s safe to say that I’ve had my fair share of craft failures. And that rings especially true when it comes to Ikea furniture makeovers. But I can finally say that after all this time that I’ve cracked the code on how to paint Ikea furniture.
If you’ve tried to paint Ikea furniture and it hasn’t worked before, there’s a chance you might think that it’s not possible. I’ve been there before. I’ve wasted my time using a method that was flawed from the start. Thankfully with the right process, there is a way to make your paint last.
After making my Custom Ikea Desk and doing a Pax Wardrobe Makeover, I can say I’ve tested this method and it’s now my go-to. Here are my 4 easy steps for how to paint Ikea furniture and have your paint last for years to come.
I put together a video over on my YouTube channel that explains these steps in a bit of detail! Be sure to check it out!
Why is There a Process for Painting Ikea Furniture?
Most of Ikea furniture is laminate covered particle board. They do have a line of untreated wood pieces, like this Tarva dresser I painted a few years ago. But unfortunately, unlike wooden furniture, laminate is slick and non-absorbent. Without prep work, your paint has nowhere to go and will chip off immediately.
But in the DIY world, where there’s an idea, there’s a way. Laminate can in fact be painted, but it requires a different process to work. I want to make sure that your pieces have longevity and that the payoff is worth all the effort you put into the process. So here are the 4 easy steps for how to paint Ikea furniture:
First things first, you’re going to need supplies to paint your furniture. Here’s my go-to supply list every time:
– 120 Grit Sandpaper: fine enough to give texture to the laminate without being so coarse that it will scratch your surface.
– BIN Primer: a shellac based primer that will enable your paint to stick.
– Paint: I will typically grab a quart of paint from the hardware store in eggshell finish. Eggshell finish is durable without having too much shine.
– Polycrylic: A sealant that I also get in a matching finish to my paint. This dries incredibly fast, so you may want to practice your techniques if you’re new to painting furniture.
– Roller, high quality brush and/or paint sprayer: I’ve used all three methods to apply paint. Choose whichever technique and finish you prefer.
How to Paint Ikea Furniture
Ideally you’d be able to paint your Ikea furniture before assembly. If not, you can choose to disassemble and reassemble your piece. It might be a little bit more challenging, but you can of course still paint your pieces that have already been assembled.
There’s a basic 4 step process for painting any laminate pieces from Ikea: prep, prime, paint, and seal. But let’s break down each step for a clearer view of why all these steps are necessary:
Step 1: Sand
Lightly sand any surface area you intend to paint with 120 grit sandpaper. Any area that will be painted should be sanded. This will help the paint stick which is key when painting Ikea furniture. Wipe down thoroughly to remove all dust. If dust is left on the surface it could get into your paint and cause problems down the road.
Step 2: Prime
Before you can add paint, you need to prime your surface. Sorry, this step is non-negotiable and will save you so many headaches in the future. I don’t want you to go through the trouble of painting an entire piece of furniture just to have the paint immediately flake off.
As you probably have heard me say by now, my go-to primer is BIN primer. It’s been my recent go-to for all furniture painting projects and it works especially well for Ikea pieces. Apply an even coat to all areas you plan to paint and let dry overnight. If your initial piece is darker in color, consider adding a second coat.
Step 3: Paint
Now it’s time to add color! The best part! There are a few ways that you can apply your paint: a paint roller, a high quality brush, or a paint sprayer. Rolling will give your piece a slight texture, but you shouldn’t have any brushstrokes. A high quality brush will save you from having to fish those bristles out of your paint. And a spray gun will give you a smooth finish with minimal effort. I’ve used all three methods so this is a matter of personal preference.
Apply your first coat of paint and let this dry for a few hours. You can then go back in to apply a second coat. Two coats should give you a good amount of coverage, but once everything is dry, go back in and make touchups. Let your paint dry fully for at least 24-48 hours.
Step 4: Seal
Now it’s time to seal in your beautiful paint job! Apply a coat of Polycrylic, using quick and long brush strokes as you go. You can apply with a brush or roll on. If you use a roller, just be sure to also go over the area with a sponge brush to remove those air bubbles.
If you’re giving your piece a second coat of sealer, sand lightly in between coats to remove any imperfections. Let sealant dry completely (I suggest another day or two) before assembling.
And there you have it! That’s how you paint Ikea furniture in four easy steps! As always let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. I can’t wait to see what you paint!