How to Paint Faux Wood Furniture

I received this awesome server from a family I used to babysit for, last summer when we were about to move into our first apartment. It was probably made in the 1960's and was a part of a larger dining set. I loved it right away! There was something about the cool door panels and the funky hardware that just called my name. I left it as is for 10 months (the before picture shows how I had it decorated for Christmas!) until I finally figured out a makeover fitting for this vintage treasure. A lot of people think that it's impossible to paint wood laminate and get a lasting, durable finish, but read on to see how I did it!

                                                                                                                                                          Because I am impatient and wanted to get started (but didn't want to start with sanding right away), the first thing I did was spray paint the handles. The original finish was sort of a brassy-bronze look. I used Krylon Brushed Metallic Spray Paint in Oil-Rubbed Bronze, a dark, dark brown/blackish color with flecks of warm metallics. First, I thoroughly clean each handle, front and back with soap and water, making sure to rinse all of the soap off before I sat them out to  dry.                                                                                                                                                                         

Next, I got to the least fun part, the sanding. I bought these awesome sanding sponges at work. They are the purple kind made by 3M, and the cool thing is that they are reusable! You can just rinse the dust out in the sink, the grit doesn't wear down like the black sponges, so you can keep using them again and again! I started out with a medium grit and then moved to fine right before I started priming. For the type of paint I was using, I really just needed to rough up the surface, I wasn't worried about getting down to bare wood (which was good because the doors of the server are actually made of some kind of plastic).                    

I cleaned off all of the dust I created by sanding and then got to the first coat of primer. I used All-Surface Enamel Primer from Sherwin Williams (the same thing that I used for the Lamp makeover I did), because it is very durable and also can go on a variety of surfaces (hence the name), like the wood, laminate and plastic that went together to make this server. For the doors, I used a 2" Angle brush made by Purdy, and for the sides and top, I used a 4" mini roller with a flockfoam roller cover. I did two coats of primer.

After letting the primer dry overnight (The can says 4 hours, but to have a durable top coat, you need the primer to be COMPLETELY dry, so I erred on the side of caution), I started on the finish coat. I used All-Surface Enamel in High Gloss, tinted to a custom match of my dining table color. Since the can of paint I used for that was back in Delta, I actually took the center leaf of my table to work and used to Color-Eye to make a custom match. I bought a gallon of this color because I planned to repaint my table top, which saw a lot of wear in the last 10 months and the color matched exactly! I even used it to touch up some nicks on the legs and you literally cannot see a difference between the original paint and the touch up paint. But that's another story... Using the same method as the primer, I then applied two coats of paint to the doors and sides and 3 coats to the top, waiting at least 4 hours in between coats.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Then it was onto the inside of the server! Using Yellow Frog Tape (made for delicate or freshly painted surfaces) I taped a line on the sides of the doors and got to painting my accent color--Mint Green! Aside from being a big trend right now, I thought this pastel color gave the server back a little of it's vintage charm! I painted two coats using my 2" angle brush.                                                                      

After letting the whole thing dry for about 5 days (like I said, I err on the side of caution!), I reassembled the handles, removed the tape and voila! My server makeover was complete!                                                                         

Once I got my fiance, Anthony to help me move the server back into our living/dining room, I realized I needed to get some new accessories too!                                                                                                                                                                                             I bought the jars at Ross for 4.99, 3.99 and 2.99 respectively. The books were amassed over several years from yardsales, the La Roche College library "reject" table, and a cool thrift store in the mountains of Northern PA. I love how the colors go together so well and bring out the tones in the rocks I used as vase fillers and the old window I salvaged! Even Anthony loves the way this project turned out!