How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

When painting furniture, sanding is one of the must do steps but it can also be a time consuming and messy task. You might be wondering if it is really necessary to sand, especially when painting laminate furniture? So in this post, I’ll cover how to paint laminate furniture without sanding.

Let’s see if we can skip this step while still getting great results on laminated furniture!

photo of painting laminate furniture with text overlay

As many know, sanding before painting furniture is important for a smooth and long lasting finish. Skipping it may leave you with a less durable and uneven surface.

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But I’ve always been curious to know if you can REALLY get away without sanding before priming laminate furniture, as well as find out what primer and paint REALLY are the best for painting laminate furniture.

Sanding is a dusty and lengthy process, and who doesn’t want to save some time and effort? Especially when the end result may not even have a noticeable difference!

“Do we really have to sand laminate furniture before painting?” Let’s look into this question and find out!

Supplies Used to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

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Clean Laminate Furniture

First things first, we need to clean the laminate furniture before getting started. With this step, you’re making sure that any grease or oil on the surface is removed. We want the paint to stick better and last longer.

photo of cleaning furniture with krud kutter

My go-to cleaner for this task is Krud Kutter, but you can also use a degreaser or mild detergent and water. Just make sure to thoroughly wipe down the furniture and let it dry completely before continuing.

Cleaning furniture may seem like an extra step, but trust me, it’s worth it in the long run. Especially since you’re not going to sand your furniture, you must not skip cleaning before painting furniture! Plus, it’s always nice to start with a clean slate and get rid of any dust or grime buildup.

Prime Laminate Furniture without Sanding

So we’ve only cleaned the laminate piece, no sanding till now! It’ll definitely still have its slick and shiny surface. Anyway, let’s move on to priming!

Best Primers for Painting Laminate Furniture without Sanding

We need to use a primer that sticks to laminate surfaces even without sanding. Let’s check out our options.

Clear Shellac

First on the list of best primers for painting furniture is clear shellac. This primer has a quick drying time, which allows you to proceed with the painting process within about an hour.

photo of priming laminate furniture with clear shellac primer

Now what’s great about clear shellac as a primer for painting laminate furniture without sanding is how incredible it sticks to slick surfaces. It still dries smooth and creates a strong bond for the paint to adhere to.

This means you don’t have to worry about sanding down the laminate surface beforehand, saving you time and effort. Plus, all types of paint for furniture adhere very well to clear shellac!

Another awesome thing about clear shellac is that it’s available in an aerosol can, so applying it is super easy. You can pick it up at local hardware stores or order it online, making it a convenient option.

Just keep in mind that it does have a strong odor, so make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.

BIN Shellac Based Primer

Another option for priming laminate furniture without sanding is BIN shellac based primer. This primer has some serious adhesion power that really sticks to slick surfaces like laminate. It also dries quickly, allowing you to start painting in just 30 minutes.

photo of priming laminate furniture with BIN shellac base primer

Like clear shellac above, BIN primer is available in either spray cans or containers. It shares the strong odor with clear shellac, so it would be best to apply it in a well-ventilated space or outdoors!

After you’ve picked your primer, let’s talk about how to apply it. Using either a brush or spray can, apply 2 coats of primer over the entire surface of the laminate furniture. Be sure to cover everything evenly for the best possible adhesion for your paint.

Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

After the primer has dried completely, it’s time to paint! Choose your favorite color and let’s get started. One important thing to remember when painting laminate furniture without sanding is to use a high quality, durable paint.

photo of painting laminate furniture using a wagner paint sprayer

We can pretty much use any paint since we primed with a good laminate primer, but some paints have better adhesion and durability on slick surfaces. Check out our recommendations for the best paint for laminate furniture here.

Now you can either use a brush or a paint sprayer to apply the paint. A paint sprayer for furniture is quicker, more efficient, and creates an even finish with no brush strokes, but a brush works just fine too.

Make sure to apply 2 coats of paint for full coverage and let each coat dry completely before adding another. Once the paint has dried, you can distress your painted laminate furniture. You can learn the best distressing furniture techniques here if you want to add some character to your piece.

But remember to use a clear primer (like clear shellac) if you plan to distress your furniture. This will help your painted finish stay smooth and durable without any white primer showing up between the paint and laminate.

Seal Painted Laminate Furniture

Well, first we need to choose a topcoat for painting furniture. Polyurethane and wax are both great options, but polyurethane is definitely more durable in the long run. Plus, it comes in different finishes like matte, satin, and gloss.

We have a comparison post on wax vs polyurethane if you want to see how the two stack up against each other.

photo of spraying polyurethane topcoat onto furniture

We just have to make sure that the paint is completely dry before applying the topcoat. Then, just brush or spray on 2-3 coats. Let each coat dry completely before adding another one. Allow a full 24 hours of drying time before using your newly sealed and painted laminate furniture.

Sealing painted furniture is much more important on this project since we didn’t do any sanding. This will protect all of our hard work from scratches and wear, so we can enjoy our newly refreshed laminate furniture for a long time.

Plus, adding that topcoat will also give it a nice finished look and make cleaning easier too!

Can You Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding?

So to answer the question, can you paint laminate furniture without sanding? The short answer is yes!

With the help of a good quality bonding primer for laminate, such as clear shellac or BIN shellac based primer, you can get great results even if you skip the sanding process. This makes painting laminate furniture a much quicker and easier task than before.

I do still recommend sanding before priming and painting for the best possible adhesion, but if you’re in a time crunch or simply don’t want to go through the hassle of sanding, using shellac based primers can be a game changer.

So you can go ahead and give your laminate furniture a fresh new look without sanding and enjoy the time saved and the beautiful results created!

How to Paint Laminate Furniture Without Sanding

Painting Laminate Furniture without Sanding

This post covers how to paint laminate furniture without sanding - see for yourself if you can get great results even if you skip sanding.


  1. Clean the surface of your laminate furniture with a degreaser like Krud Kutter. This step is crucial to remove any dirt, grime, or oil that may prevent the primer and paint from adhering properly.
  2. Once your furniture is clean and dry, it's time to prime! Choose a high-quality bonding primer for laminate like clear shellac or BIN shellac based primer. Applying 2 coats evenly for a strong bond to the surface. These primers have a strong odor, so use them in a well-ventilated area or outdoors!
  3. After the primer has dried completely, it's time to paint! Use a high-quality, durable paint that is suitable for slick surfaces like laminate. Apply 2 coats of paint evenly with either a brush or a paint sprayer for a smooth finish, with drying time in between.
  4. After paint has dried, seal your newly painted laminate furniture with a topcoat like polyurethane or wax for added durability and protection against scratches and wear. Apply 2-3 coats, letting each dry completely before adding another.
  5. Allow a full 24 hours for the topcoat to dry before using your newly refreshed furniture. And that's it, you've successfully painted your laminate furniture without sanding!

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paint laminate without sanding with laminate desk

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