Part of me is pretty sure this post is destined for mediocrity, but… another part is sneaky jazzed about my Franken-shelf! Let’s back up to a couple of weeks ago when I was chatting with the producer about what to share next on Good Morning, CT. I suggested ways to update or personalize basic laminate furniture. You know the stuff… think Ikea. $20 later and I had a plain Jane white shelf ready for some making over. Here’s my appearance so you can see how this all began!
I tried to take some process shots, but the weather and the timing got away from me. Thankfully, I’d done most of these things on the blog, so I’ll link to my full tutorial on other projects wherever possible. The take away from this post is simply that there are LOTS of options for you if simple laminate furniture is what’s in your budget but something bright and cheery and more interesting is ultimately what you want! Have no fear… a laminate furniture makeover is near!
Solution #1: Foam Core
This is the easiest by far. Time required is probably 12 minutes give or take. Grab some foam core… the cheap stuff in bright gaudy colors is totally fine for this one, so save your cash and don’t worry about the pricier white. Decide where you want the shelves to be and cut your foam core to fit between each shelf. Make sure your exacto knife is nice and sharp to avoid any rough edges. Find a fun piece of paper: wrapping paper, shelf paper, wallpaper… it all works. With rubber cement paint a coat over the entire surface of the foam core and slap on the precut decorative paper. Done. The back of your bargain laminate is now all patterned and classy!
Materials: (affiliates included for your convenience.)
Solution #2: Washi Tape
I lied before. This is REALLY easy. Might be a bit more expensive, but… totes simple. Washi tape is my jam… it’s bright. It’s cheerful. And it doesn’t leave behind residue so it’s a great way to jazz up furniture and walls. All you do is slap it on! Get creative with your pattern or… just go with stripes like I did. (I used it way back here and probably gave more of a tutorial, but honestly the process is as simple as it sounds.)
Solution #3: Fabric
I’ve covered lots of stuff in fabric, and it’s still a go-to party-trick of mine. See my nightstand here and my changing table here. It’s durable and easy and free if you have fabric scraps. To cover laminate with fabric, first scuff up the surface with sandpaper. Trace and cut your fabric to size. (Fabric may stretch or shift when you go to adhere it, but you can always trim later.) I use polycrylic, but mod podge works too. Paint a coat of polycrylic onto the laminate and place fabric on top. Line up fabric edges and being to paint over it with the clear sealer. You want to saturate the fabric a bit and play around with it so the pattern is straight and edges line up. Let it dry and boom…. One-of-a-kind!
Solution #4: Paint
Last but not least, it IS possible to paint laminate furniture, you just have to have attention to detail and use the right supplies. First step is to rough up the finish to remove the shiny waxy coating that comes with laminate. (Warning: the shelves I was using for this segment were particularly waxy and shiny and the coat of paint I used would *not* qualify as job well done… do as I say, not as I do!) Sand, sand, sand some more, and then go over with a cleaner intended for waxy build up. If you plan to use latex paint, then you’ll need to apply a coat of quality primer intended for laminate furniture.
Another option is chalk paint. Like I said… if the surface is prepared correctly, you *should* be able to paint over the boring finish that screams “laminate”. (I painted this bench seat when we built in some Billy cabinets in our old house.)
- OR chalk paint
Bonus solution #5: Sharpie
I didn’t have time to share this on TV, but it’s totally legit (and would be SO fun to do with kids!). No technique… just grab a Sharpie and have at it! For added durability, look for oil based Sharpies. I used a Sharpie on the dresser in Arthur’s room. Not laminate… but still a favorite.
So there you have it… ways to update and jazz up boring white laminate furniture! You probably *won’t* want to apply EVERY technique like I’ve done here…. but don’t let budget and Ikea stop you from getting creative!
(Tune in next week to see how Martha’s room is looking these days… She celebrated her 4th birthday last weekend and is delighted by the the new grown up additions to her bedroom!)
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