Wednesday, March 7, 2012

how to paint a laminate dresser into a cute ombre

I posted this dresser makeover I did for Mila a few days ago on my Facebook page. I had questions about the process and I really wanted to share them so other people could make over some pieces in their homes. Word on the street is that you can't paint laminate, but YOU CAN! YES! It's a revelation. So all that cheap got-it-at-Target-or-the-thrift-store-or-the-Walmarts furniture you have can finally take whatever cuteness you can envision it in. I'd seen a couple of these ombre dressers on Pinterest and I knew I wanted to do that. I thought it would be really cute and trendy, but would also be a look that would last if I chose the right colors. (This is an iPhone picture and slightly underexposed so the colors are a bit darker here than in real life).
So the first step was to pick colors. I hit up my local Lowe's and Home Depot to pick up a bunch of paint chips. I was pretty sure I wanted to do pink. I felt that pink was a sweet color and could easily be incorporated into whatever girly room she has in the future. I chose an array of paint chips. I decided that I would try to choose a couple of colors that were on the same paint chip so that tones would be the same. I liked two on one, but not the other two because it didn't create a proper ombre effect, so I chose the two lightest colors from other paint chips. The colors I ended up with were Behr (from top to bottom): Coy Pink, Ballerina Pink, Candy Coated and Watermelon Pink. I LOVE how cute they make those names!
The tools you need to pick up: primer, the base coat for the rest of the dresser, polyurethane, a cheap roller and brush for the primer, a nice brush for the paint coat and the sample tubs for the ombre colors, a canvas drop cloth (choose canvas because it will hold up nicely over time), the thing you pour the paint in (on the tip of my tongue...) and a liner for the primer.

A few notes about some of the products:
*nice brush- I bought a 1.5" Purdy brush. It was like $11 and it didn't shed and I can use it again and again.
*cheap brush and roller- You need a cheap one because the primer is oil-based and won't wash off easily. I just used a really cheap foam roller I got at the craft store.. honestly, it rolled on weird so I ended up doing the whole thing with the brush so it would be more smooth. Pick your poison.
Your steps will be:
1.) Primer. This is IMPORTANT for a laminate piece. There are primers you can buy that are MADE to be used on all surfaces, including laminate. I chose the Zinsser Cover Stain Primer (oil-based) after reading good reviews about it. You can choose water-based as well, but it will take MUCH longer to dry. I don't like waiting, so I chose the oil-based. The can was about $10 (maybe a little more) and there is still a TON left, even after 2 coats. You want to be careful with this stuff because it won't come off of you for a long time or your kitchen soap bottle. I've read that you can buy mineral spirits to get it off, but I didn't. Warning: this stuff stinks. Give yourself AIR.
2.) Paint. I got Behr Ultra Pure White. No VOC. No odor. It was like $12 for the can. I chose the color Behr Billowy Clouds. Choose your own favorite! You might have to choose a darker base if you are going for a darker color.
Ombre paint colors. For these, I just bought the sample tubs. They are little and you can find them near the paint counter as opposed to down the paint aisles. I couldn't find them at Lowe's, but they were in clear sight at Home Depot. Depending on your colors, you will have to get the pure white base, medium base or darker base. The paint mixer should be able to help you with this easily. So I got four in the colors I mentioned above.  (Coy Pink, Ballerina Pink, Candy Coated, Watermelon Pink)
3.) Polyurethane. Once the piece had 2 coats of the white and the pink colors and was totally dry (I gave it a day) I used this wipe-on poly. I read that the wipe-on was really easy so I went with that. You can also buy the kind in a can that you brush on. This was so easy to just wipe on with a clean cloth and doesn't smell bad at all. Then you let that dry and wa-la! (You can put on your knobs prior to this coat).

My knobs are from Home Depot and were about $4 a piece. Sort of pricey, but they are perfect and certainly not even close to the expensive knobs.
The dresser was $40 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and I spent a little more than $100 on materials. I still have lots more paint (in all colors), primer and poly. Plus, I have a dropcloth, brush and paint holder for my next painting project! So my custom dresser was less than $150 total.

Good luck with your laminate makeovers! Have you ever painted a piece of furniture in your home?

1 comment:

Joy Bennett said...

Wow! Thanks for this tutorial AND Mila's dresser looks great! I love the ombre look and YOU ARE HANDY! Good job, Jaimie!