Make Over Laminate Cabinet

farmhouse cabinetWhen we downsized and moved into this smaller home, the only thing I was sad about was losing a separate dedicated sewing/craft room. I always have a project going, so I loved that I could just close the door and go back to it later. There was no room in the new house to set up my sewing machine, let alone have a sewing room. So my solution was to buy a computer armoire to store my machines and sewing supplies. The keyboard tray pulls out at the perfect height to set my machines on when sewing.

At the time, all we could afford was a cheap ugly laminate cabinet, but I planned to eventually upgrade it somehow. In the meantime, it served the purpose well. It sits in the guest room, which only gets used occasionally. I put my cutting board on the bed when I need to cut fabric, since the bed is somewhat high. My ironing board is nearby, and I have fabric, ribbon, and notions crammed everywhere – in the closet and under the bed.

Laminate cabinet topI finally got tired of looking at the pitiful laminate beast and decided to just DO IT. You can see there was water damage on top too. I had saved an inspiration photo from Pinterest of how I thought I’d redo it. White farmhouse beadboard with dark walnut stained top. Having already made over my bathroom cabinets with antique walnut gel stain, I knew I’d use that on top. I had a roll of paintable beadboard wallpaper that I didn’t use for my kitchen backsplash (I did real wood beadboard instead.) So, I bought a gallon of Valspar Satin latex in high hiding white and I already had some primer.

At first I was just going to use the beadboard paper on the door fronts, but I’m glad I decided to wallpaper the sides of the cabinet too. I added a 1×4 trim board on the bottom sides too. I also covered the back wall in the beadboard paper. It was just a shiny laminated piece of cardboard – totally not paintable. So the wallpaper worked great.

Paint and Wallpaper Laminate CabinetPaint and Wallpaper Laminate Cabinet

I made the inside doors pretty and functional by making a pinboard with magnetic board on the left door – to hold photos, patterns, etc. And the right door I painted with chalkboard paint. I figured the chalkboard would be handy to write down measurements and to do lists.

Paint Laminate Cabinet

Paint and Wallpaper Laminate Cabinet

I love how rich the top looks now with the antique walnut gel stain. I also stained the two pull-out shelves and topped the stain with the wipe-on urethane topcoat.

Gel stain on laminate

Here’s an inside comparison. It was so dark and dreary before. Now it’s bright, cheery and more functional.

Paint Laminate Cabinet

Paint Laminate CabinetPaint Laminate Cabinet

How to:

I haven’t painted over laminate much – but I knew I’d need to sand and prime it well first. It was a little touchy – I had to do two coats of primer and at least 3 coats of latex paint, letting it dry well in between coats. Then I was worried about setting anything on the horizontal surfaces since I know it takes forever for latex paint to cure. So I put a coat of clear polycrylic on the horizontal surfaces. Then I was able to set all my stuff back in without waiting.

I used the sock method to apply the gel stain to the top and the two pull-out shelves. I did 2-3 coats and 2 coats of topcoat. No sanding, just drying in between coats.

I cut foam board for the pinboard on the one door, padded it with fleece from an old blanket, and covered it with fabric I glued around to the back. I hot-glued the ribbon strips and buttons on. I found the decorative metal plate at Walmart for under $3 that fit perfect. I spray painted it and screwed it in with 2 small screws. The other door I painted with 3 coats of chalkboard paint. After drying at least a week, be sure to season the new chalkboard before using it – by rubbing the whole surface with the side of the chalk and then wiping off.

I spray painted the wooden spool rack gray to match the fabric, and screwed it to a narrow board that I screwed to the side walls with kreg pocket holes. Because of course you can’t affix anything to the flimsy cardboard back.

I applied the wallpaper to the sides of the cabinet, the door fronts and the inside back wall with wallpaper glue – after I primed, but before I painted. Then I just painted over the wallpaper as I was painting the cabinet. Let the wallpaper dry a day or two before painting it. Note: don’t use a hard edge and smash the beadboard wallpaper when smoothing it like you do normal wallpaper; it will mess up the texture. It’s kind of a puffy foam kind of paper. I just used a wet rag to smooth it out and gently get the bubbles out.


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