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A Trendy Update for a Laminate Table

Facelift Upcycling

Welcome to another installment of Facelift Upcycling from one of our designers. Please view our other projects for more ideas.


In today’s Facelift we tackle the dreaded laminate surface!! Picking up “that perfect piece” at a garage sale needing some TLC, only to later realize that the surface is a laminate can be heartbreaking. Laminate surfaces are often a super thin layer of wood, or worse yet, plastic, over a cheaper material such as particle board, press board or plywood. These thin layers make re-surfacing a piece extremely difficult and very easy to destroy completely. You want to be able to sand any piece that you are going to stain or paint to ensure a clean absorption of the product you will be applying; however, taking a sander to laminate can result in breaking through, cracking or melting the laminate.

Today’s find was a piece with a beautiful detail applique and turned legs. The top was a laminate with that all-too-familiar rubber faux-wood border to keep the piece from chipping, often seen on commercial tables.


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With the various materials, and the delicate detailing of this piece, sanding would have been tedious and difficult, if it didn’t destroy the top. The solution was a liquid deglosser. This product takes any surface and modifies it to have a coarser texture and removes any top layer or stain, varnish or paint that is high gloss, allowing for paint to adhere to the surface. The deglosser is used on the surface 30 minutes prior to painting and only works for a short 12 hours, so it is not something to do well before you intend to paint he piece. The deglosser is simple to apply using rags or old t-shirts and coating the surface well, ensuring all nooks and crannies are thoroughly wetted. Make sure to wear gloves, and have multiple pairs as this product will eat through you skin as well as multiple pairs of gloves, so disposable works best.


Once the surfaces were deglossed, a specialty paint specifically made for furniture pieces by Valspar was used. This paint is oil-infused, not to be confused with oil-based, meaning that it is more difficult to clean from your brushes (be prepared for it to stain your brush), has a more potent smell, and takes longer to dry, but creates a thicker, harder shell-like surface when the appropriate number of coats has been applied. This paint creates a scratch- and stain-resistant surface that is perfect for any item that may see high-traffic use.


A specialty round brush was used on the detail applique as well as the turned legs. The shape of the brush allows you to push the paint into the deep divots created by the detailing and when used in a circular pattern around the turned legs reduces the potential of brush lines in the paint. (Shown here after project completion, started as white bristles)


This particular piece took 3 coats of paint over most of the surfaces, and four in areas were the grain of the wood was more prevalent; the fourth coat in these areas was not necessary, but created a smoother, more solid appearance. The end result is a beautiful, trendy piece of furniture that will stand to the test of time.


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**In no means is this a review or endorsement of above mentioned products, they are merely suggestions of potential solutions. It is always best to do research in regards to the quality and standards of products, reading through reviews of others who have purchased the items as well as fully understanding the products limitations and warrantee information.

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