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Refurbish melamine or laminate furniture

Melamine or laminate furniture can be refurbished quite easily. Here are some tips and tricks on how to refurbish any type of melamine or laminate furniture.



I was recently asked to refurbish a baby compactum. Made of SupaLam, which is a thin laminate applied over SupaWood, the compactum was scratched and chipped and the basket drawers on one side were falling apart. 





Since the compactum is now being repurposed as a storage cabinet, it just made more sense to fit proper drawers to replace the broken baskets. 12mm MDF was used to make up three new drawers for the side section. You will find plenty of tips in the DIY section for either making drawers or fitting drawer runners. Buy everything you need to refurbish furniture at your local Builders.

You will note that after making up a simple drawer that fitted flush with the frame, this didn't look quite right next to the drawers on the other side, so an additional drawer front was added to bring the drawers further out and line up with the drawers on the right.

I should also mention that this cabinet was totally out of alignment and the manufacturers had tried to disguise this. Fitting the additional panel to the front of the drawer allowed a bit of wriggle room to align all the drawers off kilter, since these were glued onto the drawer assembly with No More Nails and adjusted until everything lined up.

With the new drawer section sorted, it was time to do some touch up on the rest of the cabinet. Wood filler was used to fill any ugly strips (shown below) and cover up any chips or scratches. If there are larger pieces missing you can repair these with Alcolin QuikWood (epoxy putty for wood).

All the filled sections were sanded with 120-grit and then the entire cabinet was sanded with 240-grit sandpaper. This prepares the laminate for finishing. However, if you are refurbishing melamine, which is much thicker and shinier than this laminate, sand the entire piece with 120-grit to de-gloss and remove the shiny finish and then sand with 240-grit.

To finish the new drawers they were sanded smooth, with all the cut edges rubbed with wood filler to seal them. I only did this because they are to be painted with Rust-Oleum spray paint, and sealing the edges allows for easy finishing using less spray paint. Once dry, the wood filler was sanded with 240-grit sandpaper.

The main section of the compactum was spray with Rust-Oleum 2X semi-gloss white. Rust-Oleum 2X is perfect for refurbishing children's furniture. It provides a durable finish that can be easily cleaned, over and over. Plus, it's easy if you ever need to touch up or want to change the colour later on.

The drawers were sprayed with Rust-Oleum 2X satin French Lilac. There is already furniture in the room that is painted in Rust-Oleum 2X satin green apple and 2X French Lilac, so this will complement the existing pieces.