How to Refinish Plywood Veneer Furniture

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Plywood veneer furniture is constructed from fiberboard, or bits of wood that have been fused together into a rigid sheet. As a result of this construction process, this type of furniture cannot be refinished in the traditional way by sanding off the old surface and staining it a new color. However, you can completely change the look of your plywood veneer furniture with a little paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Smooth foam roller
  • Remove the doors, drawers and hardware from your veneer furniture. Tape off any portion of the furniture that you don't want painted. Move the furniture onto a drop cloth.

  • Sand the surface of the plywood veneer thoroughly. Be careful to avoid sanding through the veneer finish. You are not trying to remove the finish entirely. Focus on creating a rough surface on the furniture so that the primer and paint will seep into it and stick.

  • Wipe sanding dust from the furniture with a damp rag.

  • Prime the furniture piece with a good-quality primer like Glidden Gripper or Kilz. Choose a product that is designed to work on slicker surfaces. Apply a thin, even coat or primer. Continue applying layers of primer until you can no longer see the original surface. Allow the primer to dry completely.

  • Use a paintbrush to cut in paint in the corners and detail areas of the furniture. Go over the seams with a smooth foam roller. Foam rollers work well with furniture because they create very little texture in the paint. Apply two to three coats of paint. Allow the paint to dry between coats.

  • Allow the paint to cure for at least 24 hours. Reassemble furniture carefully. The paint may scratch if handled too soon. If you do scratch the paint, use a small brush for touch-up.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your furniture piece will be subject to a lot of wear and tear, apply a coat of polyurethane before reassembly. This will further protect the furniture from nicks and scratches.

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