How to Paint a Laminate Bookcase

My daughter has been given books since before she was born, we’ve gathered quite a collection. So I’ve been working on a bookcase for her room. That way the collection can grow even bigger!


Now I’m not a huge fan of the laminate wood look, especially when everything in her room is cutsie! All of her furniture is white except the rocking chair, which is gray. But since it’s a bookcase I wanted it to be a bit more colorful than just white or gray, you know attract her to it more. So I painted it pink! A nice pastel pink. So it won’t be too bright but it will still stand out a bit.

Here’s how I did it and what I used…


  • Ugly brown laminate bookcase
  • Sander
  • 120 & 400-600 grit sand paper
  • 2  cans of Killz Primer Spray
  • 1 can of Ballerina pink primer and paint
  • 1 can of Gloss white primer and paint
  • Drop Cloth

I started with sanding off the shiny layer on the laminate. I want the paint to stay and the shiny part will make it chip off easier. I sanded the outside and the inside but I skipped the cardboard backing because it started to thin out and wasn’t sanding evenly.


Now I recommend taking the back cardboard off and re-nailing it in afterwards because it just got in the way and it’s easy to take off and put back on.

Once I had all of the pieces sanded, shelves included, I started wiping down all the wood with a cloth that catches easily. To grab all of the dust from sanding. I also banged on it a few times to try to loosen dust from hard to reach crevasses.

Then once all the dust was removed I started spray painting the outside edges with the Killz Primer. This is a VERY important step, otherwise the paint is just going to soak through the wood and its going to look terrible. Just trust me on this…


After the Primer sat for about an hour, I sanded it a bit with my 120 grit, but I think I should have used the 400 grit. I just wanted to remove some of the rougher areas but I ended up removing some primer in some areas. Don’t forget to wipe off the dust after sanding.

Next I grabbed the pink and started on the outer sides. I ended up using the whole can on just the outsides and half of each shelf. But I really liked how that looked with the white primer so I took a trip back to the store to get more paint. I was going to grab another pink to do a second coat but they didn’t have the same pink so I had to skip it but I grabbed a gloss white to put over the primer. I really loved how it turned out.


The only thing I don’t like is the back piece. It turned out terrible but I had to make due. I’ll probably buy a new piece of board to put on the back so it looks better. DEFINITELY DO NOT sand the back cardboard. Where I sanded it looks so patchy and the paint just soaked into the cardboard. Also when you are painting the back piece use primer first. I made the mistake of skipping it and I shouldn’t have. That might have saved it a little bit.


I think though, through all the mistakes I made it turned out pretty good. I like how the colors go together and the white will help it blend in more with the rest of her furniture in her room. Plus the books will cover most of the ugly back piece. Now she has a super cute bookcase to build her book collection!


Hope you guys have as much fun as I did! See you on Tuesday!


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