How to Paint Particleboard Furniture

ready-to-put-together black particleboard furniture pieces with pegs
What You'll Need
120-grit sandpaper
220-grit sandpaper
Clean cloth
Dust mask or approved respirator
Adequate ventilation

While painting particle board furniture might seem as easy as painting regular wood, it isn't. In fact, if you don’t properly sand and prime the surface of your particleboard furniture first, the paint won’t go on evenly and it will flake and chip. Learn how to refinish and paint your particleboard, so that you can spruce up your living space without buying new furniture.

Step 1 – Sanding the Surface

A lot of particleboard furniture is made with a laminate coating on top. This coating makes it difficult for paint to adhere to the surface unless it's sanded first. Using a 120-grit piece of sandpaper, sand the entire surface and edges of the furniture evenly. Then, wipe the surface with a soft, clean cloth to remove all dust and sand particles.

While sanding your furniture, keep an eye out for any cracks or splinters. If your particleboard pieces are damaged, repair them before continuing.

Step 2 – Choosing the Best Paint

After you have sanded the particleboard, find the right paint for your surface. Usually, oil- or water-based paints work best on particleboard. If you want to use an oil-based primer, you should use an oil-based paint. If you want to use a water-based primer, you should use water-based paint.

Step 3 – Priming the Surface

Warning: When using primer or paint, follow all directions as provided by the manufacturer. Wear long sleeves, gloves, and a mask to avoid inhaling paint fumes.

After you’ve sanded the surface free of the laminate coating, apply a good primer. Depending on your type of furniture, it may be easier to use a spray primer or brush-on primer.

Step 4 – Sanding the Primer

After you’ve let the primer dry completely, sand the furniture again. Use a 220-grit piece of sandpaper to carefully sand the particleboard. Be careful not to remove the primer. Remove any leftover dust with a tack cloth before moving on to the next step.

Step 5 – Applying Paint

Apply one coat of paint to the surface, and allow it to dry. If the paint doesn’t stick well, try using 220-grit sandpaper again on the surface. Then, apply another layer of paint. If you need to apply more than one layer of paint to the particleboard, paint thin layers, and distribute the paint evenly across the surface to get the best results.