Painting laminated bookshelves

The Guardian, Saturday 5 March 2011


We have some old, white laminated chipboard bookshelves we want to paint. The laminated surface is smooth and shiny. What paints and process would ensure a good coverage of paint that will not peel off or mark the books?

“There are different melamine/laminate primers on the market,” says our DIY guru, Julian Cassell, “but I use Zinnser BIN primer sealer (£13.95/1 litre, Give the surfaces a light sand and remove any dust with a damp cloth before applying the primer direct to the shelves. It dries very quickly, so you can get on and apply your chosen decorative coats. Use a hardwearing option for shelving, so continue with two coats of oil-based eggshell for a matt finish or at least one undercoat and a gloss for a shinier finish. To ensure that the paint won’t peel off or be marked by the books, leave the final coat to dry for a few days before loading the shelves with books.”


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