This QUESTION has been asked of me a time or two, so I thought I’d share the answer with all of my readers:

“I just watched your tutorial video on painting a Formica surface. I have one of those retro Formica and chrome tables and I would like to paint the table top. I see you used a paint sprayer to apply your paint. I would not have access to that, so what kind of brush/roller would you recommend using if painting by hand?”

Here is my ANSWER:

Purdy makes great paint brushes. If you are using water based paint choose a synthetic bristle brush that is tapered not flat. The best brushes have bristles with little fuzzy tips. Make sure your brush is not rusted anywhere and that the bristles are not loose and falling out. Since you are doing a large surface I would recommend at least a 4″ brush.

Here are a few tips for getting a good finish using a brush

Slightly dampen your brush before use. Doing this will help keep paint from drying up in the brush during use.
Don’t put too much paint on the brush. Multiple thin coats is much better than one heavy coat. Your finish will be smoother and you will not waist paint.
Paint with the brush at 45-degree angle and don’t push down hard. Make smooth, fluid motions.
For a better finish, paint from the area just painted towards the unpainted area.
Below is a follow up QUESTION asked by the same reader:

“Thanks for including the type of primer to use. Is there a specific type of paint you used for the top coat? I’ve read about an actual Formica paint. Is that necessary? Also, the table will be out on a patio (covered) so will I need to seal the top coat in some way? Any recommended products?”

Here is my ANSWER:

For those of you who have not seen the video I used a bonding primmer. CLICK HERE for a detailed post on how to paint laminate. This post includes product information and step by step instructions.

For the top coat I used Valspar paint from Lowes. It’s just your basic acrylic latex paint. It is a water based product. I’ve actually never heard of Formica paint, but with the bonding primmer, it is definitely not necessary. The bonding primer is created to stick to just about every surface , including glass and metal, and it creates a base for any water based paint to adhere to. (The bonding primer I use is water based, so a water based paint would have to be applied over it, oil won’t work)

As far as top coats go I typically skip that. The reason is because every “clear” coat I have ever used turns yellow. I typically opt for a wax. Howard’s feed-n-wax is a great product. It’s usually found in the paint department of the hardware store. It can be applied and then buffed off. It’s easy to work with and leaves a little sheen and a water resistant surface. It does wear off eventually and needs to be reapplied every now and then. You could also use a past wax, which you’d also find in the paint section. Paste wax is a more difficult to work with, but will leave a hard, durable surface. CLICK HERE to read my take on clear coats.


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