Can You Paint on Melamine? – Paint Adhesion on Plastics

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Thanks to developments in technology and materials becoming more accessible, there are loads of engineered wood products for you to choose from for all of your home improvement and crafting needs. Whether you’re looking at getting yourself some plywood, MDF, or particle board, there are loads of materials to choose from. One of the most commonly used and hard-wearing veneers on manufactured wood products is melamine. What is melamine? How is it made? Can you paint on melamine? Let’s have a look at these and some other frequently asked questions about the material.



What Is Melamine?

Melamine, like many materials these days, is a synthetic resin that has been designed for use in a wide variety of applications. Melamine is one of the most versatile materials out there at the moment, being used for a number of applications where the surface needs to be coated for aesthetic and/or protective reasons. It comes in a wide range of colors and can be even be printed to resemble different species of wood, types of stone, and other materials.

How is Melamine Made

Since melamine is a fully synthetic material. It’s made out of hydrogen cyanide and dicyandiamide, among other additives. Even though it is usually used as a starting point for other materials, it can also be used to coat existing materials to create an aesthetic protective barrier for the surfaces of said materials.

Melamine-Coated Engineered Wood

Unlike some of the materials that are used for similar applications, melamine cannot be sanded or repaired. Unlike plywood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard), melamine is a fully synthetic material, which unlike the unlike, is not up made of compressed wood particles. This means that the material can still be sanded and shaped, whereas melamine will disintegrate if you attempt to sand it too hard.

Melamine surfaces are largely affordable and easy to replace, which has made them extremely popular for home improvement and renovation applications. It can be used to create good-looking furniture, coat exterior, and interior furnishings.

Melamine Comes in Various Colors

For this reason, melamine is often seen as a cheap alternative to other engineered construction and coating materials, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot be made to be reliable. There are loads of coatings like paints and chemicals that can be used not only to ensure the longevity of your melamine coating, but to make it look a bit better too! Of course, unless it is scratched or you hate the color, it is always worth your while to try making your melamine look like new by giving it a deep clean before you go through al the trouble of repainting it.


Can You Paint on Melamine?

Can you paint on melamine? Yes, it is entirely possible to paint on melamine! Like most other materials whether they be naturally occurring or synthetic ones, there are a number of primers and paints that can be used to ensure that your paint adheres to the surface as well as make your finish look as good as possible!

Tips for Painting Melamine

There are a few things that you should keep in mind when it comes to using paint and other surface coatings on melamine surfaces. You should ensure that you have the correct brushes, paint, and preparation materials, and more importantly, understand the nature of the material you are working with.

To ensure that you have the best finish and that your melamine surfaces aren’t damaged, you should ensure that you know the grade of melamine you are working with to ensure that its tolerances aren’t exceeded while it’s being worked with. If you’re unsure of the grade and tolerances of the melamine you’re working with, just be as careful as you possibly can.



Can You Paint Melamine Cabinets?

Can you paint melamine cabinets? Yes, it is entirely possible to paint cabinets that have been coated with a melamine exterior. However, as we mentioned previously, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that your finish looks good and lasts as long as possible. Here are a few things you will need and some steps you can follow to ensure you get the best possible result.

  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Liquid deglosser (optional)
  • A tarp or old newspaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Some clean cloths
  • Brush and roller
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
  • Eye goggles


Prepare Your Workspace

Before we get into painting melamine cabinets, you should ensure that your workplace is well-prepared for the task ahead. How do you prepare your workspace? The best way to go about it is to ensure that any surface or object you don’t want getting dust or paint on it is covered. Make use of your tarp and painter’s tape to cover up these surfaces.

Prepare Area for Painting Melamine

Once you’re sure that all of your important surfaces have been covered up, you should ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated. You can make use of a fan or simply ensure that you have a crossflow of air from one end of your workspace to the other. Once your workspace has been prepared, you should ensure that your face mask, gloves, and protective goggles are on before moving on to the next step in the process.


Prepare Your Surface

One of the most important steps in painting melamine cabinets is to ensure that the surface is well prepared. The best way to ensure that your surface is well prepared is to give it a good sanding. Melamine has very low surface friction, which means that any paint applied to it will likely slide right off if it isn’t properly prepared.

Sand Melamine for Painting

When preparing your surface, there are two ways to go about it. The first is the tried-and-true method of using sandpaper; All that you need to do is use some 180-grit sandpaper to remove the surface’s glossy coating, ensuring that the paint will be able to adhere to it. The best way to go about this is to follow the length of the cupboard (or cupboard doors) as you sand them. Be sure not to sand to the surface too hard or you’ll remove the melamine from the surface entirely.

Another way to go about it is to use some liquid deglosser, which is simple enough to use. All that you need to do is ensure your surface is clean by giving it a good once-over with a clean cloth. Once your surface is clean, get some deglosser on your cloth and apply it to the surface of your workpiece.

Prepare Melamine for Paint with Deglosser

Once your deglosser has been applied, allow it to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s time period. Once the first coat has been allowed to dry completely, apply a second coat and allow for this one to dry completely as well. Your surface should have a bit of a raised, rough texture that will ensure good adhesion for your primer and paint. Ensure your workpiece is clean before moving on to the next step in the process.


Prime Your Surface

If you’re wondering what type of primer works on melamine, you can use pretty much any type of primer out there. Water-based primers and alcohol-based primers tend to work the best, although we do recommend that you choose a primer that best suits the type of paint you have chosen to use in order to achieve the best finish possible.

How to Prime Melamine

If you’re using an aerosolized primer, give the can a good shake before you get started. This ensures that all the heavier particles resting at the bottom of the can are reintroduced back into the mixture. Once you’re ready, start by spaying slightly off the workpiece and move your wrist in one smooth, uninterrupted motion across the surface of your workpiece. Repeat this process until the entire workpiece has been coated.

Spray-Paint Primer for Melamine

If you’re using a conventional brush and roller, give the good a good stir to ensure that the heavier particles are mixed in with the lighter ones. Once you’re ready, pour some primer out into a painter’s tray and get some on your brush/roller. Apply your paint evenly, working from one end to the other. If it makes things a bit easier, section off the workpiece to make it more manageable.

Ensure that you allow the primer to dry completely before applying the next coat. Once you’re happy with the amount of primer on your workpiece, ensure that the primer has been allowed to dry for the manufacturer’s recommended time period before moving on to the next step in the process. If there are any dust particles stuck to the surface before you begin painting, remove them with a clean cloth.


Paint Your Workpiece

Painting over melamine is pretty simple. Once your prime has been allowed to dry completely, it’s time to get to painting. As you did with the primer, give your paint a good stir to ensure that the heavier particle is reintroduced into the mixture. Once you’re done, pour some out into a painter’s tray and get some on your brush and/or roller.

Apply Paint Over Primed Melamine

When painting over melamine, you want to ensure that you paint the surface evenly. Keep in mind that your surface will be slightly raised even after priming, so be sure to take your time painting the surface. Follow the length of the surface you’re painting, and, if you’ll be painting section by section, ensure that the paint overlaps so that there are no gaps.

If you’re using aerosolized melamine paint or a paint sprayer, things might be even simpler. Before you get started, give the container a good shake to ensure that the heavier particles are introduced back into the mixture. Once you’re happy with the job you’ve done, start by spraying the workpiece and moving your wrist in one smooth, uninterrupted motion across the surface of your workpiece.

How to Spray Paint Melamine

Apply even pressure throughout the process and repeat until the entire workpiece has been coated. Once your workpiece has been painted completely, allow the paint to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s recommended time period. Once your workpiece is completely dry, additional coats can be applied to achieve a deeper finish.



Now that you know what melamine is, whether you can paint over melamine, and how to paint over melamine effectively, it’s time for you to get out there and put your newfound knowledge to the test. Always remember to ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated and that you are wearing the appropriate personal protective gear when working with any type of paint.



Frequently Asked Questions


Is There a Special Paint for Melamine?

Any paint can be melamine paint because virtually any type of paint can be used on melamine. Acrylic-based paint, latex-based paint, and chalk-based paint can be used effectively on melamine, with oil-based paints being virtually the only exception.


Is Melamine Safe to Eat On?

Melamine, like other resinous materials, is considered to be a safe surface on which you can eat. This being said, melamine should not be used to microwave things, as the chemical base used in its composition can be reactive to microwaves.


Is Melamine a Plastic?

Is melamine plastic? Melamine is one of many types of plastic used in the production of everyday things. It is used to make things like plastic plates, cups, plywood, and even other types of plastic! It is one of the most versatile thermoplastics in the world.