How to Paint Laminate Cabinets to Look Like Wood

Things You\’ll Need

  • Phillips or flat-head screwdriver

  • Plastic wrap

  • Painter's tape

  • Fine-grit sandpaper

  • Tack cloth or damp cloth

  • White primer

  • Brown paint

  • Black paint

  • Paintbrushes

  • Wood grain stamp

23870848 Painting laminate cabinets is an affordable alternative to real wood. Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

Laminate cabinets are durable, easy to clean and much more affordable than wood. With a little paint, you can make laminate cabinets look like wood at a price that costs much less than actual wood. While painting laminate cabinets is a lengthy process that takes many steps to complete, the investment of time is worth the affordable, attractive end result. Save time by using a wood grain stamp.

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Step 1

Clean out all cabinets. Place the items inside in boxes and remove them from the area where you'll be painting.

Step 2

Remove all the doors from the cabinets by loosening the screws holding the hinges in place. Depending on the type of cabinets you have, you'll need a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver to loosen the hardware.

Step 3

Lay plastic over all counters and anything under the cabinets that you don't want to be affected by dripping paint. Use painter's tape to hold the plastic in place.

Step 4

Sand all laminate doors and cabinet bases so the paint can adhere properly. Wipe down all sanded surfaces with a tack cloth or damp rag.

Step 5

Coat the cabinets in a white primer and allow to dry completely, which can take up to 48 hours.

Step 6

Sand the primer you painted very lightly once the cabinets are dry. Wipe down with a cloth again.

Step 7

Paint over the primer with brown paint and allow to dry. Choose a brown color that resembles the shade of wood you want to re-create.

Step 8

Apply a second coat of paint if needed.

Step 9

Dip a wood grain stamp in black paint and press it onto the painted cabinets to create a wood-like pattern.


Wear gloves when painting.

Wood grain stamps are available at home improvement centers.


Open windows and doors to provide ventilation, as breathing paint fumes can be dangerous.