The main steps in this project are: clean laminate surface, sand, prime, and paint. I (was supposed to) us paint thinner (degreaser) to clean the laminate, a dremel multimax tool to sand (240 grit sandpaper), a 4" paint roller, Kilz primer, and valspar paint. There are many products and tools you can use to accomplish these steps so use whatever you have on hand. A dust mask is a must while sanding.
Step 1: Clean Laminate Surface
I'll be honest I forgot to complete this step. I had the paint thinner out and ready to use but skipped right over it and started sanding. I don't think it hurt the final product but it is an easy enough thing to do to properly prep the laminate surface for the primer and paint.
The purpose of this step is to remove any oil/dirt from the laminate surface that would negatively impact the primer/paints ability to adhere to the laminate. Remove the hardware and scrub the surface of the laminate with the cleaning agent to remove dirt/oil.
Step 2: Sand and Spackle
I used the dremel multi-max tool with 240 grit sandpaper for this project. I also used a sanding block for the areas where the dremel couldn't reach. It is important not to sand the laminate away completely to expose the underlaying particle board. I was guilty of this is some areas where the dremel lingered for to long (see light brown areas in photos above). If you sand to much then the different surfaces (laminate and underlay) might be distinguishable in the finished product.
The purpose of sanding is to rough up the laminate to give the primer/paint a rough surface to cling to. If you do not sand the paint will not adhere to the smooth laminate and peel right off once dry.
Another thing I forgot to do was fill in the holes from the old hardware. I figured hardware would be standard and we could find nice replacements using the original holes. Do not make the assumption I did. Hardware is not standard, fill the holes (I used spackling paste) and drill new ones for the hardware you want. Fill hole with spackling paste using puffy knife completely. Leave a very small mound that is feathered away from the hole. 24hrs later sand flush with drawer surface. Repeat previous spackling one time more for best results.
Step 3: Prime (said in Your Best Megatron Voice)
From what I have read online, priming the laminate surface before paint is a must. The primer will give the paint something to cling to so it won't peel off once dry. I let the primer dry for a couple days before I painted over top of it. Once coat of primer was plenty good for complete coverage.
I used the four inch foam roller for the primer. I had never used a foam roller before and will not use again. The foam was uneven and didn't roll smoothly. Fiber rollers are the way to go.
Step 4: Paint!
The wife and I decided on an 'ombré' paint scheme for the dresser and it turned out great. I used a paint brush for the body and foam brushes for the drawers. I put three coats on the body and two on the drawers. The foam brushes rinsed out well and were reused.
The dresser is slightly sticky to the touch so I am thinking of putting a coat of polyurethane on it. Still need new hardware and my wife thinks the blue clashes with the green wall so I'll probably end up lightening the wall.
Better with light grey wall? It's a push for me.