As I wrote in an earlier post, I recently bought an IKEA wardrobe, which I want to paint to match my desk. The wardrobe has a melamine finish, to which latex paint does not stick. The last time I tried to paint a piece of melamine furniture, it was an utter disaster. I think (hope) I'm smarter this time...
I decided to prime the sides and front before I assembled the wardrobe. First, I applied two coats of a spray primer for plastic. I'm hoping it will be the key to making the paint stick to melamine! I used a clear Valspar spray because that's all Lowe's had. I did not like it because it was very difficult to tell where I had sprayed or how well it was covering. After it dried, I applied two coats of Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch spray primer in grey.
(Update: Rust-Oleum primer is now labeled "also bonds to plastic," and my experience shows that to be correct. I no longer bother with a plastic primer.)
After the grey primer dried, I brought the pieces inside for assembly. If you've never put together IKEA furniture, the number and variety of screws, pegs and fasteners can be daunting.
But I find the instructions -- no words, just funny-looking little people -- are very clear and the pieces go together easily. If you're assembling a piece of cube-shaped furniture (armoire, bookshelf, chest of drawers, etc.) by yourself, propping the sides against a chair makes putting on the top and bottom much easier.
I assembled the wardrobe, except for attaching the doors. I painted the sides and front black (Behr latex paint in "Beluga") and the doors grey ("Pewter Mug"). So far, the paint seems to be adhering well. (Fingers crossed!) After the paint is thoroughly dry, I'll add stenciling.