Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm planning to build a desk for my workstation and I wanted to have a glossy finish something like this.

enter image description here

I'll be using a 3/4" thick plyboard and plan to cover it with patching compound to have a smooth surface. I'm not really good at DIY and I'm saving some money... but will try my best to get a good result :)

Question 1: Is my approach stupid?

Question 2: What paint would you recommend? Can I use spray paint on this?

Question 3: Any alternative suggestion?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You want a gloss enamel.

Yes, you can use spray paint with it ... although I'd definitely sand it VERY carefully first with an orbital sander and 120 and 220 sandpaper, wipe down with tackcloth very carefully, prime with an oil based primer, sand again with 220, wipe, prime again, and sand AGAIN with 220 or possibly even a finer grit ... you want to make sure that the surface is absolutely perfect before you even try to paint with a gloss paint. Gloss finishes are the hardest to get a decent finish with.

Use thin coats of paint and build it up, trying to make it as even as possible. Don't be afraid to go over it with some 220 and then another finer grit of sandpaper if you feel like you've messed it up. Keep in mind that full cure times for enamel is generally 24+ hours and you'll want it to fully cure before you try to sand it, move it, recoat it, etc.

If you're brave, you can also try rolling it with a foam roller and some penetrol. A pint of gloss enamel shouldn't run you that much, and if you have done the prep right, mix it right, and apply it right you can get just as good a finish as a spray finish... or better if you're not used to finishing surfaces with spray cans or equipment.

If you go the can-and-roller route, avoid Rustoleum and go with something that is good, like Sherwin. If you go with cans, avoid the "Rustoleum Universal" spray cans, the spray heads on them suck. Just regular "Painter's Touch" or Krylon will work fine.

share|improve this answer
Thank you man! I really appreciate your advice! Another worry, Do you think my glossy finish would be a dust/dirt magnet? because it's gonna be white and it's base in wood, I kinda feel it would easily absorb dust compare to other materials like plastic or metal. I'm just really curious pardon my ignorance :) – Pennf0lio Jan 9 '12 at 17:32
The enamel/melamine paints are very fussy paints - you need to ensure temp/humidity is correct in order to get a good finish. – Steven Jan 9 '12 at 18:38
what I mean is when the paint already dries off. I found some glossy finished wood and tried putting some dust in it and the dust didn't really stay that much on the wood, so it's good... I thought since it's wood it would easily absorbs dust compare to plastic and metal. – Pennf0lio Jan 9 '12 at 19:38
I think you'll be fine if you don't put the paint on too thick, pay attention to the drying time requirements before exposing it to dusty environments ... once it's painted, the beauty of an oil based paint is that you can wipe it down with water any time. (I still would use coasters if you are the type to set drinks or soda on it, though.) – Karl Katzke Jan 10 '12 at 1:42

As another approach, you could consider laminate like this from Lowes. It's basically a glossy sheet (1 or so mm thick) that you glue onto your surface and then trim to fit. I've never done it, and I understand it's a bit of a pain to get right (you need to use contact cement, and once that stuff sticks, it's STUCK, so you can't re-position the sheet if you mess up).

That Lowes link isn't, I think, the best price you could find, it's just an example.

The advantage to laminate like this is that you don't have to do quite as much surface prep, and you can get the job done a good bit quicker (no 24 hour dry times). If you get good laminate it can be a very tough finish (many kitchen counters are finished with this type of material).

On the downside it's likely to be a good bit more expensive than paint, and I'm given to understand that doing the trimming properly really requires a router.

share|improve this answer
thanks for the alternative.. will try to go in our local hardware if i can find some of this. thanks! – Pennf0lio Jan 9 '12 at 19:33
Doing the trimming definitely requires a router and a couple of specialized bits. It's unfortunately easy to screw up without being easy to fix like paint. – Karl Katzke Jan 10 '12 at 1:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.