Transforming melamine cupboards with wood veneer

Refresh your melamine cabinets by covering them with wood veneer. This inexpensive project will completely change the look of your kitchen. A transformation with a lot of impact!

Difficulty level : 
Duration : 
4 hours

Prepare the cabinets

  • 1.1Remove all the doors from the cabinets.
  • 1.2Remove handles and hinges, and number each panel to facilitate the reinstallation.

Top tip

Keep all the hardware (handles, knobs, hinges, screws, etc.) in a closed container.

Measure and cut the veneer

  • 2.1Unroll the veneer to make sure it is intact.
  • 2.2Place the veneer on the workspace, brown paper side up. Place a cabinet panel on top.
  • 2.3Mark around the panel, leaving a 1" buffer all around.
  • 2.4Using a square and a utility knife, cut the veneer.

Top tip

Before cutting, double check the wood grain direction to make sure you’re installing the veneer the right way. Cutting against the grain will be more difficult, pass over the area multiple times.

Glue the veneer

  • 3.1Go over the cupboard door with a cloth to remove any debris.
  • 3.2Place the veneer on the surface to cover. Plug in the iron.
  • 3.3Once it’s hot, iron over the veneer.

Glue the edge banding

  • 4.1Unroll, measure, and cut a piece of edge banding, leaving ½" on either side.
  • 4.2Put the piece on the edge of the door panel and iron it into place. To avoid burning the banding, do not stay in one spot with the iron.
  • 4.3Remove the excess from either end.

Top tip

The edge banding can be cut using the pressure of your fingers, or a utility knife.

Sand the door

  • 5.1With the manual edge trimmer, remove the excess edge banding.
  • 5.2Sand every veneered surface of the panel, following the wood grain. Sand down the corners as well.

Apply a finish

  • 6.1Apply a coat of varnish on the surface and the sides.
  • 6.2Repeat steps 2 to 6 for every door being covered.

Top tip

Make sure the varnish doesn’t drip by checking the sides frequently. If you find a drip, let it dry then scrape it off.
While you’re at it, why not change the handles!

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