I was curious if it's even worth it...I've started painting my entertainment center which is made of the cheap pressed wood, the kind of furniture you put together...the paint doesn't seem to want to stick to it..i'm using paint with primer in it. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!
Most particle board furniture has a vinyl finish that is applied at the factory. Due to the fact it is a vinyl and not a paint finish, it is almost impossible to refinish it.
Paint will not adhere to it and sanding will ruin it. The only solution would be to cover it with contact paper, which is similar to the original finish and will work.
But contact paper is difficult to work with and is available in limited color and patterns.
My suggestion is to replace the piece with a new one.
Let me contradict the statement in the above post that "paint will not adhere to it and sanding will ruin it".
First, most paints will have difficulty sticking directly to the plastic like coating on the particle board furniture. However, there are exceptions. One option is the use of spray paints which will bond directly to plastic: RustOleum Universal paint will bond to plastic as will the Rustoleum 2X spray paints which clearly state on the label that they bond directly to plastic..
A second option is to brush / roll on a suitable dedicated primer, rather than one of the paint and primer in one products. Glidden's Gripper and Zinsser's 123 will both bond to plastic. These are both water based primers. However, in my opinion, by far the best bonding primer on Melamine or Formica type products is Zinsser's BIN, BIN is a white pigmented shellac (alcohol based) that has absolutely incredible adhesion to almost any surface, even slick glass! Clear shellac can also be used as a bonding primer.
Once the piece is primed with one of these products, any suitable acrylic or oil paint may be painted on top of it.
One word of caution: most paints and primers increase their adhesion as they cure. If you scrape the surface a few minutes after painting it on, it may well come off. Do give it a few hours to minimally cure!
The adhesion of the primer will also be increased if the surface is "scuff sanded" first with a fine sandpaper: 180 or 220 grit. You do not want to sand through the surface, but merely dull it down. Do not use a courser grit sandpaper, as scratches might show through the finish coat, especially if spray paint is used.
Whether your furniture piece warrants this effort is a choice you will have to make, but it can be done!
Hope this has been useful information. Good luck!
Surfaces like those on your entertainment center are designed to repel dirt and stains.
Likewise, that surface will repel your next coat of paint ... even the paint products that include primers.
You really have two options when preparing slick surfaces for paint:
1) Buff sand with 220-grit sandpaper ... not sanding down to the wood, but simply breaking the gloss; and
2) Prime with Zinsser 123 (water-based).
According to the manufacturer, "Zinsser 123 adheres well to glossy surfaces, including tile and enameled trim." The label says it will prime vinyl, aluminum siding and several other hard-to-paint surfaces.
So, don't give up the project!
Simply start with a primer designed to cling to the slick surface of your entertainment center.
NOTE: Paint and primer products are great for semi-porous surfaces, but will not cling to most high-gloss or semi-sloss surfaces without priming first. These shiny surfaces are designed to repel stains and prevent almost anything other than primer from establishing a firm base. So, even if you get a coat of paint and primer to cling, the attachment to the surface will be brittle and the coating will easily scratch off.
FINALLY: Primer typically dries in about an hour, then use any topcoat to complete your project.
I might add that this situation is not unlike the wall coverings that are often used in manufactured housing. They often use a product that looks like wallpaper , but is actually a plastic coating that comes bonded to a wooden or drywall substrate right from the manufacturer. This too can be primed with Gripper or Zinsser 123 before painting to assure a good bond. Again, I would be hesitant to use one of the "primer and paint in one" products on such surfaces.
Well you started quite a conversation about refinishing your wood furniture. I stand by my original advice.
While it may be possible to refinish your entertainment center with many of our modern products, no amount of sanding, primer or paint will cover the nicks dings and dents of hard use especially on this type of furniture.
The cost of the products to do the job as the gentlemen have recommended here can easily exceed the cost of replacing the entertainment center.