Fix Chipped Veneer The Easy Way
Veneer on furniture… It’s a love/hate relationship.
When it is done correctly it can be beautiful,
when it’s chipping or peeling it becomes ugly and unattractive.
That’s when a decision must be made…
Do I pitch it?
Throw it in the next bonfire?
Pull out hairs on my head trying to figure out how to fix it?
I am here to tell you… It can be fixed, and trust me,
you don’t want to pull those grey hairs out…
we all know what happens when they are pulled.
(I guess I am speaking for myself here).
This is an easy solution for furniture that is going to be painted.
Let me show you how to
Fix Chipped Veneer the Easy Way.
Here is the little beauty that I started with…
I found her at Goodwill and saw a few pass her by after looking at peeling veneer on top and chipped veneer on the drawers.
As they looked and passed her by,
I swarmed around like a hawk waiting for it’s prey.
They looked at this…
and that was the deal-breaker.
That’s when I dove in…
and grabbed that Goodwill pricetag before the next person could.
I knew this was an easy fix.
Here’s what you will need…
Automotive Body Filler
Disposable utensil and plate
Bondo Spreader or Metal Scraper
Protective Gear (Latex Gloves, Goggles, Ventilator Mask)
Let me show you how it’s done…
Start by taping around the area that needs a defined edge.
Prepare the Automotive Body Filler.
This can contains filler or putty and a hardening agent.
Place a generous amount of filler on a disposable plate.
Next add a small amount of hardener
This is where you have to move FAST!
The hardening agent is bonding and hardens quickly!
Once it is blended completely,
add a generous amount to the surface with the damage.
Quickly thin out the body filler with a Bondo Spreader or Metal Scraper.
Once thinned and scraped the piece should look something like this.
Now it should be hard to touch and it is safe to remove the tape.
Once removed, skim around the perimeter to remove any
dried putty hanging over the edge.
This will create a straight edge.
Now it’s time to sand down the putty to create a hard, smooth surface.
Here is the finished drawer.
Now it is ready to be cleaned up, primed, and painted.
Check back to see this little gem become beautiful again.
The rain has kept me from finishing this piece,
but I will share with you as soon as it is complete.
Have you experienced the chipped veneer dilemma?
Did you fix it or throw in the towel?
See the finished piece by clicking here.
*** I have had several requests about where you can purchase the body filler. I purchased this brand at Ace Hardware several years ago. I am not sure if they still have it, but I found a (affiliate link)3M Product
that is similar.***
If you liked what you read, I appreciate all the sharing you do!
and follow along on Instagram too.
Thanks for the instructions. I have passed up pieces like that in the past. Now I’ll look at them as a bargain!
You are welcome, Mary. Definitely do not pass them up. They are a bargain and a quick fix! I look forward to sharing the end result with you. 🙂
Great way to make a repair to a cracked and chipped wood veneer.
Wondering if you have details on how you did the next steps to finish the piece off?
I actually scored some end tables at a yard sale that had tops that were just like but a lot worse. I was able to remove the top to the one table because it was so bad. They turned out great. I posted them on my blog http://www.mycreativedays.com (I am having a hard time pasting the link here). I am so happy I read this post because sometimes pieces aren’t so bad so this is perfect. Thanks for the tip! I will definitely use this on future projects!
I am looking forward to seeing what you did with your tables, Lindsay. Also, let me know if you try this out on future projects, I would love to see! 🙂
Angie, great meeting you at Haven! This is an excellent post! I’d love to share it on my FB 🙂 I’ll be bookmarking this for sure! 🙂 Don’t you just love the stuff that people walk by at the thrift store? OH YEAH!
Serena @ Thrift Diving
Hey Serena! I am missing everyone from Haven. I am glad we can all still connect in Blogland. I would love for you to share on FB – thank you! I DO love when peeps walk on by… especially if I WANT IT! Ha! 🙂
So glad you posted this! I am about to work on repairing some veneer on a dresser too. Didn’t know it was so easy with bondo.
Now, what if I want to stain the piece instead of paint it? Do they make stainable bondo and have you tried it? Does it work well?
If you aren’t going to paint, you may want to try wood filler or 3M is coming out with Bondo/filler that can be stained. I learned that at Haven. I haven’t tried it, but I bet it would work great. I would probably test it in a small area first. 🙂
Another product I have used (a lot) is Rock Hard. I was in the construction industry for years and we used this for everything! It has the same results as Bondo, but it is less complicated to mix and use. You only need water to mix. You can get it at any hardware store.
That’s awesome! Thanks so much for the tip!
Angie! I have several pieces with chipped veneer and this post totally ROCKS (as does your GOODWILL GOLD). THANK YOU! I love your site and would so LOVE to catch up with you in person. I STILL have this little pendant I made for you! :0)
You are welcome, Dawn! We NEED to get together… I miss your smiling face. 🙂
This looks too complicated, have you ever tried Quick wood/Kwik wood?
You can get it in different shades to match wood and can be stained instead of only painting. It can be found pretty much any hardware/woodworking store.
Thanks Joy! I haven’t tried the product you are suggesting… good to know. This process was really not complicated at all and I chose it to give a rock, hard, and solid surface. It needed to be indestructible being that it was the side of a drawer and would be opened and closed several times a week. This piece is going to be painted so I thought this was the best choice. Thank goodness for us DIY’ers, we have lots of options and products to choose from. 🙂
The product can be found by both names, it is VERY durable! It’s a 2 part epoxy putty that you basically mash together and form to the area, great especially for filling old knob holes! I use it all the time!
Found your blog through pinterest, love your stuff and tips and tricks! I re-claim furniture as well, you can find me on fb at Re-Claimed by Joy! 🙂
Perfect, Joy! I will have to try it. I am so glad you found my site and I am headed over to check out your FB page. Thanks!
Wow! I’m looking forward to seeing the finished piece. (I thought you would have had to remove the veneer so I love that you were able to easily fix it.)
It was an easy fix. I will share with you as soon as it is complete. 🙂
I cannot believe anyone would ever prime and paint a piece so beautiful just because they wanted to make a repair incorrectly. At least one person advised using an epoxy wood filler which can be textured and stained to be a close match to the beautiful wood finish and it will be a far more attractive and valuable item whichever appeals to you than ANY paint job. The trend of painting good furniture has to stop. There’s a place for it but good furniture that is refinishable isn’t nor ever has been that place. So looking forward to the end of the milk paint chalk paint furniture ruining fad.
JB, this is a love it or hate it thing. Wood is beautiful and I have several wood pieces in my home. Painting furniture is an individual’s decision. Some people like painted furniture just as much as a wood piece. It depends on the interior and the person that gets to live with it. With that said, someone’s trash was turned into a treasure in my home. The room that it was going into called for a painted piece, it’s just the vision I saw. Painting furniture, in my opinion, creates a piece of art. This was a piece that could have filled a landfill, instead it’s in my home and we are enjoying it. 🙂
JB thank you for expressing my views also. I love the beauty of wood grains, sculptured carvings and history of the heirloom furniture. I have to say that some of the painted pieces are beautiful and nicely done. However, some just destroy the piece–such a shame. Thee new trend to wax finishes is the same what we have been cleaning out of beautiful old pieces of furniture. Looks like we will have many more pieces in the future to work on cleaning up again.
Did you ever post the finished piece? I can’t find another post.
Oh my goodness Rose! I never did! After reading your question, I looked through all of my pictures and don’t have one that shows the finished piece. Be on the lookout for it as I will post about it this week. Thanks so much for letting me know. So sorry about that. 😉
Why no just use wood filler?? I use it all the time…no mixing, no rush applying it, and same end result. I’ve even repaired large chunks of missing corners on drawer tops! You only need about an hour for dry time for what you’ve done here, but a few days for large thick repairs. Just apply, shape it, leave drying a few days, and sand it to define shape. It’s tough and solid once completely dry and painted.
I’m curious as to why you used the auto puddy stuff. Am I missing something?
Nope, you aren’t missing anything. This is what I used for a big gouge in a previous piece and also reconstructing a leg on a chair. It was super durable and worked great, so I used it for this project as well. It is seriously hard as a rock. I bet wood filler works the same, this is what I had on hand at the time and knew I wasn’t going to stain it. 😉
Bondo? You can NOT stain Bondo like Elmers Wood fillers. So, why not use wood filler and stain–thus saving that beautiful piece of furniture?
Can I use anything else besides bondo? It said it could cause cancer. My hubby wouldn’t let me use it. Just curious. I have a furniture that could benefit from bondo but hubby said I would need to use an alternate. I am going to chalk paint afterwards.
Hi Lizette, So sorry for the late response. I believe 3M has a product out now that is similar to Bondo. Also, Joy commented above about Quick Wood/Kwik Wood. I haven’t tried either products, but they may have different labeling. I am such a safety worry wart, so I always recommend wearing a respirator and the right gear to protect yourself. Best of luck to you. I would love to hear what you end up using.
Would you recommend the bondo method over wood filler/putty? Why?
I have a buffet piece that has carved doors (UGLY) and I want to fill in the carved grooves on the doors.. I thought wood filler/putty but now I am having second thoughts. Piece will be painted once complete..
Hi Megan, Wood filler will probably give you the same result. There were chunks taken out of the drawer that needed to be replaced/renewed. The bondo sets up really hard and was a great solution for the task. Filling in the grooves with wood filler may give you the same effect. I would say try a small area with the wood filler and see if it is the result you like. The bondo is great for painting over, but staining not so much. I hope this helps. Best of luck!
Is there something I can use that contains NO VOC for someone that is chemically sensitive instead of the car body product?
Can you stain over it out just paint?
Hi Julia, This is for a durable surface that will be painted.
Awesome! I just wish I would’ve seen this a month earlier. Nope, I didn’t pass up the piece, I just took all the veneer off because so much was missing. It didn’t hurt the piece, or me, one but to paint raw wood and now she’s a beauty, if I may say so myself. I am working on a piece right now though that this will be my answer to fix it. Thank you. 🙂
Regina, I am so glad this will work for your next project. I would love to hear how it turns out.
Would wood filler work; if not ,why?
It probably would. I wasn’t sure how wood filler would hold up with a corner piece missing, that is why I chose to use this method. It is super strong and the piece still looks great. The previous comments above say wood filler would work the same. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this type of project again using wood filler. I hope this helps.
Hi, I love your ideas! Where can I find the materifoe this? Also where can I find your finished project?
Thanks for sharing!
Material for the project. Sorry for the typo!
I added a link at the bottom of this post for a similar product. I found the product used in this post at Ace Hardware, however this has been a few years. I hope this helps!
Can I ask why you can’t just use wood filler? I think this looks great but I’m just curious.
You could use wood filler instead. I wanted to paint this piece and needed a super durable and smooth edge. This did the trick and the piece is still as strong as ever.
I have always just used wood filler, this looks easier . I hate the texture of wood filler . I actually just removed veneer for the first time this weekend. It was on a antique dresser . The top wasn’t able to be patched so I took it off and it’s gorgeous !!
Awesome Jessica! I bet it is gorgeous!
I have painted furniture for years. I grew up poor and as a grandma past her working years, I’m not in much better shape these days. My talent is, and has always been the ability to make something beautiful from old worn out furniture. I make over furniture that cannot be brought back to it’s original wooden beauty through repair, repaint and decorative onlays. Suddenly this thing that I did, and my mama before me did is “shabby chic” and trendy. Believe me, I would rather have had beautiful matching high end furniture. I’m happy that this cost cutting practice has become a trend. It is sad to see beautiful wood painted over, but it is also inspiring to see furniture junked and left on the side of the road (I get a lot of my pieces this way) or donated, to he turned into matching one of a kind masterpieces.
Hi Karen, It sounds like you have a talent of renewing furniture into pieces of art. I love that! Thank you for sharing your story. I would love to see some of your masterpieces.
Thank you for this useful information. Can I ask you why you didn t use wood filler?
Is this stainable and paintable with latex?
Hi Rose, I painted the piece and it worked great. Unfortunately, I can’t give you an answer on staining. Wood filler may be best for staining. I hope this helps!
Mohawk Finishing Products makes a brilliant 2 part epoxy that comes in a stick. You cut off a slice, knead it and you can apply it with much better precision. Also it will take stain.
Thanks, Devra. That’s good to know.
Nice job. I love using this, of course mine is another brand, but works the same. Beautiful!
This is great, thank you for sharing. I am going to try this on a piece of furniture that I own that I was feeling hopeless about. How long did it take you to sand down the furniture by hand? I’m thinking about buying an electric sander.
Hi Jacqueline! This project was completed several years ago, so unfortunately, I do not remember how long sanding took. I do know that I couldn’t live without a sander. It makes big jobs so much easier. I don’t think you can go wrong with a sander. Best of luck to you and your project!