Paint Formica laminate cabinets by ensuring the surface is free from any grease or waxes, sanding lightly, applying an oil based primer and then applying the topcoat. Use faux finishing techniques to give the countertops the look of stone. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one and before using the counters again.
Removing grease and wax is essential to the adhering of the new finish. Options include the use of a solvent, such as xylol, or scrubbing thoroughly. The solvent is effective but requires wearing protective gloves and a respirator, along with opening windows for ventilation and removing children and pets from the area. Scrubbing with a scouring pad is more labor intensive but safer. Repair any gouges in the surface with wood filler before proceeding.
Even after years of use, most laminates remain to slick for proper adhering of the primer. Sanding with fine sandpaper provides a surface to which the primer attaches firmly, providing a longer lasting finish. Sand any filled areas so they are flush with the countertop.
Apply the primer with a paint roller. Some kits include a black primer, that the manufacturer designs to show through the final coats in places. Practice using the sponge applicator on black construction paper to perfect the technique and determine the finish you want. Then apply the top coat to the counter with the sponge. After a few days, move heavy objects, such as microwave ovens back to the counter.