Best way to paint veneer covered particle board furniture (fish tank stand)?

I have a fish tank stand that's made of particle board, covered with veneer to make it look like it's real wood. This veneer isn't waterproof at all, so I'm hoping to water proof it, as well as change the color. What would be the best way to approach this?
I'm thinking I first have to give it a good sanding to rough up the veneer real good. Then I was thinking of spraying on two coats of oil based flat black paint, followed by two coats of oil based urethane from a spray can. Is there a better way of approaching this? Thanks, Harry
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think spar varnish for the waterproofing. you can put it on top of paint. don't forget the bottom of things, like shelves and legs.
particle board shouldn't be used around water. it swells and looses all it's strength when it gets wet, and i've never seen a tank that eventually didn't get water splashed around it.
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Charles Spitzer wrote:

Ironically, unless you want to shell out big bucks, most stands are made of either MDF or particle board, go figure. That's why I'd like to protect it.
Thanks, Harry
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Harry Muscle wrote:

The urethane is about the best you can do. Spar varnish isn't intended for that purpose...it is formulated to be softer and flexible because - surprise - it is made for use on sailboat spars and they do a lot of bending/flexing.
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surprise. anything around a fish tank will get lots of humidity changes (especially a wooden hood), and will swell and shrink, which is the same as bending/flexing. granted, using mdf or plywood will minimize this, but i use solid woods and tubafors for all the ones i build.

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