Is my paint doomed?

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Forum topic by Mdciolli posted 02-27-2014 03:04 AM 937 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 971 days

02-27-2014 03:04 AM

First time poster – long time reader – novice craftsman.

I was asked to make a spinning prize wheel for a friend. The wheel is whiteboard panel laminated on 1/2 mdf. Base is made of pine and 1/2 mdf. I have two questions about the paint.

1) on the wheel itself, I figured (wrongly) that black spray paint would cover the mdf well enough. I have never used mdf before and didn’t have primer on hand. Can I paint primer on top of the one coat of black paint I’ve already applied, or does that need to come off first?

2) similar question, but for the whiteboard wedge separating lines. Again, I went against my common sense and applied black spray paint to the whiteboard surface without priming. It coated pretty well, but I’m concerned that it will come off when the wheel is cleaned. Is there something I can do about this? I sanded a scrap piece and it just ruins the whiteboard surface.

I apologize for the elementary level question, but you got to start somewhere! I’ve been building for a little while, but never needed to do the finishes, but I’d like to learn. Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

7 replies so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


2302 posts in 1830 days

#1 posted 02-27-2014 03:44 AM

Post a picture, MDF board is not fun stuff to play with in the finish department. I have had success with some texture finish from the box store but I did prime it and paint with a basecoat before using the texture.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2463 days

#2 posted 02-27-2014 08:22 AM

As far as I know you you shouldn’t rattle can MDF. I have never used or painted the stuff but am pretty sure your best bet is to use a brush on paint.

Never painted Whiteboard either but I would think the Rust-Oleum Universal type Spray paint would work the best.

My .02 cents FWIW

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 1448 days

#3 posted 02-27-2014 12:20 PM

Paint can be forgiving, if it has something to stick to. I’ve never used a spray paint of any kind on wood, so that could make a difference, but it possible the paint will stick to the MDF just fine, but it is always best of course to prime. As for the whiteboard, that’s another matter, it so slick and smooth, the paint may not be able to stick, but than again, primer might not either. Whiteboard is not meant to be painted, you buy it cause it is already finished. It is so slick I personally wouldn’t try it. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to use whiteboard for a surface they wanted to paint. You should have bought plain masonite, or hardboard as some call it. There is also many types of MDF I have seen. Some are extremely smooth, and others are a bit rough, and I don’t care what the stores call it, it ain’t MDF, it is particle board. Stores love to try to pass off particle board off as MDF and charge premium price.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2706 days

#4 posted 02-27-2014 12:49 PM


MDF can be painted and look great, but it takes some work. MDF is like a sponge when finish is applied, so it definitely needs to be primed and lightly sanded until all the pores are sealed. This may take a couple applications just to get a good even sealed, primed surface.

Your spray paint that you have already applied will start as a sealer and you can prime over the top of it if you lightly sand the surface. The ends of MDF and any machined surface will take a lot to seal to get a smooth finish.

Once you get the surface and all edges of your MDF primed and sealed to an even texture, then you can apply your top coat of black spray paint. May still need to do a couple coates with the black, but you can achieve a good look with a little time and effort.

As far as the white board goes, it has a very smooth slick surface as was mentioned above, so this may be tricky to get paint to stick.

They make a product called “liquid sandpaper” which is a de-glosser that helps in applications like that. It’s available in most of your big box stores where they sell paint thinners, lacquer thinners and such. You can also find it in your retail paint stores like Sherwin Williams. It’s nothing more that a liquid that you put on a rag and wipe the surface down with. It will make the surface feel somewhat sticky, but allows paint to adhere to the surface.

I’ve never used it on white board, so I’m not sure if that would be your solution, but it would be worth checking the product out and see what it says by the manufacturerer.

Good luck and hope all turns out well.

-- John @

View LakeLover's profile


283 posts in 1360 days

#5 posted 02-27-2014 03:15 PM

I have painted tons of MDF.

Sand lightly, oil based primer. Pre tinted if you want. Latex paint and a clear coat. Milled edges will suck primer up, so give them one coat, let it dry and hit it again.

I have used drywall compound to pre fill edges and make a high finish edge. It is really easy once you try.

As for white board. Good luck.. Perhaps cut vinyl from a sign company.

View Mdciolli's profile


20 posts in 971 days

#6 posted 02-27-2014 11:06 PM

Thanks everyone! I found a video on YouTube of someone doing exactly what I did and it apparently worked fine. If it doesn’t go well, I’ll have to make a new wheel part or something later on.

@Whiskers, I’m not painting the whole white board surface, just 1/4 inch thick lines to divide the 8 pie pieces of the wheel.

Mdf is a pain to paint I’m finding! I think this will be my first, and last project, using it…

I’ll post pictures when I’m done!

View Mdciolli's profile


20 posts in 971 days

#7 posted 03-08-2014 02:02 PM

That was the only one I got before she had to leave with it. I think the paint will hold on the white board.

The red paint on the clicker/arrow was rubbing off though

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