Painting MDF

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Forum topic by tresselk posted 05-17-2009 04:11 AM 1555 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 3189 days

05-17-2009 04:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: mdf paint

I have made a full scale prototype out of MDF for a side table that I am going to build. Instead of disgaurding it, I would like to paint it up so it can be used elsewhere or given away. I have never had great luck painting MDF however. I want a high gloss, even/consistant finish. Any ideas?

4 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115172 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 05-17-2009 04:13 AM

Primer first quick sand then spray paint.

-- Custom furniture

View Sawdust2's profile


1467 posts in 3508 days

#2 posted 05-17-2009 04:46 AM

Great idea. Many years ago when I took a course from Ian Kirby all of the projects were prototyped out of MDF.

Then sealed, sanded and painted.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View SteveB's profile


57 posts in 3478 days

#3 posted 05-17-2009 05:39 AM

I’ve built several large projects from MDF. My process is:
  • Seal with a high-solids primer. I’ve used Kilz, both oil- and water-based, and Zinser pigmented shellac. They all work fine.
  • Sand
  • Seal and sand again if needed
  • Apply two or three finish coats, sanding in between

Thin the finish coats with Floetrol or Penetrol. Try to keep the surface flat while it dries. More thinner coats are better than fewer thicker coats. If you have exposed edges, seal them first with wallboard mud, wood putty, or carpenter’s glue thinned 50% with water—otherwise they’ll soak up tons of paint and never look smooth.

Spraying is nice, but more work because of the cleanup. My last project wound up looking sprayed, even though I brushed it.

-- Steve B - New Life Home Improvement

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3312 days

#4 posted 05-17-2009 06:02 AM

I second the Zinser as a primer. It works well.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

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