MDF furniture can make a wonderful, cheap update for a home on a tight budget. But when it comes time for a new update, MDF can seem like a nightmare to paint. Between the slick surface of the laminate on top of the MDF, and the porous MDF material, it can seem like an impossibility to give the furniture a splash of colour. But with a primer and sealer that works for MDF surfaces, like Shellac, your fears can be washed away. With some priming, sanding and an available weekend, your furniture can look like new.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sandpaper block or palm sander with 220-grit sandpaper
- Clean rags
- Tack cloth
- Shellac (a primer/sealer)
- Acrylic latex paint
- Foam paintbrush or rollers
- Wipe-on polyurethane varnish
Break down and disassemble the furniture as much as possible with a screwdriver to make the sanding, priming and painting processes much simpler and more efficient.
Remove any finishes or sticky substances from the surface of the furniture by sanding it with a 220-grit sanding block or sandpaper.
Wipe the sanded furniture with a clean tack cloth to get rid off any dirt or grime that was pulled up from sanding.
Put a single coat of Shellac onto the sanded furniture pieces with a foam brush or roller (depending on the size of your piece of furniture) in even stroke and leave the furniture to dry overnight.
Apply latex paint (in your preferred colour/finish) with a foam brush or roller in even strokes across the furniture. Allow the paint to dry (this should take three to five hours) and apply a second coat if necessary.
Apply a single coat of a clear wipe-on varnish with a clean rag if your furniture will see a lot of traffic. Follow the directions specified on your particular brand of varnish.
Put the furniture back together after all pieces have dried completely.
Tips and warnings
- Using a paint sprayer will leave the furniture with the most clean, seamless, professional finish you can achieve at home.
- Keep all paint products away from children
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