How to Paint MDF Furniture

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.

  • MDF furniture can make a wonderful, cheap update for a home on a tight budget.
  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

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